WiFI network poaching

  Forum Editor 10:16 09 Jul 2005

This is interesting

click here at least, I think it is.

  €dstowe 10:38 09 Jul 2005

Well, if you use an open wireless connection without any security, as is claimed in the article, then what do they expect?

My wireless system is supposed to be secure and I believe it is but, I could log on to six other open systems in my neighbourhood with no problem whatever. Fortunately, I know most of the people involved and I've told them I can do this. Their reaction? A shrug of the shoulders and an "It's OK, I trust you."

  Pooke 00:12 10 Jul 2005

Is that a laptop, or are you just pleased to see me?

I think that subtitle is great!

As the above says, if you don't protect your network then..... you deserve it.

I read about this a while ago on another forum where a guy poached his neighbours bandwidth and was downloading heavily, I don't know if he got caught in the end. In the thread one of the moderators told him that "If I was your neighbour I'd beat the living daylights out of you" in much "nicer" language than that and it went on from there.

Is it legal here or is there a law against it?


  De Marcus 00:16 10 Jul 2005

It's illegal pooke

  Forum Editor 10:01 10 Jul 2005

to access an unsecured wireless network, but it is an offence to attempt to breach a secured network.

Under the provisions of the Computer Misuse Act of 1990 a person is guilty of an offence if he/she :-

1. causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer;

2. the access he/she intends to secure is unauthorised

3. he/she knows at the time when he/she causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case.

It's also an offence to alter a data or program file on another computer, or cause such a file to be altered in any way, without the prior consent of the computer owner.

So, unsecured wireless networks are a grey area - people have tried to argue that accessing one involves unauthorised use of someone else's bandwidth (bandwidth theft) - in fact I've argued that myself - but as far as I'm aware there's no offence committed as the law stands at present.

  De Marcus 10:06 10 Jul 2005

That's food for thought FE, I was certain it would be illegal, but as everything else under british law, you just need to find the loopholes.

  Forum Editor 12:11 10 Jul 2005

It ought to be illegal, and people have tried to bring prosecutions for bandwidth theft - and failed. You'll see many references to bandwidth theft on the Internet - mainly related to the practice of hyperlinking to resources on other web sites. Each time someone clicks on a resource link they are consuming some of the bandwidth on the linked site, and it's a real problem. As far as i know it's not illegal though - cerainly not in Europe at any rate, although to my mind it should be. The same problem exists when someone accesses your wireless network - they're using some of your available bandwidth.

The fact that your network might be unsecured shouldn't matter - if you leave your car unlocked and someone steals it they are still guilty of car theft.

  De Marcus 12:23 10 Jul 2005

I couldn't agree more, it should definitely be made illegal with clear defined laws. Especially because anyone that would want do such a thing might not have the best of intentions with regard to what their downloading using someone elses IP address. Suppose the person downloaded some illegal filth through one of these unsecured networks and scarpers, it leaves the probably oblivious owner of that network looking pretty guilty and possibly facing a jail term unless they can prove otherwise. Is there a way to do this, that is, to prove it wasn't one of your machines that was downloading the illegal content? MAC address? IP Number?

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