Two cautioned over wi-fi 'theft'

Two people have been cautioned for using people's wi-fi broadband internet connections without permission. Neighbours in Redditch, Worcestershire, contacted police on Saturday after seeing a man inside a car using a laptop while parked outside a house. He was arrested and cautioned. A woman was arrested in similar circumstances in the town earlier this month. BBC Midlands Today correspondent Dr David Gregory said the cases are among the first of their kind. He added that if people were using someone else's network to enter illegal porn sites, for example, it would be very difficult to trace them.

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I, a few weeks ago, decided to move my computer to the front room and use it, and I expected it to connect to my nicely protected router in the back room, but I was alerted to another network. Probably a neighbours.
I was like "Wow someone hasn't secured their router, lol."
Then I discovered that they hadn't even changed it's default password, so I logged into it and saw a log of computers that had accessed it, an Acer computer or two, but also a laptop (as shown by it's SSID) was also there, perhaps that was some dodgy guy outside who had accessed it too, who knows.
All I know is that leaving a router unsecured is stupid.
When I first got my router which wasn't so long ago, I was really paranoid that as soon as I plugged it in someone would steal my Internet, so I made sure to find the security settings, and also to get the lastest firmware etc. asap.

personally, I sometimes do this too. If I need a person or business' phone number right away (and don't wanna get charged by my phone provider) or if I need an address to a place on the go, I'll hunt down a wap and connect, fine what I need, and go. I also understand there's people that need to do the same, so I leave mine unprotected. That doesn't mean I don't password protect my router and the connections on my computers so they can't do anything to my network though.

Just a caution huh?

I am sure they're upto alf-inchin some details, more than likely stealing sensitive info, downloading copyrighted material and uploading some nasty stuff.

So did the Police examine their (the thieves) hard drives?

Bet they didn't!

I say good for them. People have no business sitting in the street using someone's access without their knowledge. I don't want to hear about how they should have secured the AP. If I leave my door unlocked, you cannot come into my house or car without my permission. Just because some of us have the knowledge and/or ability to connect, does not mean we can. There are plenty of public Wi-Fi spots now where war driving is not necessary.

Something doesn't ring true about this. If someone calls the cops because there is a car parked outside their home with a bloke on a laptop in it, that is normally a case of "I don't know who that is, I'm scared, so I'll sic the cops on them". If they are technically savvy enough to know that this bloke is using their WiFi connection then they are technically savvy enough to secure the damn thing, unless they're going for an entrapment.
True, having bits of cardboard around the windows makes you a bit sus, but why would that be needed? To stop daylight from obscuring your screen perhaps? To stop people looking in the window at what you are doing (really, who cares, if you're that paranoid you wouldn't leave the house)? And how exactly does that then progress (we're lacking pertinent details) to an arrest and caution. Does Mr Plod have a Bat Utility Belt[tm] gadget that can tell what connection a laptop is using and where that connection is based?

If you transmit a signal that extends beyond your property and invites all and sundry to connect through it then that is your fault. Comparing it to entering an unlocked house without permission is stupid (as by virtue of unsecured you are extending an invite; hacking through protection is "entering without permission" ) and just the kind of disingenuous technoretard claptrap that the media likes to spout.

RangerLG said,
I say good for them. People have no business sitting in the street using someone's access without their knowledge. I don't want to hear about how they should have secured the AP. If I leave my door unlocked, you cannot come into my house or car without my permission. Just because some of us have the knowledge and/or ability to connect, does not mean we can. There are plenty of public Wi-Fi spots now where war driving is not necessary.

lol anyone who leaves their wifi pubic deserves to have it accesed at the end of the day an open network is a public network if you want it private then turn on security and then they have to break the encryption which involves breaking the law. These people not only leave them open but broadcast the fact that their there.

Using your open door analogy its like leaving it open while you go to the shops with a town crier outside going "Here ye Here ye open door PUBLIC access"

Its no different that setting up a public radio station for personal use then crying when people start tuning into it.

Unplugged said,
lol anyone who leaves their wifi pubic deserves to have it accesed at the end of the day an open network is a public network if you want it private then turn on security and then they have to break the encryption which involves breaking the law. These people not only leave them open but broadcast the fact that their there.

Using your open door analogy its like leaving it open while you go to the shops with a town crier outside going "Here ye Here ye open door PUBLIC access"

Its no different that setting up a public radio station for personal use then crying when people start tuning into it.

So, in your strange world, that makes it right to go into their house? "The door is unlocked, so I went right in and did as I pleased, officer!"

My house has water valves on the outside, for watering the lawn and such. And electrical outlets for plugging in Christmas lights or hedge trimmers. Those aren't locked, so does that make it legal or right for anyone to come and attach and take what they want?

No.

markjensen said,
My house has water valves on the outside, for watering the lawn and such. And electrical outlets for plugging in Christmas lights or hedge trimmers. Those aren't locked, so does that make it legal or right for anyone to come and attach and take what they want?
A poor example. Using those would require someone to come on to your property (trespassing). 802.11 is on a *public* radio frequency. If your 802.11 AP is broadcasting into public areas (like a street) and broadcasting on a public radio frequency unsecured, that seems very inviting.

Using your open door analogy its like leaving it open while you go to the shops with a town crier outside going "Here ye Here ye open door PUBLIC access"

Wrong. My open door analogy is fine because you have to be actively seeking a network to find one, just like you would to physically try my door to see if it is unlocked. I do not advertise that I have wireless network to the public. I don't agree that SSID is public broadcast because unless you have a device to detect it, you will not know it is there. A public broadcast is a notice in plain view that can be seen with the eyes, like a billboard, or banners, etc.

I sometimes park my car on the street. It is on a public street now and if my doors are unlocked, you still do not have the right to go into it, even if I leave my keys in it. It would still be theft of property.

If someone calls the cops because there is a car parked outside their home with a bloke on a laptop in it, that is normally a case of "I don't know who that is, I'm scared, so I'll sic the cops on them". If they are technically savvy enough to know that this bloke is using their WiFi connection then they are technically savvy enough to secure the damn thing

The cops were probably notified because an unfamiliar car was just sitting in the street. If it was dark, it is doubtful if you can see them using a laptop. It may have even been a neighbor. Being tech savvy has nothing to do with calling the cops or not. If I saw something suspicious in my neighborhood, I would not hesitate to call the police and I do consider myself tech savvy.

It SHOULD be against the law to have an unprotected wireless router. I antiquate an unprotected wireless router to have sex with no protection. Stupity should never be an excuse.

Well, if you equate those two actions, then you would also support it being illegal to have unprotected sex. My wife and I would be breaking the law! :O

Yes, it is stupid to have an unprotected router, but there are many stupid people out there that buy equipment. It is wrong for someone to use the bandwidth of someone else, especially if they do so for untraceable illegal activities.

And you are right, in that "stupidity isn't an excuse". There is no excuse for others to prey upon the stupidity of someone with an unprotected network.

wait so if I am sitting outside in my car on a laptop doing work, its now going to get the cops on me? wtf? how do they not know I have an AirCard and get the internet over the a cell phone broadband provider?

Justin- said,
They'll see the air card? lol

Why would you be using a laptop in a residential area in the middle of the street, anyway ...

Why? A LOT of insurance agents and financial planners that make house visits sometimes sit outside on the road for an hour doing prep or post meeting work over the internet... and how would they see an aircard that is built into a laptop? have you seen the new laptops that have them integrated? try to prove you wernt useing someones wifi in that case

Why include WEP? I'd reckon many people that would go onto another network by sitting right in front of the house in their car know about WEP deciphering. As they also likely know about the ultra-trivial cases of SSID/MAC filtering.

But yes, people just need to enable their encryption, it's not that hard even for a relative novice. Interestingly, I know many computer saavy people that don't even bother, and I just have to ask...why?