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Old 05-29-2008, 07:23 AM   #1
dogmandouglas
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Default wi-fi security

My son Rory has just bought himself an iPod Touch. It's a fantastic little machine with really good graphics. It's just an mp3 player, video player and web browser all in one.

What has surprised him though is the lack of of wi-fi security in local houses – when he walked through our town – he pressed wi-fi scan just to see how many networks were in the area. He found quite a few, and over half had no password to connect to their network.

It worrying what some people could do with more sophisticated machine.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dogmandouglas View Post
What has surprised him though is the lack of of wi-fi security in local houses – when he walked through our town – he pressed wi-fi scan just to see how many networks were in the area. He found quite a few, and over half had no password to connect to their network.

It worrying what some people could do with more sophisticated machine.
There's a whole subclass of the hacker fraternity that call themselves--IIRC-- "war drivers" (or a similar pretentious term), who cruise up and down city streets with a laptop, cataloguing all the unsecured WiFi addresses. I'm not exactly sure what they do with them, but I'm sure there are people who would be willing to pay for unfettered and free internet access, as well as access to their corporate intranets.

A few weeks ago I was staying in a motel in small-town Saskatchewan, which advertised "internet access". In my room, I booted up my laptop and found 4 wireless connections, two of which were unsecured; not knowing which one was the motel's connection (maybe both?), I went ahead and used both, depending on signal quality. Later, I learned that the motel's only "internet access" was a hard-wired PC sitting near the front desk which was available to guests! Therefore, some generous souls in the neighborhood of the motel had been giving me unwitting and free internet service, which was much appreciated.

   
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:45 AM   #3
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I wasn't really thinking about the illegal use of the internet - but how easy it would be to gain access to their machines and all their personal details kept on it.

Identity theft is big business these days. Crooks can run up huge debts for the people concerned.

My point is don't make it any easier for them, protect your data.

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Old 05-29-2008, 10:02 AM   #4
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There's a whole subclass of the hacker fraternity that call themselves--IIRC-- "war drivers" (or a similar pretentious term), who cruise up and down city streets with a laptop, cataloguing all the unsecured WiFi addresses.
But one can buy an antenna, at various signal strengths, (perhaps called a cantenna), to pick up wi-fi free all the time from the home. An antenna connection card is necessary, but these can be a USB attachment. Is this legal?? There are many establishments that offer free wi-fi internet anyway, and I guess one could just tap in with the antenna. I think an inexpensive antenna is $40 retail, a better one $80, and the antenna card about $50.

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Old 05-29-2008, 11:25 AM   #5
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Doug:

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My point is don't make it any easier for them, protect your data
It is difficult for the tyro to know whether his wireless network is secure or not. One of my daugters gave her mother a laptop for Christmas, which would access the Internet via my cable access point; but we were surprised to see the laptop connected to the Web before it had any connection to the access point. Apparently the neighbours on one side of us had an unprotected network; the neighbours on the other side had a wireless network too, but it was protected. By the way, our network is protected—but don’t ask me how!

   
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:47 AM   #6
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Only a very few years ago (2?), someone wrote in the local city daily that they'd cruised the sidewalks in the big end of town and found many, many unsecured networks belonging to major law firms...

   
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Old 06-01-2008, 05:05 PM   #7
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I always secure my network and, with a great firewall, don't feel too badly about taking advantage of those who do not

   
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:41 AM   #8
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In the UK, it isn't. One can be (and people have been) charged with stealing electricity from the unsecured LAN's owner - which is dumb as it's the bandwidth being stolen, not any electrons! That was the charge in the olden days if you tapped into someone's land line to use the phone service for free (?phreaking? I think it was called)
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:44 AM   #9
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By default, BT broadband setups use a WEP key - which is securer than nothing. I guess most totally unsecured networks either come from people buying a router/modem to connect in DIY mode, or using an ISP's setup routine that is very lax about security.

IME, most people do the default thing as it's easiest...
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:46 AM   #10
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I did a two week stint onsite at a business centre that charged extra for WiFi access on top of a steep daily charge, and found a network without security to connect. I mentioned it just before the end of my stay and it was gone on the last day! This was a major telecomms company I was working for - so what hope for the ordinary Joe?
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