Wi-Fi

Are you a Wi-Fi thief?

More than half of computer users have illegally logged on to someone else&rsquo;s Wi-Fi connection, according an investigation by UK-based <i>The Times</i>.

More than half of computer users have illegally logged on to someone else’s Wi-Fi connection, according an investigation by The Times in the United Kingdom.

Often called "Wi-Fi tapping" or "piggybacking," the practice has blossomed over the last few years as the proliferation wireless and open access points allowed strangers to access the Internet without paying for it.

Excerpt from Times Online:

Police regard it as a serious offense because intruders can download pornographic materials and illegal images without being caught. Only the legitimate holder of the Wi-Fi account is likely to be tracked down.

Officers are also worried that criminals can use unsecured wireless connections to steal personal details such as passwords and credit card numbers and use them to commit identity theft.

There is some debate about the validity of the survey over at The Register, which was based on data collected from a "Have Your Say" survey conducted by security-specialist Sophos:

... apparently 54 per cent of the 560 people who responded admitted nicking bandwidth from insecure Wi-Fi routers. This might say more about Sophos customers than the general population, and extrapolating the results to every computer user in the country is probably a crime against statistics: so that's exactly what The Times has done

Still, it is not hard to see that Wi-Fi tapping is probably quite common.

What is the legal situation pertaining to Wi-Fi tapping where you live, and what is your personal opinion of it?

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

657 comments
MicroBuntu
MicroBuntu

I'm on an open connection right now. The simplest way to stop tapping is to secure your wi-fi connection with the latest encryption and password.

TheChas
TheChas

I'm saddened and very sorry reading over many of the posts in this thread. Have our morals as a society sunk so low that we are no longer willing to respect the personal space of others. Unless, there is a law against it with a high probability of being caught? I'm sorry, but purposely connecting to an open access point that is not "SPECIFICALLY" a public access node IS morally wrong! Many of the arguments posted here center on what someone should do to protect themselves from theft. It was not that long ago in the US that people did not routinely lock there doors or have to worry about leaving possessions on a porch or even the yard overnight. People used to not even consider taking that which was not theirs. Even if a bucket of fruit was left out and marked free, people would not take more than one apiece as they went by. I'm sorry if I offend any of you who have convinced yourselves that connecting to an open wireless network is acceptable. But, you ARE contributing to the downfall of civil society. In fact, you are no better than the con-man and the thief who preys on trusting people. Back when we could leave our doors unlocked, people would not even think about going into a house with an open door without first knocking and getting permission to come in. We need to loosen up our grasp on self gratification, and take responsibility for how our actions will impact others. I'll go even further, we need to go back to the time where in a civil society people did what was right becasue it was the right thing to do. Either that, or we need to start chiding people for taking the easy path. Chas

deepsand
deepsand

One is the use of public "hot spots;" the other, the use of another's private connection. By way of analogy, they can be described as follows. 1) The former is the equivalent of your reading by the light of a neighbor's lamp, the light from which spills over onto your property. 2) The latter is akin to your tapping into your neighbor's electric line, so as to to power your own lamp. The former is clearly not theft, while the latter cannot be viewed as being anything other than theft of service.

edjcox
edjcox

I have turned on my laptop in the parking lot of my Dentists office and found an internet connection that I could use. I was fully cognizant of the fact that the activity I was engaged in was subject to intercept by the owner of the router. I avoded all use of passwords and the like except those secured by encryption for initial logon/connection. Now, am I a thief? Wow, I would suspect that I blundered into a private router that any using the frequency could interact with. Perhaps the solution is mandatory WEP or better encryption to prevent this access. Or like Burger King and other public provders the issue is mute if you choose not to close the gate? I always knew had a dark side....

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Society is going to sh!t because it seems that if something isn't nailed down, it's up for grabs. That's the sad state of reality and it's only getting worst by the minute.

CITNetMajoratPurdue
CITNetMajoratPurdue

I agree, society has been morally defunct for a long time and the concept of responsibility to some is very remote. We MUST bring back the concepts of morals and responsibility back into the fold by holding those who responsible, responsible.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I agree with you Chad. And to me it is equally sad that many never knew, forgot, or just don't care that the people have rights collectively for control and usage of their electronic radio territory. I feel the responsibility goes both ways: To the user, and the business that sells service to the user. And I also feel that because ISPs want to do business on the people's territory, this responsibility tips in the direction of the ISP. To ensure quality of service to the access point customer at the very least. It is very discouraging to see so much controversy over something that is so easily cured by simply activating an authorization mechanism to that service.

Zenith545
Zenith545

Amazing that so many of these people seem to not understand the situation. Either that, or they are just making lame excuses why their bad behavior should be excusable. First off, they don't pay for use of the transmission media and network that they are using by jumping on someone's privately paid for, non-public Internet connection, even IF it is unsecured. The law does not abstain from judgement just because there is none or very little security precautions on a network or computer. Just as you cannot intercept a "pay-for-service" cable TV signal or satellite TV signal, not pay for it and then expect to escape prosecution, you cannot legally intercept, and this is the sticky point, access or retransmit over the same connection, a wireless network signal unless it is specifically stated that "owner" of the network access connection specifies it as being free and public access. ISP agreements also prohibit common "home" account subscribers from knowingly sharing their Internet access with anyone outside of the stated location where it was installed, subscribed at. Although the chance of prosecution of jumping on and using the neighbor's, or anyone's, "private", unsecured wireless connection is much lower than the chance of getting a speeding ticket in an automobile, it is still technically illegal and prohibited. There are many laws and regulations governing unauthorized access to networks and computers. Computer fraud may also come into the picture as you are knowingly acting as though you are the subscriber of the service, by using another person's access credentials, when in fact you are not that person.

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

"but purposely connecting to an open access point that is not "SPECIFICALLY" a public access node IS morally wrong!" So, if I purposely set up my WiFi network at home for public access, how are people supposed to tell it apart from networks that were accidentally left open? I think Internet access should be shared. Its the money grubbers who want everyone to pay for their own connection, despite the unused bandwidth.

JCitizen
JCitizen

But don't forget - who owns the property - all of us - so there is no fence to spill over; we all own the property. Once the light spills out into the medium it is fair game; both to let it go and to read by it. How can you charge the property owner for what goes on in his yard? If the ISP wants to start a business in our yard they need to stick to rules we set out. If bandwidth hogging leeches are bad; then force the ISP to lock it down - don't charge the owner for stealing something that is freely available in his own yard. As far as coffee shop owners that complain about leeches using the air; I say they are in the same boat as the ISP. They want to make money off of OUR property so they darn well ought to lock it down. I don't care if they got to build a faraday cage aroung the shop. But there are easier ways to limit access to the signal and make it available to the paying customers.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]1) The former is the equivalent of your reading by the light of a neighbor's lamp, the light from which spills over onto your property.[/i] Complete application of the floodlight (Really, you cannot use a neighbor's READING lamp for ANYTHING!) analogy requires re-aiming, or installation of a mirror, to divert some lumens for your use. Literally, utilization of another's WiFi bandwidth for any PRACTICAL purpose also requires TRANSMISSION from your WiFi card/router/etc., at which point you directly interfere with another's property, thus nullifying the exception of your case 1), except for the trivial & non-existent case of passive reception of WiFi signals without any response.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

You know that you didn't pay for it, so you must also know someone else is paying for the service/equipment. You should know if you are at a business establishment that provides free access or not, so there really is no playing dumb there. I agree, if they leave it open it is fair game as far as I am concerned. All the same, I know it is stealing, I admit it, I've done it and I'll more than likely do it again if I feel the benefits outweigh my security risk. To take it one step further, if someone is using weak security I'll exploit that as well...

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

of Gen Y and many of Gen X who assume that if it isn't nailed down, it's theirs for the taking.

M_Ski
M_Ski

Evidently, the "decay of societey" referred to earlier also includes reliance on legalism to justify or condem every action. The owner of the coffee shop referred to in an earlier post is, evidently, a good neighbor. (Or at least a shrewd businesswoman) She said the fellow who was arrested was welcome to use her wireless access, even if he didn't buy a cup of coffee. She even stated he was welcome to come inside to use it. Her ISP presumably was aware of the purpose of the connection (for sharing). Despite the facts, an individual without any evidence of even the slightest malicious intent, nor any surrepticious activity, was left facing a felony conviction in what appears to me to be a common extortion scam. (The only maliciousness I could detect from the story was on the behalf of the government employees who expended an extraordinary amount of resources to fabricate the infraction.) If this combination of scrutiny and stupidity were applied to any individual for any period of time, a crimminal charge could be made. The results of such a charge are completely unpredictable in the US, and I dare say, any court system due to the nature of legalism. I am a senior network engineer, currently working in an environment with a very elevated security posture. Our "trusted" network requires two-factor authentication for media access, wired or wireless. We still provide unsecured wireless guest access througout all of our facilites world-wide, as do the majority of our customers. The guest network is accessible in common areas and suites occupied by unrelated organizations, as well as the parking lot. With several firewalls and other measures between the "trusted" and "guest" networks, I really don't consider our organization as "ignorant", "negligent", or in any of the catagories suggested by any of the other colorful derogatory terms that have been tossed about regarding owners of "unsecured" WAPs. Our corporate policy is clear that anyone who has a need to utilize the access points is welcome to them. The same is true for the wired LAN connections in our conference rooms. Obviously, there is an expectation they will not be used for malicious activity, but we do not monitor it unless an attempt is made on our perimeter networks. (No, there are no signs or pamphlets stating as much...) Open wireless Internet access is relied upon daily by folks in a number of professions. 75% of the workforce in the division I support have no fixed office. Everyone pays for (and is reimbursed) personal broadband access. Some have two or more services, so there are no "freeloaders". Our techs and sales people regularly utilize open WAPs to establish VPN tunnels. When prompted for payment for WiFi, such as at many airports, the user does have to make a decision to either pay up or go without. Otherwise, I believe the prevailing attitude on the part of both WAP owners and mobile users is that open WiFi Internet access is like the paper towels in the rest room or mints on a desk. Yes, the possiblity for abuse of the resource does exist, but our mores dictate that you are welcome to use what you need. This is better addressed as a sociological issue, not a legal one. To address some of the "hypothetical" questions regarding cars, water, etc. posed in earlier posts: I have an old truck I don't use often that I regularly leave the keys in. It has dissappeared from time to time, on one occasion for several days, before turning back up. (with a full tank of gas) My neighbor needed it, and I am overjoyed it available when she did. I have happily supplied my neighbors with water several times over the years as wells went bad, during power outages, etc. My neighbors have done the same for me. The same with electricity. That is what neighbors do. That is what has been done for me many, many times. This type of human interaction is what drives a successful society. Denegrating to a legalistic and beurecratic system of mores and values leads to a dehumanizing state where no individual has any connection to the collective betterment. (Not that I am promoting collectivism by any stretch.) We could stem this form of "societal decay" simply by having some recreational reading other than legal stautes. May I suggest Jerimiah 5:28 for starters?

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

at their customers homes if they don't want bandwidth to be stolen by neighbors? The tech comes in, slaps this thing down straight out of the box leaving all default settings and then leaves. I can't begin to tell you how many people in my area have unsecure WiFi routers setup by their ISPs'. There must be like 20 SSIDs' named "Linksys" that are on Optimum Online and about 10 SSIDs' named "DLink" on Verizon FIOS. How do I know this? I talk to my neighbors and they tell me that now have wireless internet and I know it's their router because they are seniors and haven't got a clue about it.

TheChas
TheChas

So, what other utilities that you pay for are you willing to share with your neighborhood? Phone, water, cable, electricity trash? Why should sharing a fixed fee service be any different from sharing a metered service? Beyond liability and personal security issues, unless your ISP has different policies than most, sharing a residential or small business Internet account violates the terms of service you agreed to when you clicked on the accept button. From AT&T's terms of service: "AT&T high-speed Internet access is available only to the registered account holders, and direct sub-accounts, within a single household or business location. A Member specifically agrees in the Terms of Service that the high-speed Internet service is for use at the residence or business at which it was installed. The Member may not allow other residences or businesses to connect to your service or re-sell your service in any manner. Offering the service to other individuals on another network, or using wireless technology to broadcast the service to non-Members, strictly violates the AT&T High Speed Internet Terms of Service that each account holder agrees to during registration." While not a specific law, if you agreed to the terms of service of your ISP when you signed up for your account and then share the service, you are at risk of civil penalties and the loss of your Internet account. Sharing your "bandwidth" enables someone else to effectively shop-lift Internet access. This in turn raises the cost of Internet access for everyone just the same as the losses from shoplifting raise retail prices. Yes, the users who install wireless access points have a responsibility to secure them. But, anyone connecting to a wireless network has a similar responsibility to know what network they are connecting to, and MUST avoid connecting to networks they are not specific members of. Chas

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

"So, if I purposely set up my WiFi network at home for public access, how are people supposed to tell it apart from networks that were accidentally left open? " How about giving it an SSID that would assume access is given, such as FreeWifi or Neighborhood Access or the like. If you connect to an ssid called "linksys" then it is likely accidental. Connecting to something like "TheJohnsons" again would likely be accidental.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

and they threatened to call the cops on me on the grounds of solicitation and attempted hacking, even through I wasn't using their open WiFi AP, but did pick up their SSID when I was using my laptop outside. I was trying to help these ignorant morons by making sure their access was only available to them, but they labeled me as a criminal and threw me out of their establishment. I bet if someone offered the same to these morons in the coffee shop that sued the guy, they would have reacted just the same. They willingly setup an open AP and when confronted about it in an attempt to make things better for them, they label us IT guys as criminals because we attempt to expose their own ignorance.

deepsand
deepsand

Rather, it's those who sit for hours on end inside their establishments, purchasing little or nothing, that they are most concerned about. Those prosecuting external users, even when the shop owner refuses to take part, are over-zealous members of law enforcement.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

the ISP's will need to take control of everyones wireless access point? And you do not see anything wrong with this? How about needing to contact the ISP everytime a friend or new system gets added to your network. How about they charge more for each system that you allow access? Putting a law on the ISP's to secure peoples home connections is absurd. What is needed the most is user awareness. If the installers, and AP manufacturers did a few minor things, then people will be informed. I am sure a big red warning sign stating "Warning Identity Theft Prevention Inside" or something to that effect, people will more than likely take a look.

deepsand
deepsand

That some neighbors' lights may be insufficient for reading does not mean that all are so; were that the case we would not now have local ordinances regulating the use of such, so as to not unduly interfere with others. As for hot-spots, such are [i]intended[/i] to be [i]actively[/i] used by others; thus there is no "interference with another's property."

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

cracking security because it is weak is a much higher crime than just wandering onto someones open acces spoint.

Jason Wallace
Jason Wallace

I personally think if people are not willing to take the few extra minutes to secure their network, change their router default password, etc? then they have no room to say anything. Not that they would since they probably don?t even know.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Much of the back bone was built with DARPA dollars which is ours, of course. With the MESH networking tech making headway in other countries; the reality of a truly public owned network closer to reality every day.. My fear is the public will forget that they own it in the first place, and will give up their rights to it even though they could also own the infrastructure by then! As I have pointed out elsewhere; why do you suppose Alltel networks made cellphone to cellphone calls free if done within "walky-talky" range of each other? Because you own the air and the cell phone; so you own it all!!! I envision a system not unlike the push to establish PBS radio and tv years ago, and the public owned telephone associations in the rural areas where the big companies would not service because of lack of volume. Except everyone's PC and routers will be involved in a mesh network system that will not take that many tax dollars or donations to setup; as most of the equipment already owned by us will be there providing that part of the network.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I hadn't thought about using that as a kind of extortion. But then I'm not interested in leaching my neighbor's wifi either; even though I could have easily mis-IDed the usual default Linksys SSID you see so much out there. I don't even mind the companies who are willing to invest in the infrastructure to make some money on our property(wifi band); there should be enough competition as to satisfy anyone's budget. I just get depressed at the seemingly forgotten concept that "We the People" own the radio spectrum and it is we who delegated the frequency bands as to need and particular use; and that we were kind enough to allow exploitation of the public access wifi frequencies for the good of the whole.. It is discouraging to see people who I know good and well didn't mean to rob someones's bandwidth, treated as criminals on their own territory. I would consider "The good neighbor" concept successfull if the ISPs and retail shops would simply help people understand how to protect everyone's interests instead of labeling clueless end users as a "thief".

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Internet access should be a public service anyway, I think Corporation realize that it is headed in that direction, so they are trying to grab as much money as possible before it happens. I live on a school Campus and share a common network with everyone else there. O/C I do run software firewall and AV protection, but at the same time I share my iTunes music ( no password on the share ) and would gladly share anything else that could help my neighbors out. We already share light, air, etc. So it isn't a huge mental leap to share other resources with each other. Those who want to amass possessions and label as many things as possible as "mine" are going against the natural order of things, and are driven by pure greed.

JCitizen
JCitizen

But SBC(AT&T) had better watch it because there is now plenty of competition even in the rural outback and many a greedy company has gone out of business and been bought out by the public owned associations! HA! :^0

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

When this is used against the ISP's they get nasty but they still didn't do anything to stop it happening in the first place did they? As for Installing WiFi enabled devices here I repair the mess that several ISP's cause because they send out Sub Contractors who are paid by the job to run a Install Disc and hope for the best. Mostly they mess up the OS and prevent the computer working properly. They then claim that the computer is faulty and hand out one of my business cards as a recommended repairer. Total install time about 20 minutes and they get $25 per job so obviously they are not interested in spending any longer than absolutely necessary to do the job. Col

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Actually, Roadrunner ( remember them? ) brought charges up against their customers in one neighborhood for sharing their WiFi connection to save money. It seems that violated the Terms of Service. In English, that means they wanted everyone to pay for a connection, whether they needed all of that bandwidth or not. SBC brought similar legal action against a community program to run cable and install equipment to give Internet access to a remote community. The community kept asking SBC to provide Internet access to them, but since they did not get a response, they decided to do it themselves. Funny thing was that SBC recieved local government subsidies to do just that, but they just pocketed the money.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

It's cheaper to do this way and if there is a limit on the account they get to charge [b]Excess Usage Fees[/b] when the account exceeds the upper limit. The ISP's make money out of installing this type of thing and they Farm Out the Work to Sub Contractors who are paid by the job so they in an attempt to make some money for food that week do as little as possible. Get with the program [b]Greed is Good Remember.[/b] :^0 Col

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Yes, one can setup the preferred network to attach to, but something that simple is beyond the scope of knowledge of most users and they will use whatever network their WiFi NICs' attach to first. Nevertheless, it's still not an excuse for knowingly attaching to someone else's open access point simply because they were too ignorant to lock it down.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Most end users consider that they know it all and react badly when they are shown up as not knowing as much as they thought they knew. :D This isn't so much that they don't want to know but they don't like being told by people that they don't know or employ to cure their problems. Seems that they are always right and are taught that by just about every shop that they go into. This is much more about the Degrading Society than anything else as they seem to think that they don't need to be told and threaten [b]Legal Action[/b] of one kind or another when shown up. In the old days before computers and the [b]Greed Is Good BS[/b] people liked help now they despise it. Col

deepsand
deepsand

Just make sure to make the most of it. Adequate documentation demonstrating that you did indeed enjoy such to the fullest will serve to best facilitate future requests being approved.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

but not in the real world. Gimme a break, it's been 30 years! Sheesh!

deepsand
deepsand

You stated "[i]airwaves are public, those signals not specifically identified by law as public are private.[/i]" In fact, it is the case that "those [u]not[/u] specifically identified by law as [u]private[/u] [b]are public[/b]."

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

But "airwaves are public, signals are private" rolls off the keyboard so much more smoothly than "airwaves are public, those signals not specifically identified by law as public are private."

deepsand
deepsand

Here in the U.S., those not explicitly declared by FCC Regulation as being private are public. Other countries' laws/regulations differ.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The signals are private. This is what I was taught, both in USAF electronic security training and FCC license training.   It was a good discussion; made me think. Even made me do ( ) research.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I was trying to clarify the matter and ended up with even more muddy water instead. I don't advocate connecting to open APs that you aren't subscribed to; I just think the issue of our ownership of the public access wifi should take precedence. Especially since it is so easily cured by simply encrypting the AP in the first place. As far as taxes; I say let that, that belongs to Caesar's go back to Caesar. But that, that belongs to "We the People"; I tend to over-zealously defend. If you disagree - I can live with that; I just hope I don't continue to miss communicate.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Earlier in this dicussion I pointed out how easy it is to accidently connect to a default SSID. 95% of my customers have never used the internet let alone wifi. Many of them think you are supposed to bring your new laptop home and just magically connect to the internet. I have to spend considerable time explaining to them that they have to jump some hoops to reach that goal. All of them have been honest about it, and either followed my advice or gave up on the idea alltogether. I just don't agree in criminalizing this element. I feel the responsibility should go both ways - the ISP has an obligation to aid in the support and protection of the APs service and the AP has an obligation to cooperate in this process. As for people who knowingly connect to open APs; I have no sympathy for them when they are called on the carpet. I just hope the concept of public ownership of this frequency band and the freedom to access wireless communication isn't destroyed with the abuse that is sensationalized in the media.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

And therein lies your downfall. [i][To clarify: we own the air(wifi band) and home assets they own the infrastructure(WAN)assets][/i] In the sentence quoted above, you state "we own the air (wifi band) and home assets..." You are fundamentally incorrect on one crucial point: we do own the air, but "we" do not own the home asset. [b][i]The home asset is the property of an individual homeowner.[/i][/b] Simply put, if it isn't your home, it isn't your asset. If you use something that isn't yours without permission, you are wrong. End of line.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

with this 'proposal'. My interpretation previously was to hold ISP's liable for someone leaving their router open. In that case, they would tighten everything down, remote control the settings, and make it as hard as possible to use. That is where my theory of calling in to allow another system to access it comes in. Going by this proposal, I think that we are on similar lines. However, I still think that unless the open wireless is marked such as 'free wifi' that it should still be illegal to use it.

JCitizen
JCitizen

fined for using a wide open Access Point in our public access wifi band. I get the feeling we are not that far appart on this. I just don't agree with prosecuting people for using an unsecured AP on a medium that they already own. It's not our problem if the ISP is losing revenue - it is they that are operating in our backyard(public access); living room actually - they are the idiots who should be protecting their revenue by helping the AP lock their assets down and protecting the customers Quality Of Service. [To clarify: we own the air(wifi band) and home assets they own the infrastructure(WAN)assets] The cure is simple under this "proposed" law the ISP is required to inform you of the dangers and corrosion of bandwidth if the customer does not lock his/her AP down; if that customer wants to leave it open then all bets are off - there can be no victim as long as you don't exceed the data load restrictions that some people are reporting that they live under already.[The ISP already controls your AP] And if need be, aid the AP customer to lock it down. A free of charge argument in that case probably wouldn't hold here. But we the people make the laws about our public property, so whatever doesn't violate the constitution goes. I am not understanding why adding a person to your net would require telling the ISP anything unless you wanted to increase the bandwidth on the upstream side of the wifi router/modem. That is unless your area receives all communication through a wifi WAN tower instead of a cable leading into your house/business. If that is the case I will have to plead ignorance because I've never worked with those systems. I would still say we own the public access band anywhere the signal goes through the air in that frequency; if they use another frequency for traffic to the WAN from there; that is another matter outside the discussion.

deepsand
deepsand

for your response. Now, were it the case that all of my mistakes in live were so easily explained.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I missed the significance of "public hot-spots", which you clearly stated was your scenario 1. My mistake. There is, of course, no "stealing" of what is deliberately made available for public use.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

too quick to post. Doesnt know who he is posting to!!! LOL

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

or doesn't pay attention (isn't it pretty much the same thing?). He probably thought he was still posting to edjcox.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I have never used a wireless network that was not legal (ethically and legally) available to do so. I have used a couple of hot spots. I have been to a friends house used it with their knowledge. I have used it at work using my manager requested access card. I have used the free metro-wide service provided by Sunnyvale. I have not hopped onto someones unsecured wireless. In fact, I have argued that it is immoral and illegal all over this thread, and I have stated that I have never stolen internet service. So, how am I a thief???

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

It's still stealing. Kinda like breaking and entering vs. unlawful trespassing. You did the exact same thing, just put more time, energy and thought into it. My point was, it's still stealing. Unless it's posted as being free to the general public, or you paid for it with your hard earned cash...you stole it, plain and simple. At least own up to it like I do! Are they inviting strangers to mooch off their connection by leaving the security open? Yes, but I don't see why people can't admit they are stealing it and it's wrong. Like I said though...I'm guilty and will continue to do it if the circumstances warrant the theft of said wireless property.