Who's Been Stealing My Bandwidth??

  JayDay 18:19 11 Oct 2006

Not me but a colleague. He has asked my advice after falling foul of his ISP's fair use policy. He is a light user and was surprised when he was told he had been downloading huge amounts of data.

When I checked his system I soon realised his problem was an unprotected wireless network!!!

Is there a way to trace who's been nicking his bandwidth? It's going to be someone fairly close but he lives in a cul-de-sac so could be any number of houses.

  irishrapter 19:25 11 Oct 2006

Nope, you would have a hard time finding the person(s).
It may very well be some who lives close but it could be a person passing by, who knows.
If you were able to locate the person or persons that did access his network then what are you going to do about it?
Lets say the you went to the police and give them the info, are they really going to go to any real length to investigate? You will probably get the same old line of "not enough evidence" or "not enough police office".

  slingman 13:09 12 Oct 2006

this is a classic example of why you should have at least minimal security on a wifi router

realistically the user has to be within a 50m - depending on the router you can normally see the computer name of the user who's connected - sometimes it can be obvious ie jobrown_ghg5876878

if he lives in a cul de sac he must know most the people who live there?

the other thing is that possibly the person connected has little security on their system so if you go into view workgroup computers or browse windows network their shared folders may appear - possibly having personal docs in there

but basically if you leave your wifi unprotected you only have yourself to blame if someone borrows your connection ;)

  Danoh 14:16 12 Oct 2006

It is possible to get a copy of his router's log to show that others have been hijacking his connection. A copy of that with a letter explaining his previously unsecured wireless setup and how he has secured the network, to his ISP, might well reverse their decision to penalise him.
Worth a try.

  irishrapter 14:26 12 Oct 2006

As slingman says, ideally the person should be within 50 meters, however if they are using a direction antenna then they could be further away.
I have a 32db parabolic antenna with a 300mW card and have connected to access points that are about 1 to 2 miles away. (Test network, not my neighbours!)
I have also tested a point to point connection with two 32dB parabolic antennas and was able to connect over a distance of 6 miles direct line of sight.

Moral of the story is, don’t automatically expect it to be people close to you, although most likely they are not too far away!

  [email protected]#36 15:22 14 Oct 2006

Put it down to experience. Fact is there is plenty of info about securing wireless networks when setting them up so no one is going to have much sympathy. Certainly the ISP won't as they are just providing a service that someone has taken - they aren't to know its over an unsecured network which is the owners responsibility.

  kindly 20:02 14 Oct 2006

JayDay, it is a criminal offence to steal onthers bandwidth. The police will look into it aslong as you give them the details of who it is. There lies the problem. I guess if it is a neighbour they are not worth worrying about and cannot be freinds. Secondly, go outside to see if there are any unusual markings near your house to sugest to a war driver that there is an open network. check out this site----------------

click here

A question for you now "why are you leaving your wifi open" you know its not hard to make secure. I did it so you will be able to.
good luck.

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