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Thread: Using other's unsecured wireless

  1. #11
    Senior Member Spyrus's Avatar
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    Noone here is authorized to give you any type of legal advice. Phishy is just giving you his opinion on it. I wouldnt worry about it but there is always an off chance that something could happen...

    It is just a risk for you to take. no open shares, disabling your guest account, setting an administrator password if you are in XP home (doesnt by default), using up to date patches and AV. A software firewall will help protect your PC but remember anything you do on the net *could* be sniffed and watched. That is why it is recommended to use a VPN, in your situation you dont have hispeed so you probably dont have it.
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  2. #12
    Dissident 4dm1n brokencrow's Avatar
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    If the guy got convicted, it was on his behaviour:

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    "What made him suspicious was, every time he looked toward the car, the guy closed the lid on his laptop," Kajtsa said. Dinon called police. When they came to the scene and approached the vehicle, Smith closed the computer again. The police asked him what he was doing and he finally owned up to it, Kajtsa said. Smith was arrested and the PC seized and sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as potential evidence.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    There was another case in which the polizei arrested a guy in his car using a wifi access point to upload/download child porn (pr0n?). The police felt a computer user in his car was suspicious enough to warrant investigation and he was arrested. Think it took place in NYC, but I've got no reference for that case. I'd watch it out there. My friend the homicide detective says these 'young turks' are not to be fooled with. He complains they even write his kids tickets (in the old days, they never did that to fellow officers' families).
    “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” — Will Rogers

  3. #13
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    Not sure about what most people's internet access is like in the states but I still have a download limit.

    If you were to connect to someones AP and use up some or all of their download limit would that be stealing? They have paid for the downloads and you are effectively taking it away without their permission?

    I don't know the legal answer, and I doubt it has been tested but I could see some lawyer trying it.

    From your perspective though, if the user doesn't know enough to secure the AP they are probably not going to know enough to detect you using it.

  4. #14
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    OK this is a United Kingdom viewpoint, but when it comes to the law I guess it is the same in many other places.

    Intent is the key.............if you inadertently use someone else's resources bcause they are unsecured and have a stronger capability, that would be allowed.

    There are some local free hotspots as well. This is a small town (pop. 32,000) so you have two libraries, the bus station, train station, council offices and several hotels...............all intentionally free....... and advertised as such by the local Tourist Board (another one there)

    If you deliberately use someone else's private resources that they are paying for, then you would be breaking some sort of law in most locations IMHO. However, I believe that some sort of material loss would have to be proven.............or you would just get some sortof reprimand rather than a punishment.

    Just a viewpoint from over here......
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  5. #15
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    well let me start off by admiting that I am typing this on a leeched connection. I have my own highspeed connection but I just got my laptop today and havent obtained a wireless router yet. I live in a 12 apartment building. In the building there are 5 wireless networks that the new lappy picked up right away. 4 of the have not been secured. Tomorow after I get my wireless router I am going to go to all of my neighbors and explain to them the risk incolved in having an open network. And then of course offer to secure it for them (at a very reasonable price)

    Back to the original question. As far as the legalities are concerned you have to think "is this something that a states attourney is going to even worry about prosecuting me for?" If you arent using it to download illegal files or anything malicious chances are you would never even get caught.

    Now for ethics. Should you do it? Thats where the real grey area hits. I wouldnt make a habbit of doing it. But as a quick fix, why not? I dont know of any ISPs in my area that have a set amount of download alowed so its not like I am robbing the neighbors of anything. Besides I am 99.9% sure that the guy this network belongs to is out of town. Signal strength is the main factor for me saying that. So its not like I am slowing him down any. So am I realy doing anybody any harm? No. Now if i were doing it constantly because I didnt want to use my own dial up account or something then it would be different. Maybe use it to get your windows updates and such but other than that use what you are paying for.

  6. #16
    Senior Member IKnowNot's Avatar
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    WOW .... WOW ...

    So much to say, so little time! I will try in chronological order.
    -Is it illegal to use there wireless connection?
    it depends on if the owner of the connection intends for it to be used by you, has the right to allow you to use their connection, etc.
    -What are the security risks?
    you name it, you got it! Even SSL connections may be observed!
    -My school provides wireless access also. Are there the same risks using it as there are using someone's personal wireless connection?
    Security consideration, yes, legal consideration, not to the extent that they allow you to use it.

    If they didn't bother to secure thier connection is it there own fault, so I should have a free-for-all ...
    You have to check with your local laws, but generally, and where I live in the US, you could be prosecuted. There has been case law ( court opinions ) concerning this to go along with the laws themselves. I think nihil provided the best advise as far as this goes, SirDice's to follow.

    I read how crackers will setup Hotspotter or Karma to act as a rogue access point just so they can sniff your traffic (IronGeek). What's the likelyhood of that?
    Can you afford to take that risk? Do you care if someone grabs your e-mail account and changes the password, or grabs your AO account and abuses it so you get banned, or grabs your credit card info when you ordered that new ipod or paid your car registration online? No one can give you absolutes as to the risks involved: it depends on the area you are in, the individuals who are in that area, and a host move variables. But it can happen.

    This is getting long so I'll shut-up now
    that never stopped me!

    ... an electrical engineer managed to get shocked installing a clothesline at his house ...
    Not the same, and would not be considered the same by the courts!
    In this case the EMF was a by-product of the wires, not the product itself!

    So it looks like I don't REALLY need to worry about prosecution if I use other people's APs to surf the web, right? ... in USA
    That depends .... I don't have any wireless networks, though I do utilize it with my laptop now and then ( using ssh into my network. ) However I do help manage a few wireless networks. If I caught you accessing a network illegally I would push for prosecution.
    Just to clarify:
    I believe in maintaining peoples' rights.
    With that, I mean not just individuals' rights as I can not be that narrow minded, but rights of corporations as well, including those that supply services such as Internet access, and including those uneducated or lazy individuals who don't secure their networks properly.

    To try and end this debate once and for all, just because I do not lock my door to my house does not mean I invited anyone in. Maybe it was the front door or maybe it was the back door, but if you come in my house without my permission I am going to be fearful that you have ill-intent toward me and put a few .45 cal. rounds in you. It is not up to me to decide first that you only wanted to use the bathroom. If you survive you can use that excuse to a jury. If I am not home at the time you may get out alive, but you may still be charged with burglary if you get caught.

    As for
    Noone here is authorized to give you any type of legal advice.
    Quite right. So I suggest you go ask your attorney!

    Last but not least, from the article brokencrow linked to
    "Don't the police have anything better to do?"
    my response would be,
    Yes, but not at the moment.
    " And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be" --Miguel Cervantes

  7. #17
    Senior Member z31200n3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackHatHunter
    So it looks like I don't REALLY need to worry about prosecution if I use other people's APs to surf the web, right? ... in USA

    Is it just a matter of the risk I'm willing to take? Anyway to mitigate those risks (other then just not using it)? Have no file sharing, patches, AV & local firewall I suppose. Anything else?

    Judging from the link, the dude in the SUV got in trouble because he was in his car, outside of the AP opperators house, and his actions looked suspicious. Even the homeowner said something like "i didnt care so much that he was online on my AP, I cared about him doing something illegal"...ie child pRon, etc......


    so, if you're in your own home, and not doing anything to 'hunt down' his WiFi signal other than firing up your laptop , IMO, you're pretty in the clear as far as getting caught is concerned....

  8. #18
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Well, you need to be careful. My DSL is limited to something like 30Gb a month. If someone uses a limited resource then they are stealing............it is a simple as that.

    You would need to be very sure that the service was unlimited, then the concept of demonstrating a material loss would probably cut in and protect you from any serious action.

    Another point to bear in mind, is that if you use someone else's resource and leave a slimy trail YOU, and you alone will be held responsible for any illegal use of their resources......... you know, drugs, terrorism, CP...........and the rest.

    The problem with going to court on any sort of IT based rap is that you have a very poor chance of a fair trial (nobody in the court really understands the subject?). If you have demonstrated a "criminal" mentality by blatantly using that which does not belong to you, I don't think it would take me very long as a juror to assume that you were also responsible for the CP?...........hey, you are using someone else's ID and they are the registered and traceable owner?

    It isn't that difficult to figure. If you are up to no good you will try to use something that traces back to someone else............if it is traceable to you, you wouldn't use it for anything illegal?

    Maybe if I was up to something naughty, I would deliberately use an unsecured connection to build myself a nice little stack of fall guys?

    I would urge extreme caution............there are a lot of bad guys out there
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  9. #19
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    Open wireless access points don't have any encryption or authentication. So unless you're using a protocol which has some built in (e.g. HTTPS), your traffic may be compromised by a sniffing and/or man in the middle attack.

    Most ISPs don't provide mail exclusively over secure protocols, so that could be intercepted easily. The same applies to many other protocols (including Antionline).

    Slarty

  10. #20
    Agony Aunty-Online Moira's Avatar
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    Of course it's illegal to use someone else's wireless connection! Nobody's computer "automatically connects", you would at the very least need to press "connect" when nearby networks came into view. (Unless you'd set your PC to auto connect to a particular network, which isn't automatic, is it?)

    I have limited sympathy with people who want wireless but are too lazy to set up any security. True, not all networks can be WPA enabled but anyone can set MAC filtering, rename their network, change the router password and enable WEP. The people who don't even bother to do this are asking for trouble.

    However, just because a person leaves their front door unlocked accidentally doesn't give a thief permission to come in and rob them. Don't try and justify what you're doing, it very definitely is illegal.
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