Man Using Laptop on Garden Wall Charged with Wireless Theft

A 39-year-old man was arrested yesterday after he was spotted tapping away at his laptop while perched on a wall outside a home in Chiswick, west London, by two police community support officers.

The officers believed he was using the owner's unsecured wireless broadband connection without permission and he was arrested on suspicion of stealing the connection. He was taken to Chiswick police station and bailed until October pending further inquiries. Although wireless thieves say it is a victimless crime, the number of arrests for dishonestly obtaining free access under the Communications Act 2003 are rising.

Detective Constable Mark Roberts, of the Metropolitan Police computer crime unit, said those illegally using unsecured broadband should fear arrest. "This arrest should act as a warning to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to illegally use other people's broadband," he said.

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News source: Guardian Unlimited

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Bear in mind that this is a country where you need a licence to watch TV. Also, in most countries, it is illegal to leave your keys in the car.

Sigh. The TV licence is a good thing, we get many BBC channels/radio stations with no adverts, unlike the Americans who get too many adverts for my liking. ABC1 is almost unwatchable for me, 2 ads for a 30 min show?! Pathetic.

this happened on prebend gardens in chisw?ck and its an access poit that i set up!

its my CEO home and i gave his girlfriend intructions on setting up the netgear dg834g. we then decided to leave it unsecured untill i had the chance to pop round (the office ?s 4 blocks away), she then calls me the following day sying a guy had been arested for using it!

i was shocked to see this on neowin heheh!!!!

Now lets see if you were to leave your house door open and you were burgled, then the police would say you should have left your door shut and locked. and also how on earth can two community support officers know anything about that, they dont have the authority to arrest either. all PCSO's are is doormen, the only difference is they have a police radio and are trained to deal with the basics. they have NO authority to arrest someone except for citizens arrest.

????

To smart to track the log and detect an intrusive connection but too dumb to allow a insecure connection.

Scenario:

Plastic Copper: "So you're using somebody else's wireless connection which you do not have permission to."

Laptop Man On Wall: "He was broadcasting radio waves officer. I merely wanted to know what radiation he was distributing through my home, garden, and my body. You know electromagnetic waves can be dangerous."

PC: "I see sir."

LMOW: "And lo and behold he was broadcasting an open high frequency signal. I was worried it might give me or my plants cancer with that media scare and all. So I sent some radio waves back at him."

PC: "Whatever, off to the pub to buy some dodgy DVD's, you coming?"

o god here we go again, another unsecured wifi debate. seriously, any one who does not secure their wireless routers
are just stupid, there is no reason to have them left open at all.

lol I dont know what to make of stories like this.... I think its important to secure wirless networks because you could have a paedophile tapping into your connection to fuel their dirty habbit, and then its you (the billpayer) that will face the consequences. That's just one example, but there are lots of other things that could get someone into trouble as you can all imagine...

Interesting, if a car gets stolen with the keys in the ignition, the police
would accuse the owner of carelessness, and do nothing but record
the incident (as they are obliged). Everyday people are bombarded with
phishing attacks and other fraudulent email... nothing is done.
Fools have machines hijacked and they loose bandwidth to the
above criminals, no crime is investigated?

Hop on someones "open" Internet connection, and get caught, it's a
notice of prosecution. This is all part of the "New World Order" Go
for an easy targets, habitual criminals being a lost cause but at least
very profitable, while "in the community" causing their mayhem!

what a waste of police time , what with 11 year old kids getting shot in the neck and teenagers getting stabbed in the back 5 times , think police and law lords should get their priorities in order

The big question here is, is using an unsecured wireless network really illegal, you are not hacking anything, in fact most computers with wireless access will in fact connect to a unsecured wireless access point in range without even asking, so you can easily inadvertantly connect to someone elses wireless completely accidentally.

The second point is that all these free hotspots are basically unsecured wireless access points, are these illegal to connect to?? so if you see an unsecure wireless network do you first have to verify if it is indeed a hotspot or it is a privatley owned wifi, how are you supposed to do that??

But i mean comeon sitting with your laptop on someones back garden wall, thats just asking for it really.

If he'd been sitting in a coffee shop or bar or something even if it turned out to be an unsecured private network who would take any notice.

Sheesh, what the hell.. I can hardly imagine anything like that happening here in the US. A lot bigger things to worry about than someone stealing internets.

heh, and the news article above this one is 'britain enjoying digital boom' ...

this country is turning into a nanny state, thats what... see like, when the smoking ban came in july , everybody who didnt have a no smoking sign could get arrested...

The officers believed he was using the owner's unsecured wireless broadband connection without permission and he was arrested on suspicion of stealing the connection.

wow... This is getting even worse or just stupid.

"Although wireless thieves say it is a victimless crime,"
Not when one of my friends does it, queues up as many torrents as he can.

Honestly, I really think this kind of thing is getting out of hand. If you're not smart enough to secure your network, then well IMO everythings game.

Hell pretty much every router you buy today comes with a setup CD that they ask you to run during set up that automatically walks you through securing the network. its not rocket science.

bull****. So, if you don't lock the doors of your car and forgot the keys in the ignition, then it's eligible for me to steal it or use it to cruise around the hood? Are you crazy? Would it be also cool if I steal your water, electricity? The cable/pipe is there, so why not use it?... Seriously...

PROTIP: When I subscribe for service, I expect it to be delivered in the terms of the contract. If you consumed 30 Kilowatts of power, you shouldn't pay for 80 Kilowatts. It doesn't matter if the network is secure or not. I pay for this service, not you. If someone used your bandwidth and monthly traffic limits (or whatever you use), it should be prosecuted, like someone who uses the water/electricity/cable connection you pay for.

"and he was arrested on suspicion of stealing the connection." Oh? The connection was actually stolen?

Yes, he was using some of the bandwidth without his neighbour's knowledge (which is almost certainly unethical), but really, there was no property theft. They need to find a different charge or develop some "bandwidth infringement" laws.

i like the suspicion bit, how do they prove it, first they need to find the access point he used, depending on the number around there could be many, and still, it is virtually impossible to proove he was even accessing any specific wifi.

markjensen said,
Yes, he was using some of the bandwidth without his neighbour's knowledge (which is almost certainly unethical), but really, there was no property theft. They need to find a different charge or develop some "bandwidth infringement" laws.

No, it's service theft. It's the same when you tap into someone's electrical reception to use electricity for yourself. Or if you use your neighbour's water pipe.

Share the wealth, as I like to say. Unless you're doing something that puts the owner of the connection at risk, what's wrong with a little e-mail and web browsing?

You snooze you lose. I do all my wi-fi surfing via my phone anyway, this way people think i'm using my phone when in fact i'm leeching their tubez.

So the guy called the police instead of just enabling encryption or asking for some help, that's pretty stupid. If anyone is to blame, the router's manufacturers or supplier should've enabled it beforehand.

Its not the manufactures responsibility to encrypt the router by default. Its the end user. Your comment is so lame. Your point is like saying "I bought a deadbolt and it wasn't locked by the manufacture and someone came in to my house and jacked my sh.."

W.E.A.K....

Mikee4fun said,
Its not the manufactures responsibility to encrypt the router by default. Its the end user. Your comment is so lame. Your point is like saying "I bought a deadbolt and it wasn't locked by the manufacture and someone came in to my house and jacked my sh.."

W.E.A.K....

Yeah and I could use 'they delivered my supercar today but they didn't lock it so it was stolen straight away, so it's my fault for not knowing that in advance??'. Just because routers originally had limited to no encyption on in the beginning doesn't mean they should be configured in the same way now. Most of the routers ordered from broadband providers come preconfigured with WEP/WPA enabled and manufacturers should do it too.

I think if we knew the full story we'd know more.. Lets take an average Joe, give him internet and wireless router. Suddenly it slows down, you call the ISP, they say their service is fine. You call BT, they send round a broadband engineer, and because the fault is with your equipment and not the line, charge you and you've taken a day off work.

It's not hard to see how Joe would be ****ed.

It wasn't the guy who called the police:

"A 39-year-old man was arrested yesterday after he was spotted tapping away at his laptop while perched on a wall outside a home in Chiswick, west London, by two police community support officers."

imachip said,

Yeah and I could use 'they delivered my supercar today but they didn't lock it so it was stolen straight away, so it's my fault for not knowing that in advance??'. Just because routers originally had limited to no encyption on in the beginning doesn't mean they should be configured in the same way now. Most of the routers ordered from broadband providers come preconfigured with WEP/WPA enabled and manufacturers should do it too.

I think if we knew the full story we'd know more.. Lets take an average Joe, give him internet and wireless router. Suddenly it slows down, you call the ISP, they say their service is fine. You call BT, they send round a broadband engineer, and because the fault is with your equipment and not the line, charge you and you've taken a day off work.

It's not hard to see how Joe would be ****ed.

so what they configure your wifi for you with a default encryption (umm pointless as all i have to do is look up the default settings and viola hacked your wifi) or do they configure them all individually adn write indvidual doco for each unit they sell (price of wifi skyrockets)

My Dell D820 comes with a WIFI detector that grabs the best available wireless network that isn't locked down. Wouldn't that be the fault of the maker of the laptop then? It's the idiot neighbor for not locking it down.

Now in the case of my old college, their fault lay in the fact that they gave out their security key to everyone. So anyone in the parking lot could get in anyway. They changed that. But I found out years later that none of the teachers were certified anyway. How can a teacher teach a certification class without being certified? (as in CCNA or MSCE or A+ ) (ahem okay not a CCNA fan, not my thing) some networking I get, but not Cisco stuff.

PatrynXX said,
How can a teacher teach a certification class without being certified? (as in CCNA or MSCE or A+ ) (ahem okay not a CCNA fan, not my thing) some networking I get, but not Cisco stuff.

all it comes down to is if you pass your exam or not, you can teach yourself from the books, although i agree for a college i woudl expect certified people to be teaching adn woudl complain profusely if i was getting taught by an unauthorised teacher