Two cautioned over wireless Internet "piggy-backing"




 
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April 18th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Two cautioned over wireless Internet "piggy-backing"



Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:12 AM ET



By Peter Griffiths
LONDON (Reuters) - Two people have been arrested and cautioned for using someone else's wireless Internet connection without permission, known as "piggy-backing", British police said on Wednesday.
The practice, which sharply divides Internet users, has been fuelled by the rapid growth of fast wireless broadband in homes and people's failure to secure their networks.
On Saturday, a man was arrested after neighbors spotted him sitting in a car outside a home in Redditch, Worcestershire, using a laptop computer to browse the Internet.
A 29-year-old woman was also arrested in a car in a similar incident in the same area last month.
Both received an official caution, a formal warning one step short of prosecution, for "dishonestly obtaining electronic communications services with intent to avoid payment".
They were among the first to be arrested for piggy-backing in Britain. Gregory Straszkiewicz, from west London, was the first person to be convicted of the offence in 2005. He was fined 500 pounds and give a 12-month conditional discharge.
"Wireless networks don't stop at the walls of your home," said PC Tony Humphreys, of West Mercia Constabulary. "Without the necessary protection, your neighbors or people in the road outside may be able to connect to your network."
There is a lively ethical debate in Internet chatrooms over whether piggy-backing is immoral or harmless.
"If it travels through the air it is open season," wrote one contributor to a Web forum. Another wrote: "If it's out there unsecure and I'm not trespassing, it's fair game."
Up to a quarter of home wireless connections are unsecured, according to a recent survey by the consumer finance Web site www.moneysupermarket.com.
Jason Lloyd, the site's head of broadband, said it left people open to identity theft, fraud and pornography being downloaded using their account.
"The repercussions can be severe," he said. "It's bad enough when your neighbors can use your Internet connection freely, but this becomes far more sinister if someone uses your wireless connection for criminal activity."
Businesses are also at risk. A survey of 320 companies by the London trade show Infosecurity Europe found that a quarter have no wireless security policy.
April 18th, 2007  
mmarsh
 
 
I got to confess I was 'piggy-backing' just yesterday. I really hate doing it because it is theft. But the truth was I was fixing my mom computer and I absolutely needed internet access for a bit in order to download drivers and other updates. My Grandmother doesn't have a computer let alone internet
access so what choice did I have? I used someone else's signal. I would have paid for it had I known whose it was, but I didn't. And I was desperate...

I think this situation would resolve itself if there was some kind of global coverage. They already have GPRS, and EDGE and 3G in the mobile market are getting wider access, unfortunatly there in no WIFI. They are working on it here in France but only limited coverage.

I say we are at least 2-3 years away.
April 18th, 2007  
Donkey
 
 
It should be the responsibility of the owners of their wireless networks to secure them or leave them open for public access...

I believe in the US if they where to try to arrest you it would be similar to taking something that was left unattended with keys in it, I believe it is called borrowing without permission...

Regardless it should be the responsibility of the network operators to police their own networks...

Just driving around doing a little war driving and you can find soooooooo many unsecured networks it isn't even funny...
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April 18th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 
I have gone on vacation with my laptop and piggybacked to download email before.

I think that it is the responsibility of the user to secure their network. I myself have a secure net at the house, but there aren't too many folks around that would piggy back because of the distance between homes.

This is an interesting topic to debate... right or wrong?
April 18th, 2007  
mmarsh
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Infidel
I have gone on vacation with my laptop and piggybacked to download email before.

I think that it is the responsibility of the user to secure their network. I myself have a secure net at the house, but there aren't too many folks around that would piggy back because of the distance between homes.

This is an interesting topic to debate... right or wrong?
I don't think its the users responsibility, but its just not very wise not to do so. Being careless or uneducated should not be a license for people to steal.

And Donkey is right, the number of people that keep their networks unsecure is shocking. I mean simply dis activating the SSID broadcast would be enough to thwart most people, especially in congested areas. You would even need to use encapsulation or a SSID password.
April 18th, 2007  
Donkey
 
 
It is the users responsibility to post no trespassing signs...It is the users responsibility to update virus protection...it should be the users responsibility whether or not they want to share...

They bought the equipment they should know how to use it...
April 18th, 2007  
mmarsh
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey
It is the users responsibility to post no trespassing signs...It is the users responsibility to update virus protection...it should be the users responsibility whether or not they want to share...

They bought the equipment they should know how to use it...

Most people are not IT literate, or they are unaware of the dangers of a unsecure network.


Trust me on that I do this for a living, you be surprised some of the things I've seen.
April 18th, 2007  
Donkey
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarsh
Most people are not IT literate, or they are unaware of the dangers of a unsecure network.


Trust me on that I do this for a living, you be surprised some of the things I've seen.
I do electrical engineering you don't think I know...doesn't matter they want to play they should educate themselves...Stupidity is not an excuse!
April 19th, 2007  
DTop
 
 
I don't think the big crime of piggy backing is just gaining access to the internet without paying because it doesn't cost the router owner anything extra no matter who uses their hardware. It matters what the piggy backer does while he's using someone else's equipment. I guess if I were an ISP, I could say that I was somehow losing money because another user is not paying me.
A real crime can occur when someone uses that anonymous connection to commit any number of nefarious acts. It's a question of whose ultimate responsibility it is when that crime is committed.
I guess it's kind of like someone leaving their front door unlocked. It doesn't give anyone else the right to come into the house. At the same time, if you leave that door unlocked, you take the responsibility for your lack of caution.
I think most people (maybe I'm wrong) have connected though an unknown router or two when they had to, without any criminal intent.
April 19th, 2007  
Donkey
 
 
You really can not compare it to leaving your front door open since it is a radio signal and floats out in the air...Possibly going even beyond your property...

Just for peoples own security of private information they should be encrypted and for ultimate protection they should enable MAC address filtering...
 


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