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  • #2178451

    Wardriving – Legal or not?


    by jdclyde ·

    Has the law caught up with Technology yet?

    In a recent discussion telling dumb user stories, I had a handful of members jump me because I had used someones WiFi connection for a few days for email and a quick TR fix.

    Some claimed anyone doing this is a thief, while others tried to make it a moral issue of ethics.

    I did a search, and found nothing specifically stating this is illegal although I did find two cases in process right now. One in the UK and one in the US.

    Wording stating unauthorized access to a computer or a network was as close as I could come to an actual law.

    I think most people that do this (myself included) would not if it was clear that there actually is a law against it. How close do you think we are to that?

    If it not against the law, how can anyone claim it is unethical? Based on what? The person that left their open access point is missing what at the end of the day? They have been harmed in no way and nothing has been taken from them.

    And I am not talking about some clown that is hacking, or sucking up massive amounts of bandwidth so please don’t waste anyones time with that angle.

    I guess I would also not include a home user that doesn’t have their own connection and goes off a neighbor full time.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3121170


      by gadgetgirl ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      The infoworld link needs membership….

      If you can tell me which Act is referred to in the UK case, I can check it out for you.


      • #3120922

        Legal or not? not really the point.

        by michael_orton9 ·

        In reply to whooops!

        You shouldn’t really bother about legalaties.
        The realpoint is if you can wardrive successfully, so can others with malicious intent.
        Its just like leaving your keys in the new Jaguar, in a public carpark.
        If there is a way into a system, someone will use it, legal or not.
        There are no (effective) policemen on the Information Superhighway!

        • #3197109

          But this doesn’t help

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Legal or not? not really the point.

          joe-user with their home network and open access point.

          They probably had heard from someone that they needed a router to secure their home network and got this, not realizing they locked the door but then installed a dog access that a rat could come in.

          If these home users AND MANY business users don’t take care of their systems, what can be done about it?

          It only leaves the question, if you will use some of their bandwidth too. Hopefully with all the trojans and spyware on their systems, there will be some bandwidth left over to use!

        • #3125623

          End user education may help

          by zengeek ·

          In reply to But this doesn’t help

          Leaving the door open for hackers to get in is not something anyone wants to do. Unfortunately, most home users are not aware of the need for some basic security precautions and probably won’t care till it’s too late. The need to be educate them is obvious, but who will do it? The big electronics stores are more interested in selling their wares than telling consumers how to install and configure their equipment. And how many home users do you know actually read their manuals? So that leaves us techies to educate our friends and families…

        • #3196455

          Why not help them out?

          by smee63 ·

          In reply to End user education may help

          I have always been one to think that people should be accountable for their actions. Whether or not this is legal? Doesn’t look like it’s illegal to me. But since jdclyde did use their bandwidth and it helped him in his time of need, why can’t he contact these people and tell them of their potential for a hacker to have a field day and give them a few tips on how to secure their network? If they decide to leave it open after that is their choice.

        • #3265851


          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Why not help them out?

          Maybe he can just do a net send 🙂

        • #3265856

          Don’t assume

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to But this doesn’t help

          that Joe User doesn’t know that he left his door unlocked.

          I knowingly left mine unsecured (so if you’re ever in the neighborhood, please feel free), and in the last year or so I’ve had 6 different people (or at least 6 different MAC addresses) hit it, at least for a few minutes (only one of these people is known to me). The house we just bought is right across the street from a small park (it’s cool to have a big front yard that someone else mows :)) and my wireless covers almost half of it. I see people working with their laptops while eating lunch, etc, and I assume they found it quite by accident (I have found one that way while using my PDA at work).

          Do I care? Well, if they were using up all of my bandwidth I might, but until that would happen, I’m not going to change anything. I prefer to secure the computer itself (yes, I know, computers can be broken into, but then so can your typical home router).


          also don’t think it’s an ISP issue. They are getting paid for (in my case) 768k down and 256k up. What percentage of that is used by me and what percentage by someone else is not really their concern, as long as I am not selling it. From their perspective, someone connecting through my network to check their email is no different than them knocking on my door and sitting down at my computer to check their email.

        • #3126113

          Driving a Jaguar

          by fvrba ·

          In reply to Legal or not? not really the point.

          This seems like a good analogy.

          If you leave the keys in the Jag and it’s unlocked, is it legal to take it for a spin? Or maybe the question is, is it illegal? I’m not saying it’s a smart thing to do, leaving the keys in the car, and no one I know would do it intentionally. Kind of like not knowing or realizing their wireless access point is open to the outside. You do loose some fuel unless the joy rider puts gas back in for you.

          So maybe the problem hinges on the value of the asset that’s being used. Without a specific law covering it, it seems it all boils down to what an individual perceives as being OK. Personnally, I’m against using other people assets without them knowing.

          On that note, jdclyde, let me know your address so when I’m in the area I don’t need to find an R/V park. I’ll put my motorhome in your yard and, oh yeh, when the garage door opens I’ll borrow some tools because I want to build a picnic table. I won’t be done before lunch though so I’ll be using your grill and patio. I’ll use my own propane though because I don’t want to cost you anything.

        • #3126073


          by zeppo9191 ·

          In reply to Driving a Jaguar

          If I invite someone to park their RV on my driveway, I would expect that they might be using/borrowing a few things (without explicit permission) that I own. This would include, but not be limited to, my patio, b-b-que, picnic table, bathroom, livingroom couch, television, etc., etc., etc.

          However, if you’re an uninvited guest who started using these things, this would be considered criminal trespass, because you physically entered my property.

          Since someone who taps into my open WAP isn’t performing physical trespass to complete the task, it doesn’t fit under the legal definition of criminal trespass, and your analogy doesn’t quite work.

          The question posed by jdclyde is whether it’s legal. Too many people are approaching the morals of the issue.

          In the first discussion mentioned by jdclyde (the one centered on funny users), I placed a post stating that the moral argument may never be resolved, irrelevant of whether laws are enacted addressing this topic. Everybody’s morals are different, and each believes theirs to be correct; otherwise, they wouldn’t follow them.

          To address your initial question, jdclyde, I don’t know of any laws that have been used to successfully prosecute someone for using an open WAP for the sole purpose of accessing the public Internet.

          Of course, there have been several cases that were returned with guilty verdicts where someone used open WAPs to do other (esp. malicious) things, but that wasn’t how your question was presented.

        • #3126037

          jdclyde asked If not against the law, how can anyone claim it is unethical?

          by rajanke ·

          In reply to Analogies

          To quote

          Ethics Explains What’s Good and Bad

          Ethics is the science that explains the valuing process. It provides a theory for explaining why conduct is considered good or bad. It attempts to answer the questions “Why is this good?” and “Why is that bad?”
          . . .

          Ethics explains why you believe something is right or wrong.

          Ethical theories are the reasons we give for judging one action good and another action bad. These theories are the ultimate reasons we give in answer to the question “Why ought you to do this?”

          This does not mean that by knowing about ethics you will make proper moral choices. All it means is that you will be better able to explain why you make the choices you do.
          . . .
          Moral Absolutism

          Right is right and wrong is wrong.

          Actions are inherently good or bad, regardless of the consequences.

          . . . You may not agree with everything the government does, but cheating on your income taxes is wrong.

          . . .

          Ethical Relativism

          Circumstances alter cases. Everyday standards are good, but exceptions are also right and good. The judgment of good or bad is based upon the result or consequence of the act rather than the act itself. An action is right if it tends to produce the greatest good for the greatest number.

          Ethical relativism claims that when two individuals or two cultures disagree on their moral views of an act, both can be right.

          . . . “Cheating on your income tax is OK as long as you don’t get caught.”

          So, does jdclyde’s NEIGHBOR think it is unethical?

        • #3125951

          Historical view (Touchy? Don’t read this)

          by paymeister ·

          In reply to jdclyde asked If not against the law, how can anyone claim it is unethical?

          Historically, the question is not “what does the neighbor think?” but rather, “what does God’s Word say?” Please save your flames – I ain’t preaching, and jclyde asked for justification for one’s ethical judgement.

          Historically the assumption is that a God exists (regardless of how close we agree on attributes), and that there are standards to meet. The standards are there and are unchanging regardless of whether we like them, follow them, agree with them, know of them (etc.), and the issues of life consist not just of “what is the rule” but also “which rule fits best” and “how does it apply”.

          For example, Jewish law says that if you hire a man with an ox and it dies, it is the other guy’s problem. But if you borrow an ox and it dies, you get to buy him another one. Today’s application would be for me to buy you an new chain saw (or repair it). Oxen aren’t the big deal, but we still borrow or hire.

          So there may be a moral absolute that would apply – though it would seem that there is no “stealing” going on here, and the closest I could come to in a quick inspection of the Westmister Larger Catechism (well-respected in many conservative Christian circles) is the admonition to avoid idleness – supporting jclyde’s comment that Joe User shouldn’t just mooch off his neighbor. But the use of a neighbor’s wireless system (unless you bog it down) doesn’t fall under the “theft” or “receiving that which is stolen” or “taking or withholding from our neighbor that which belongs to him” categories. Still, I would encourage the study of Luke 16:10-12, which speaks of being faithful in small things, and Amos 8:5, which speaks of false dealing (streching it, to be sure, but you’re still getting through the revolving door on someone else’s push).

          Perhaps a phone call to the fellow asking if he minded would be in order? Scripture also tells him to “give freely”… though you might start with offering him a beer instead of a Bible quote.

          Of course, we all break a goodly portion of the ethical rules every day (of any system you pick), and we desperately need grace and mercy by the truckload. My job is to try not to create the need for the extra truckload…

          Again, this probably really IS on-topic, but thanks, all, for your patience.


        • #3125931

          Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          by zig zag ·

          In reply to Historical view (Touchy? Don’t read this)

          One point that is missed here is that the isn’t whether you are stealing, but from whom. If your neighbor were selling access, his ISP would have an issue with it. In the case above, you are still stealing from the ISP. The neighbor does not have the right to disseminate “his” access unless the ISP specifically allows it. Most specifically deny it. Just because you arenot stealing from the neighbor, does not mean that you are not stealing.

          I use a rule that I call the “5 year old” rule. As you may or may not know, 5 year olds are very “balck & white” and they keep asking until they understand. So the rule is this: if you can’t explain why it is OK in terms that a 5 year old can understand, it probably isn’t OK. For example, if you can’t explain the why it is OK to illegally copy music and not OK to take a CD from the store, you shouldn’t do either. Both are stealing in a very real sense and any 5 year old would understand that. And keep asking “Why?” until you finally give up.

          If you can’t explain why it is OK to grab a signal out of the air and use it (either a little or a lot) and not OK to dial into an ISP (or tap into their bandwidth some other way), then it probably isn’t OK.

          This 5 year old rule usually really clears up ethical issues.

        • #3125899

          Absolutely right, Zig Zag – thanks.

          by paymeister ·

          In reply to Historical view (Touchy? Don’t read this)

          You’re quite right about the key issue being that of the agreement with the ISP. Murjo08 brought this out also, and made me realize that the issue your voiced here is probably the key one. Sure, nothing was “removed” from the fellow’s access (so it would be ethical in that sense), but it caused him to violate his agreement with the provider (which, for those of you who are so inclined, would be a “damaging the good name” issue violating the “don’t bear false witness” commandment). See for Murjo08’s post.

          Thanks, Zig Zag! And I like the “5yo rule”. I’ve found, too, that if I can’t ‘splain it to my wife, I’m usually in the wrong, too (not to equate my wife with a 5y/o, of course).

        • #3120539

          In reply to Zig-Zag

          by barghesthowl ·

          In reply to Historical view (Touchy? Don’t read this)

          -While copyright law is a different subject for a different topic, I can and have explained to my 5-year-old the significant differences between copying and theft. It’s not all that hard-“If I grab your apple out of your hand, you got nothing to eat, if I copy something, you’ve still got yours.” It would be a lot harder to explain why some -do- consider copying theft! I’m trying here…
          “Well, there’s this thing called a “corporation”. Yeah we’ll get to that later, it’s just a big business. And even though you’re not taking anything away from anyone when you copy something, some people think that doing nearly anything without giving some of your money to these corporations is by default stealing from them. Nope, I don’t believe it either.”

          As to the ISP’s agreements-I can hardly understand those, and I’m relatively fluent in legalese. Once the ISP’s start writing these agreements in terms that a 50-year-old, let alone 5-year-old, can understand, someone might care what they say. In the meantime, if they have a problem with it, they’ll complain at me, and they’ll then lose my business when I move to another provider if they’re complaining over a minor issue.

          Most people violate their ISP’s terms of use all the time. Use PCAnywhere or its like? An SSH/FTP daemon for remote access? Running a server, against terms of use. Of course, that -isn’t- what this is intended to prohibit, it’s intended to prevent people running a high-traffic website or anything to that effect. That’s why ISP’s (wisely) do not complain about every minor infraction. So basically-if they don’t and can’t notice what you’re doing, you sure must not be having a very detrimental effect on their network.

          Another example-it was against Comcast’s terms of service to connect more then one system to the network unless they set up the network! However, every time the connection needed to be serviced, the first question was “Do you use a router?” I always told them yes, and answered that my and my wife’s machine were hooked up when they asked. They never said a word.

          As to the religious arguments presented here? While I’m effectively atheist myself, I’ve always found myself liking the rather simpler Wiccan creed-“If it harm none, do what you will.” Who does utilizing a non-scarce, currently unused resource harm?

        • #3081728

          Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          by ·

          In reply to Historical view (Touchy? Don’t read this)

          I’m not sure that wireless access was properly addressed in the Torah. Maybe somewhere along the lines of God telling Joshua to tear down the walls of a city that didn’t belong to him and kill everything that moved inside the walls, and then claim ownership of their land?

          I think that if your God is OK with that, he’d be fine with me hopping on an open wireless router to get my email!


        • #3265848

          Interesting Zig Zag

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Historical view (Touchy? Don’t read this)

          If you pay for cable TV, and your cousin comes over to watch the game with you, is he stealing service?

        • #3125289

          Well now

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to jdclyde asked If not against the law, how can anyone claim it is unethical?

          While that wasn’t QUITE what I was looking for (an ethics discussion), it was the single best ethics post I have seen in this AND the discussion that is specifically asking for ethical opintions.

          As far as your final statement, If I take the statement a few lines up to be true that two people on each side can have different view and both can still be right, they why would it matter if the other person agrees or not as we can both be right, meaning my “rightness” is not dependant on what his view is?

          Note, Don’t know exactly which neighbor it was to ask anyways.

          And most importanly, if someone was not slighted or shorted in anyway, then what is the problem?

          The ONLY reason MY WAP is locked down is to keep people out of my SYSTEMS.

        • #3081811

          As of 12-30-05 – Everybody is right & wrong… including me – LONG POST

          by evolving opinion – ask me tomorrow ·

          In reply to Well now

          jdclyde you sure have hit a nerve!

          Couldn’t you pick something less complicated such as which is better Macs vs. PCs or Linux vs. Windows? All kidding aside, you prompted me to do some research and I found more than I could believe.

          YES, it is illegal to use or access a WAP, with provisos:

          1)Everything is legal (138 of 509) until you get caught. I.E. play nice and keep your head down

          2)The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (?CFAA?) makes
          punishable whoever ?intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access and thereby obtains ? . . .
          information from any protected computer if the conduct involves interstate or foreign communication. Another section of the CFAA
          makes punishable whoever ?intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and, as a result of such conduct, recklessly causes damage.? In the context of accessing a neighbor?s WLAN, liability with respect to both of the previously listed sections depends first on
          establishing intentional access without authorization. ?Access? refers to the intent to access, not the intent to damage the protected
          computer. The user interface on Wi-Fi equipped devices typically lists detectable access points automatically by a name the Wireless Access Point (?WAP?) owner designates. In a residential area, the WAP name may refer to a neighbor?s last name, such as in ?Jones Family Access Point.? The act of choosing an access point in this context could provide evidence of intentional access. The CFAA does not define ?without authorization? or what it
          means to exceed authorization. Under CFAA case law, establishing unauthorized access or lack of authorization has involved reference to the means of access or its purpose. Courts have also found
          unauthorized access through a ?Terms of Service? violation, even where the defendant did not receive notice of the terms. In EF Cultural Travel v. Zefer, involving a defendant who used a scraper tool to extract data from a competitor?s
          website in order to underbid projects, the court also recognized that a lack of authorization could exist implicitly, rather than explicitly in
          the form of a statement. For example, the court noted that ?password protection itself normally limits authorization by implication (and technology), even without express terms.? Of
          particular relevance to the Wi-Fi context, the court found an implicit lack of authorization, rejecting the view that there exists a
          ?presumption? of open access to the Internet.

          3)With regard to finding unauthorized access through a ?Terms of Service? violation, the AOL cases cited above provide precedent for
          enforcing such terms on third parties with no privity of contract and no notice of the terms. Internet Service Provider (?ISP?) ?Terms of
          Service? typically prohibit many different types of activities, including Internet access by those outside the subscriber?s household or business. Although the term applies directly to the customer
          paying for the service, and not a third-party end user (or ?Wi-Fi interloper?), under the rationale of the AOL case cited above, violation of such terms by non-members can amount to unauthorized
          access for the purposes of the CFAA.

          4)Section 1030(a)(2) raises the issue of whether the unauthorized access involves obtaining information. Although Congress intended the CFAA to apply to theft-related acts, some courts have
          interpreted information obtained as ?the showing of some additional end?to which the unauthorized access is a means. In this regard, access to any WLAN involves some exchange of information that
          typically passes between computers (IP address, data packets, etc.) as a means of gaining access to the Internet. Since the statute does not specify exactly what information the end user must obtain, the end user who accesses a neighbor?s WLAN has potentially committed a
          misdemeanor violation of section 1030(a)(2), which could then rise to the level of a felony if the acts involved commercial advantage or private financial gain.

          KEY POINT HERE:
          Criminalization of Wi-Fi interloping under section 1030(a)(2), wherein someone merely uses another?s WLAN to check e-mail or to perform other common, relatively unobtrusive acts, seems unlikely.

          5)section 1030(a)(5)(A)(ii), concerns whether the unauthorized access ?recklessly causes damage.? The statute defines ?damage? as ?any impairment to the integrity or availability of data, a program, a system, or information.? Courts
          have held that prohibited conduct under the CFAA that causes slowdowns and diminished capacity of computers, thereby impairing the availability of the system, also constitutes ?damage? under the

          6)Although prosecutors have tended to use the CFAA solely to punish theft-related acts involving computers, the proliferating use of
          Wi-Fi could change this, or provoke related activity at the state level or under federal wiretap laws, such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (?ECPA?), also
          known as the ?Wire Tap Law,? holds that ?[it shall not be unlawful] for other users of the same frequency to intercept any radio
          communication made through a system that utilizes frequencies monitored by individuals engaged in the provision or the use of such system, if such communication is not scrambled or encrypted.?
          Prosecutors have used the law to target certain acts of wireless interceptions and signal theft. The ECPA also imposes federal penalties, both criminal and civil, on anyone who ?intentionally
          intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic
          communication.? Violations of the ECPA involve five key elements. An individual must: (1) intentionally (2) intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure another person to intercept (3) the contents of (4) an electronic communication (5) using a device. As with the CFAA, a court could apply these elements to the context of unauthorized Wi-Fi access quite easily.
          As with the CFAA, prosecutors tend to focus application of the ECPA to specific intent crimes, such as accessing another?s WAP for the
          purpose of eavesdropping, rather than simply using another?s bandwidth.

          7)Wi-Fi also, through its very nature, potentially
          implicates radio spectrum issues through its use of the unlicensed 2.4 and 5 GHz radio bands, as well as broadband regulatory schemes and antitrust issues through the fact that WLANs typically expand the use of a product that Internet Service Providers supply to customers
          on a contractually limited basis. A practical advantage may lie in using the common law tort of
          trespass to chattels to impose liability for unauthorized use of Wi-Fi, rather than statutes such as the CFAA, which Congress intended
          primarily for punishment of theft-related acts.

          8)beyond the Federal laws discussed above, that other Internet uses can trigger criminal sanctions under other laws, among them, Federal laws such as the Copyright Act, the National Stolen Property Act, mail and wire fraud statutes, the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, and the U.S.A Patriot Act of 2001. Assorted state laws show a corresponding sensitivity to the wide variety of criminal acts perpetrated on the Internet.

          9)Under California law, an action for trespass to chattels arises when an intentional interference with the possession of personal property causes injury. Courts have found the basic elements of
          trespass to chattels (with the exception of damages) satisfied in many different types of unauthorized computer access cases. Nonetheless, the court offered relevant examples of what has constituted damages in other cases involving unauthorized computer access, including
          overburdening or interference with the efficient functioning of computer systems and threatened harm in the potential for others to imitate the defendant?s activity.

          10)POSITIVE NOTE:
          Among the several defenses to trespass to chattels, apparent consent appears most likely to arise given current trends in the
          implementation of Wi-Fi, particularly with regard to private residences. Under the Restatement, ?[i]f words or conduct are reasonably understood by another to be intended as consent, they
          constitute apparent consent and are as effective as consent in fact.? Lack of log-in procedures, encryption, or other forms of security may
          create a privilege in the would-be trespasser of apparent consent to use another?s Wi-Fi network.

          Turns out, unsurprisingly, that you’re unlikely to be prosecuted or successfully sued for just checking your email via someone’s open WiFi access point, but if you use up all their bandwidth, or use it to do naughty things, or do it professionally, the risks go up.

          All the above comes from these sites:

          Wi-Fi Liabilities

          Read all those documents above for legal ideology.

          Now you mentioned in your first post about morals ON ethics, but I would say MORALS & ETHICS, and that leads to these thoughts:

          Why not help them out? (6 of 508)

          I have always been one to think that people should be accountable for their [own] actions. Whether or not this is legal? Doesn’t look like it’s illegal to me. But since jdclyde did use their bandwidth and it helped him in his time of need, why can’t he contact these people and tell them of their potential for a hacker to have a field day and give them a few tips on how to secure their network? If they decide to leave it open after that is their choice.
          Posted by: smee63 Date: 12/23/05

          Q> What is my obligation/responsibility to police/offer free/paid services to these people?

          A> Legally none/none/none. Ethically/Morally to make the world a better place.

          p.s. smee63, Thanks for asking the question.

          One point that is missed here is that the isn’t… (11 of 508)

          One point that is missed here is that the isn’t whether you are stealing, but from whom. If your neighbor were selling access, his ISP would have an issue with it. In the case above, you are still stealing from the ISP. The neighbor does not have the right to disseminate “his” access unless the ISP specifically allows it. Most specifically deny it. Just because you are not stealing from the neighbor, does not mean that you are not stealing. I use a rule that I call the “5 year old” rule. As you may or may not know, 5 year olds are very “black & white” and they keep asking until they understand. So the rule is this: if you can’t explain why it is OK in terms that a 5 year old can understand, it probably isn’t OK. For example, if you can’t explain the why it is OK to illegally copy music and not OK to take a CD from the store, you shouldn’t do either. Both are stealing in a very real sense and any 5 year old would understand that. And keep asking “Why?” until you finally give up. If you can’t explain why it is OK to grab a signal out of the air and use it (either a little or a lot) and not OK to dial into an ISP (or tap into their bandwidth some other way), then it probably isn’t OK. This 5 year old rule usually really clears up ethical issues.
          Posted by: Zig Zag Date: 12/15/05

          A> It is not stealing from the ISP. The owner of the WAP has PAID for the services (limitcap-unlimited bandwidth / limitcap-unlimited access i.e. 10GB throughput or 20 hours access monthly) and except the EULA, which is a tiered package of acceptable uses for a price, the home-user is generally prohibited from reselling access/bandwidth, but not from allowing others to use his account, typically his in-home family/friends. This does not mean that the ISP does not monitor bandwidth for excessive over-use and determine what the traffic is and whether the home-user needs to upgrade their account to support the bandwidth-usage if it is not typical home-traffic, but is income/business oriented. The home-user is typically not held liable for unknown access to his WAP, unless found negligent, and/or illegal activities, but that may/is changing.

          p.s. Zig Zag, Thank you for your post & 5 year old rule. Children are great rationale breakers.

          Two thoughts: How would you feel… and
          If it feels wrong or unethical, it probably is.

          I have posted more than my share.

          Thanks for reading

        • #3265823

          Kinda like

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Well now

          You buy a giant bag of popcorn and are walking around the mall chomping away. It you’re not too careful, and a few (or not so few) pieces fall to the ground without your knowledge, is the dumb kid who picks them up and eats them stealing from you?

        • #3125299

          Thank you

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Analogies

          for one of the few posts that attempted to answer the question that was asked.

          Like you, the closest I have found was the case in the UK of they guy doing nothing but connecting to the internet. Even with that, what happens in the UK doesn’t define how it will happen here when it goes to trial. I just don’t want to be the test case.

        • #3125269

          Wireless debate

          by nwarfield ·

          In reply to Thank you

          I won’t argue the ethics of it, however if the wireless signal is unsecured and available on public property (ie: the street) then would it not be considered public access? Most instruction manuals for WAPs specifically show how to secure access…if that is ignored.

        • #3125992

          not what I’d call a great comparision

          by lando56 ·

          In reply to Driving a Jaguar

          There is a lil’ difference between private property and public access. I’m just replying to the comparison attempted regarding this issue.

          Wardriving does not involve illegally breaking into someones home and using their computer.

          I feel this issue, at its present state, is more of an ethical issue than a legal one. Emphasize – ‘at its present state’.

          If the legal issue becomes more concrete, e.g. specific laws passed and prosecuted, doesn’t the ‘owner’ of the wireless broadcast (which is broadcasting into the PUBLIC domain) become more responsible? There is a slight problem with the ‘expected privacy’ concept (why a solid Acceptible Use Policy is needed in companies to be sure the employee knows what is expected considering ‘their privacy rights’ and what rights the employer has.)

          My suggestion to users who set up a wireless access; there just happens to be certain security measures that can be implemented. Granted WEP is considered pretty lame, but at minimum it is an attempt for ‘expectewd privacy’, and if someone deliberately hacks WEP (for example), then there could be a legal issue (IMHO).

        • #3198796

          Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          by nwarfield ·

          In reply to not what I’d call a great comparision

          As an ethical argument I plead no contest. If the apple falls from a tree in the orchard and rolls out on the road, who does it belong to? Is it wrong to pick up found money? Is it wrong to take things from other people’s trash? At what point do you want law to define what is right and what is wrong.

        • #3125302

          Poorly thought out

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Driving a Jaguar

          but I am getting used to that.

          Going onto someones property and taking or using something there is not even close to the same as radio waves.

          But if it amuses you, continue down that path. Who am I to ruin something you seem to think is so clever?

        • #3197567

          You are physically entering their property

          by jimteach ·

          In reply to Poorly thought out

          You physically may not be entering their property but your packets are physically entering their physical router over their physical cannection.

          Others have also said you are not stealing something, however you are stealing something, bandwidth and time. If you are downloading, uploading, etc. a page, a file, etc, and I want to use my bandwidth then you are using my bandwidth and wasting (stealing) my time. If I am a consultant making $300.00 an hour and it takes me a minute longer to do my job then you have just cost me $5.00. Or I am trying to do a purchase at a special price for a specific time, or I am trying to do a stock buy or sell and it takes longer than it should because you are using the line and I lose the sale, or it costs more to buy the stock or I don’t get the best price, you have just stolen from me.

          The consequence of you using the bandwidth which I paid for may cause me harm, then it is illegal. You are also responsible to pay damages.

          Suppose I have a program running on my router that changes data in your packets, am I actually changing the data since you are not “physically not using my property”? Could you sue me for damages? What happens if you are doing your banking and I take your login ID and password and take money from your account, am I stealing? The logic others are using is if it is sent over the public airways it is open for anyone to use and since it came over the public airways to my private router to send your data can I claim it as a gift and use it as I see fit? (Like receiving an activated credit card in the mail. It is a gift that you can use.)

          We talk about laws or the lack of a law to cover this. How minutia do the laws have to get before common sense takes over?

        • #3198650

          I’m not physically entering your property anymore than you are….

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to You are physically entering their property

          I’m not physically entering your property anymore than you are physically entering my property with your wireless signals. If you’re not willing to entertain that you are trespassing when you broadcast your unsecured wireless signals on to my property with a signal strength strong enough to be detected by my computer’s wireless nic and announce the presence of your wap to my computer equipment then I won’t entertain that I am physically trespassing on to your property when I hitch the return ride back to your wireless access point and use your signal to surf the net. Some amount of responsibility needs to rest on the owner of the unsecured access point.

          Now let’s talk about your online banking scenario. In your example, if I’m using your wireless access point to surf the net and I’m doing my pc banking and you take/discover my login credentials for my online banking site and use them to take money from my account, you are stealing. Why? Well in your scenario it sounds like you’ve left your access point unsecured intentionally for the purpose of entrapment and running a program on your router to change the packets that I’m transmitting over so that you can change them & decipher them sounds a little devious, the term hacking comes to mind at this point.

          The bank would probably not cover my losses because I was using an unsecured wireless internet connection to facilitate my pc banking. However the bank would probably have a few words with you (in court) because they tend to make a big deal of people who commit any type of theft from them & their systems. They have the money (pardon the pun) and the legal resources to make mince meat of anybody specifically those that would illegally use someone else’s bank account.

          Plus I don’t think any credit cards are sent in the mail already activated, credit card companies require that you activate the cards from the home phone number on the original application. I don’t think you’ll be receiving any such gifts in the mail anytime soon.

          I don’t condone wardriving and I personally wouldn’t surf the net on someone else’s unsecured wireless access point – that’s just me, I’m made that way but not everyone is and you shouldn’t expect everyone to be that way either. Human nature dictates that alot of people will take advantage of other people. Unless there is a law that says that wardriving or surfing the net on someone else’s unsecured wireless signals is illegal, people will continue to do it. It’s not ethical, nice or the right thing to do, but alot of other things fall into that jurisdiction as well and continue to go on without too much stopping them.

          just my 0.02 cents cdn,feel free to agree or disagree.

        • #3196891

          This has been interesting…

          by fvrba ·

          In reply to Poorly thought out

          Sorry about being ‘clever’. Never intended it. My point ended with the sentence ‘Personnally, I’m against using other people’s assets without them knowing.’ The last part was a parody. I waanted to lighten the topic a little with what I thought was so completely absurd that no one would actually think someone would take a motorhome to someone’s home just to build a PICNIC TABLE!!! I was wrong again.

          Two points seem to be coming out among the other comments. One, some people are also as absurd as I was (or thought I was) but I believe they are serious. e.g. ‘your radio waves are invading my space, so I can use them however I want.’ Two, some people want to feel justified in their actions or beliefs.

          I think most of the comments I’ve read say something to the effect of Internet radio waves are just like any other EMR that they can intercept. Also they seem to feel they have the right to use them just like regular radio or TV and it’s the same thing. It’s not at all the same thing. Wardriving is seeking out open connections to use and you have to perform specific actions on a PC to make use of them. Some are probably saying they don’t do anything, their computer automatically connects to open access points. They just start a browser and there it is. True but they’ve either preconfigured the PC for that or installed software to do it. Plus none of you who say you just use the waves by receiving them into your computer like a radio are being truthful. All of you send signals back to the access point. The Internet is a back and forth process. You are actively entering the other assets by electronic means.

          No matter how much you want to believe you’re not using other people’s assets, you are. You’re sending signals to the access point and manipulating it to perform according to your wishes. As I said before, it’s a question of perceived value. For most the Jaguar is too expensive to justify but the access point and electricity costs are next to nothing.

          BTW, some of you mentioned trespassing. If you go down to the police station and honestly ask what constitutes trespassing, most will be in for a surprise.

        • #3135330

          A better analogy

          by erich1010 ·

          In reply to Driving a Jaguar

          The Jaguar analogy is bad because if I use the Jag, you can’t at the same time. Even the garage example is bad because there is wear and tear on the tools and associated risk of damage to the property. The back yard example is bad because there is an actual trespassing issue. Though, that becomes less so for the front yard. Someone should reasonably expect to be able to walk up to my house without violating trespassing laws.

          So, let’s remove that stuff from the analogy and see if we can make it better. Let’s take the garage example. If a garage door is closed. There is no issue. Going into the garage is illegal. What if the garage door is open. Perhaps it is raining, and I duck into someone’s open garage for a second until the rain lightens, then continue on my way. As long as I don’t touch anything in the garage, would that really be an unethical thing to do? I’m not sure if it would even be illegal, since the door was open. The only thing used in that case would be the roof, to keep the rain off. Was the roof used up any more by my use than if I wasn’t there? No. Obviously, I’ve also temporarily used some space in the garage, but not enough to inconvenience the owner. (Another reason the RV in the driveway is a bad example) And if the owner noticed me there and told me to leave, I would have to leave, obviously. Staying overnight in the open garage every day would also be a different issue.

          I see the wireless as similar. If I use someone’s bandwidth because of a temporary need, and don’t damage their system at all, then I don’t see that as an ethical problem. It would be on par with ducking out of the rain or using someone’s driveway to turn my car around. There are even businesses who intentionally leave wireless open to attract customers. This would similarly be analogous to extending their lobby. Many even advertise their products on a splash page before granting access.

          Personally, I leave my wireless open. I don’t mind the occasional user. If I notice my bandwidth slowing down because of too much outside use, I might lock it down or at least prioritize traffic. So far, it’s not been an issue. I’m also considering a firewall to separate my wired computers from my wireless. But even that’s not a major concern of mine because of location, and I have enough security built into my computers that I would most likely detect and block any maliciousness.


        • #3265805


          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to A better analogy

          “Perhaps it is raining, and I duck into someone’s open garage for a second until the rain lightens, then continue on my way. As long as I don’t touch anything in the garage, would that really be an unethical thing to do? I’m not sure if it would even be illegal, since the door was open.”

          I know positively of a man who was arrested and jailed for almost exactly that (when a downpour started, he ducked into a carport and sat in a lawn chair for nearly an hour)!

        • #3120637

          so long and thanks for the keys!

          by jason.turnbull ·

          In reply to Driving a Jaguar

          What you say about jumping in someones Jag and taking it for a spin is correct, just because the keys are in the thing and it is unlocked with engine running you probably wouldn’t… just as you wouldn’t move into someones house because they left it unlocked while they ducked out to the local store, you hit the nail on the head that you don’t just use other peoples assets… but is bandwidth an asset?? In all of the companies that I have worked for I have never seen an asset tag for bandwidth, nor have I seen it recorded anywhere in the asset register, or in the general ledger for that matter either. I certainly wouldn’t romp into their home and plug their adsl modem into my laptop…. maybe we should look at the little waves emmitted from such devices like radio stations…. how would someone control a subscription only radio station for example? And if it happened that they didn’t seal the whole broadcast shut and some of their radio waves leaked, does that mean that you are stealing their assets by listening to it? I really do think that if you can pick up a wi-fi point and access your email, then no problemo… accessing that same wi-fi point and then digging around through information on their network is a different issue

        • #3081203

          Bandwidth can be a comodity.

          by alkema_p ·

          In reply to so long and thanks for the keys!

          In the case of simultaneous use the owner of the connection may experience slowdowns, and if the internet subscription has a data limit the wardriving = stealing, becaue there is loss.

      • #3125586

        respect for others things

        by dohnotgood ·

        In reply to whooops!

        if somoene else is paying for something and you “tap in” but dont ask or compensate then your a thief PERIOD.

        Why not go into open houses and grab a glass of water after all the Door was open and they wont miss one glass of water.

        Learn respect and we might have a better palce.

        Remember just because you can does not mean you should.

        • #3125521

          thirsty.. very, very thirsty

          by d ·

          In reply to respect for others things

          analogy falls short. If townie is paying their water bill, turns on the hose, and leaves the open end lying on the public sidewalk, me or my dog can feel free to drink from it. Of course we might get sick.

        • #3126118

          Unauthorized entry is the point

          by eric.p ·

          In reply to thirsty.. very, very thirsty

          Whether or not his analogy falls short, his point should be obvious. You actually changed the analogy to something that falls short – his analogy was much better, because it involves unauthorized entry into a private place.

        • #3126080


          by zeppo9191 ·

          In reply to Unauthorized entry is the point

          …that by using someone’s open WAP for the sole purpose of accessing the Internet, you’re not performing an unauthorized entry. You’re not entering their home, nor accessing their data resources. You’re using a gateway provided by them (whether intentionally or otherwise) to access a public resource.

        • #3126069

          who pays the cost

          by rtomlin ·

          In reply to …except…

          of connecting to the internet??? Yes, you can make the point that the internet is “PUBLIC ACCESS”, but someone is paying the cost for the connection! If you ride the tailcoat of someone that is paying the cost to make the connection, then you are no better that hooking to the electric meter on their house and using their power to run your house. Neighbor!!

        • #3126060

          Not a cost question.

          by zeppo9191 ·

          In reply to who pays the cost

          Again, jdclyde’s question didn’t ask about morals or costs – he asked about legalities.

          You’re still approaching the morals of the issue, not the legalities.

          The point that jdclyde asked about, and the one I am trying to make, is that I know of no laws regarding this issue.

          If you’d like to address the issue presented in the original post, I’ll debate with you about it.

        • #3126006

          Apples and Oranges

          by mvmughal ·

          In reply to who pays the cost

          Connection to the internet is not the issue here… it’s connecting to the wireless frequency. Wireless is running on public channel free for all to use and paied by tax payer.

          It’s like listning to the emergency channels on the scanner and that picks up the local emergency folks. They in turn are connected via a paied connection (Trunk) to state and federal. When you hear the local you also hear the state and federal.

          When someone does NOT want you to hear they scramble. Why is 2.4 and or 5 Mhz frequencies any different huh! Huh! HUH!

        • #3120535

          Inaccurate analogy. Again.

          by barghesthowl ·

          In reply to who pays the cost

          Electricity is billed based on use. If you hook up to your neighbor’s electric, you are going to drive up their bill.

          Every ISP plan I’ve seen is billed based on a flat per-month rate. Use a little, use a lot, get the same bill at the end of the month. -IF- your neighbor’s bill is not so, and is billed per (mega|giga)byte instead, your analogy is correct. But this doesn’t happen.

          If you are using such a large amount of bandwidth that your neighbor’s connection performs badly, then you are taking away his right to enjoy the service he is paying for.

          If all you’re doing is web surfing and email, though, you’re using very little. Your neighbor’s performance does not suffer for it, his bill does not go up because of it.

          The fireworks analogy presented a moment ago is the correct one. Yes, your neighbor paid for the fireworks, yes, you’re enjoying them without paying. However, you are NOT detracting from your neighbor’s enjoyment of what he paid for, and THAT is why it isn’t wrong.

        • #3083196

          Claification on “radio waves” – w/o the name calling

          by matthew yurksaitis ·

          In reply to who pays the cost

          I have been reading a number of the replies on this thread, and some of them pertain to Radio waves bieng transmitted, under the supposition that they are “Public Access”. While in the situation of a Radio Station broadcasting out this is true, however; one difference here is that the “wardriver” has no access to use the broadcast radio waves to utilize the bandwidth for access to the radio transmitters etc.. In short Radio is a one way medium, while Wireless access is two way communications. Now to cover another aspect of Radio – CB’s, Amateur, Two way radios etc… While they are two way communications devices they do not provide a means to access a computer system or systems directly as do Wireless Access Devices. While you can join in on a “public conversation” on CB, Two Way and Amateur radio the owners of these devices fully understand they are publicy transmitting radio waves available to the public domain. Consumers and Businesses understand that these devices are for ease of use of thier IT devices without having to have Ethernet cables strung throughout the house. They are aware that the device does provide security and privacy measures, and although they may not be aware how to enable these measures, and therefore may leave thier access point open & vulnerable.

          Failure of a consumer to enable the security & privacy features does not constitute an automatic licence for general public use of the device as part of the “public domain” for free access to the internet. The consumers access to the internet is under a paid service, which the “wardriver” then becomes a “stowaway” on using a connection paid for by someone else without thier express knowledge or consent, getting access for free at the cost of the device owner. – Now comparing this two CB, Two Way of Amateur Radio, while you can join in freely no one “on the air” or transmitting is paying for access to the radio signal as this is free to all. The only cost to consumers is the actual radio itself. If consumers had to pay for access to the radio signals transmitted when they talk (or broadcast) then “wardriving” on these radio waves would also be protected under law.

        • #3125976


          by jafa ·

          In reply to Unauthorized entry is the point

          If it doesn’t require any authorizaton then how can it be considered unauthorized? Once your signal leaves your property, if it’s not locked then you no longer have control. If your dog wanders into my yard, then I have the right to shoot it.

        • #3125973

          Careful about the dog thing unless you’ve checked your local laws

          by rajanke ·

          In reply to Unauthorized????

          Anyway, even jdclyde did not question the legalities in his initial post . . .

          He asked . . .

          If it not against the law, how can anyone claim it is u-n-e-t-h-i-c-a-l?

        • #3120533

          Law is not ethics.

          by barghesthowl ·

          In reply to Careful about the dog thing unless you’ve checked your local laws

          I can very well claim that making copies of something is not unethical, despite being illegal. On the other hand, slavery was an unethical practice, despite the fact that for quite some time it was perfectly legal.

          The law (ideally, although not always realistically) should reflect ethics, it doesn’t work the other way around.

        • #3198118


          by nwarfield ·

          In reply to Careful about the dog thing unless you’ve checked your local laws

          ethical and legal can and most of the time are two very different idealisms. It is against the law to drive above the speed limit, but is it un-ethical? Webster says:
          1 :of or relating to ethics
          2 : involving or expressing moral approval or disapproval
          3 : conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct
          4 of a drug : restricted to sale only on a doctor’s prescription
          Certainly it can be legal (if even marginally) and not ethical, especially as an IT person should know the value of the resource being used. I don’t have any doubt of it being un-ethical…and I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t do things that are un-ethical from time to time…

        • #3125274

          Re dog – Not in my jurisdiction

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Unauthorized????

          I worked for the Humane Society when I was in high school and went out on calls with the by-law officers/animal control officers.

          In Ontario, if a dog wanders into your yard, you may not shoot it, unless your are defending yourself(you’d better have bite marks). There is a law that in rural areas, if three dogs come onto your property you can consider them a pack, and if you have livestock, you may shoot them.


        • #3120536

          Physical != virtual

          by barghesthowl ·

          In reply to Unauthorized entry is the point

          This is an important concept, and it seems so many miss it.

          If you’re in my house without authorization, you are committing a physical trespass. You might be stealing something, you might be intending harm to me.

          On the other hand, if you’re on my unsecured wireless, you’re doing something more like tuning into a radio station or CB conversation. The waves are right there in the air, available to anyone who cares to tune in, without committing any physical trespass at all.

          If you want the conversation to be private, use an encrypted channel. If you want your wireless access to be private, use the security features included with the router. If you’re too damn lazy to read the manual included with your router (or CB) and figure out what it does and how to make it do what you want, don’t blame the person who tunes in.

          Now, that being said-deliberately cracking a password to get in IS stepping over a clear “No Trespassing” sign. That’s a different story.

        • #3126104

          ‘Tap In’

          by tim_barrett ·

          In reply to respect for others things

          So, what if your neighbor installs an overhead security light outside? If the light also shines on your property, and you use that light to read your newspaper, do you consider that stealing?

          What if you buy a pay-per-view video and leave the window shades open while you watch it on your big screen TV. If your neighbors can see ‘Smack Down’ on your TV from their home and hear it because you’re cranking the 5.1 audio, is that stealing?

          I agree that running a coax cable across your lawn and jacking into your neighbor’s cable box is theft. But if they are transmitting (knowingly or unknowingly) something beneficial that you can use, be it light, music, radio signals or broadband access, aren’t they ultimately responsible for securing it?

          Everyone agrees that it’s a crime to drive away with someone’s automobile without permission. So does that mean that the car owner should leave the keys in the ignition or not lock the doors?

          It all boils down to reasonable precautions folks. Law or no law – protect what’s yours, or don’t whine about people ‘hacking’ your Linksys router with an out-of-the-box configuration.

          You have keys to your car, keys to your house, and keys to your wireless. Use them. Because if you don’t, someone may take them without your permission – regardless of what ‘the man’ says.

        • #3196642

          Open Highway

          by oregonnative ·

          In reply to ‘Tap In’

          I tend to agree that open access is OK to use. Working in a downtown environment, there are lots of open connections to tap into. Almost all of them are local businesses providing a free service in order to promote goodwill for their business.

          Why all this negative talk? Use what is offered courteously, of course, but with a clear conscience.

        • #3198842

          most are not freely permitted

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to Open Highway

          Most of the open connection used when Wardriving are open and accessible simply because the people do not know enough to set them up in a secure manner and the default settings are generally for open usage. Thus people are accessing systems that the owners did not knowingly give them access to. This is totally different from a situation where general access is knowingly given.

        • #3198722

          Ignorance of the law ……..

          by csr-tech ·

          In reply to most are not freely permitted

          is no excuse when you commit a crime. Ignorance of the procedure on how to secure your wireless access point/router is also no excuse as far as I am concerned. I would also submit that most wireless access points/routers sold today DO have security enabled by default (Normally WEP), either by the default settings or by the installation wizard. I would also submit that every single one has the procedure to implement at least basic WEP security in their “Quick Install” documentation. Ignorance of how to implement basic security on your device in no excuse: “The stupid shall be punished” if you consider outsiders using your unsecured wireless network to access the internet as punishment.

        • #3198172

          Computers are set and sold for morons

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to Ignorance of the law ……..

          so you cannot blame them when they buy the things or components for them. Most users would not know how to set anything on their system and it is all sold as plug and play/use. the few Wifi routers and access points that I have been involved in setting up have come with the default settings of everything wide open – I asked one of the manufacturer’s techs about this and he said it was because they used to ship them secure and most buyers claimed that they could not get them to work – no security = no non-use complaints.

          An unsecured wifi connection is about as equivalent to having your front door open and the wire screen on the latch – stupid but not unlawful and if anyone enters without your permission they are breaking the law.

        • #3198466

          Out to Lunch

          by oregonnative ·

          In reply to most are not freely permitted

          I think this is a great example of how IT guys (like me!) are always looking to guard the family jewels and NOT looking to add value to the world. Who cares? The Internet does not have the same expectation of privacy as does a house. If someone wants to park in front of my house to get a few free minutes of access, more power to them. If it inhibits my performance, I’ll lock the door.

          Also, I’m glad to be informed about how everyone else is a moron out there. Honestly, I didn’t know.

        • #3126087

          This becomes a big Problem…

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to respect for others things

          Because some of us intentionally open our Access points so that passers-by CAN use them if they wish. So then, how do you tell who is selflessly sharing their resource, and who is to dumb to read the directions about lockin it down? It hardly seems fair to make a law that prevents people from using what I am more than happy to let them use.

        • #3083711


          by rhalecki ·

          In reply to This becomes a big Problem…

          I leave my Access points open. It doesn’t bother me if my neighbor (or stranger, for that matter) uses it.

          A co-worker of mine says I’m allowing others to free-load. (This, as she uses her employer-supplied computer to do her personal taxes!).

          The point is, almost everyone “free-loads” in one way or another and thinks nothing of it. If it’s my turn to be the “victim”, so be it. As was mentioned before: nothing is actually taken. It’s that some people are bothered that some people are “getting somethingfor free”.

        • #3126008

          Yeah RIGHT!!

          by jafa ·

          In reply to respect for others things

          This is no different then if you were to find a $100.00 bill on the road. You know damn well you would put it in your pocket and walk off thinking “well they should have kept better track of their money”. No different for some idiot who doesn’t secure his own network. Are you stealing if you watch the neighbor shoot off his fireworks? You didn’t pay for them and yet you are enjoying them too. Get real..if some idiot walks around with money falling out of his pockets it’s his own fault for not fixing the hole in his pants.

        • #3126005

          no wonder society’s falling apart

          by dohnotgood ·

          In reply to Yeah RIGHT!!

          with ass like this out ther

        • #3125995

          OUT THER?

          by jafa ·

          In reply to no wonder society’s falling apart

          I would think that someone from hicksville who couldn’t even spell would even know what a wireless connection is.

        • #3125964

          MODERATOR – hose this guy down

          by rajanke ·

          In reply to OUT THER?

          “I w-o-u-l-d think that someone from hicksville who couldn’t even spell w-o-u-l-d even know what a wireless connection is.” . . . OUT THER? *NEW* JAFA | 12/15/05

        • #3125918

          Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…

          by cwoolley ·

          In reply to OUT THER?

          JAFA – You live in Tremonton, Utah and have the temerity to call someone else’s home ‘hicksville’?

          Do you know the difference between ‘then’ and ‘than’? Perhaps you shouldn’t be correcting grammar and spelling until you learn it yourself…

          (Sorry to the rest of you, I couldn’t resist 😉

        • #3126004

          no wonder society’s falling apart

          by dohnotgood ·

          In reply to Yeah RIGHT!!

          with ass’s like this out there

        • #3125989

          Mud slinger

          by jafa ·

          In reply to no wonder society’s falling apart

          Most adults have the abilty to exchange differences of opinions without resorting to sensless name calling.. so since that’s all you seem to understand… hence my previous reply.

        • #3125974

          you had the attackis attitude

          by dohnotgood ·

          In reply to Mud slinger

          I wonder if you could talk to someone in person about an issue.

          Or would you rant like your message?

        • #3125957

          Oh Dear!!

          by jafa ·

          In reply to you had the attackis attitude

          Waaaa… the school yard bully is trying to pick a fight….Should I get the teacher?

        • #3125935

          hey JAFA

          by dohnotgood ·

          In reply to Mud slinger

          we are getting a kick out of you here.

          tell us more

        • #3125889

          come on JAFA

          by dohnotgood ·

          In reply to Mud slinger

          We got a bet going in the office that youl respond again

        • #3125447

          That’s a specious arguement

          by ed-m ·

          In reply to Yeah RIGHT!!

          You have no way of knowing whether that $100 was lost through carelessness or a totally unavoidable accident or whether it was all the grocery money for the family for the month. The point is that losing something for whatever reason in no way gives automatic right of ownership to whoever finds it.

          It was probably earned by the toil and sweat of the person who lost it and is still their’s. You turn it into the police or the lost-and-found department or whetever and they check to see if someone reported it lost. Any small child who is responsibly brought up understands this. How this manages to escape a mature adult is a genuine mystery.

          My God, doesn’t anybody believe in “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” anymore!?

          It’s not your place to punish someone for what you presume to be their carelessness or ignorance by taking unseen advantage of them. The same goes for people who expose their access. So they aren’t as “intelligent” and “technically savvy” as you are. You were that way once until you learned. Their inexperience gives you the right to leech off of them without their knowing and let them do the paying? Let me make sure that word was not missed…L-E-E-C-H!!

          Something-for-nothing any way you can do it and rationalise it as “legal” – that’s the spirit of the age, it seems.

        • #3123971

          So How Are You HELPING?

          by jonathanpdx ·

          In reply to Yeah RIGHT!!

          So what if it was YOUR $100 and you needed it to buy food for your children? What if, instead of a hole in your pocket, it fell out when you removed your keys (or some other analogy – take your pick.) Would you be so smug about it then? I think not. It’s always just “too bad” when it happens to someone else, but a major event when it affects us personally.

          Just because everyone else is doing something wrong doesn’t make it right.

          And why refer to others who aren’t as “fortunate” as you as “idiots”? Is that how you refer to others who aren’t as “smart” or “clever” as you? Or who lose while you gain from their mistakes? If that’s how you do business, I’m not sure I’d feel safe having you around any business with which I was associated.

          As IT “Professionals,” it is incumbent upon US to make sure we teach others to guard their resources and avoid making such mistakes.

        • #3125965

          You are WAY off base…

          by kendyforthestate ·

          In reply to respect for others things

          In your scenario, I am tresspassing, invading your private property with the intention of taking something you clearly own (you pay the water bill) without asking or compensating you for it. When a person leaves their access point open, THEY are the ones who are trespassing… their radio waves are zipping by and impinging on someone else’s wifi antenna. It is no more unethical to use that than it would be to hear a conversation you were having at the table next to mine at the restaurant. If you are speaking loud enough for me to hear, and not doing anything to guard your voice, I have every right to listen. in fact, YOU are disturbing my peace, as I may be trying to enjoy a quiet meal.

          In the wi-fi scenario, perhaps I am a HAM radio operator experimenting with a device in an unlicensed part of the spectrum, which is where wi-fi signals reside, and your noisy access point is screwing up my experiment. Maybe you should turn it off and stop trespassing on MY airwaves! If you can’t control you equipment maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to have said equipment. Which is what it really boils down to. Equipment manufacturers have made it quite simple to protect your wi-fi signal… if you don’t take advantage of that it is your own fault.

          That being said, I generally try to let the owners know when I find open access points, but if it was an emergency and I had access to an open access point I would have no qualms about using it.

      • #3125585

        respect for others things

        by dohnotgood ·

        In reply to whooops!

        if somoene else is paying for something and you “tap in” but dont ask and/or compensate then your a thief PERIOD.

        Why not go into open houses and grab a glass of water after all the Door was open and they wont miss one glass of water.

        Learn respect and we might have a better palce.

        Remember just because you can does not mean you should.

        • #3125988

          So tell me then….

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to respect for others things

          How do I make people aware that they are welcome to use my wifi for internet access, that I am not just someone who was too lazy to read the instruction manual and lock my router down after install?
          I agree with you, it is important to treat other people’s things with respect. But that shouldn’t prevent me from sharing if I want to.
          In the physical world, you put up a “keep out” sign to let people no you don’t want people in what might be a publicliy accessible location, and then you depend on peopleto respect that. In the Wifi world, WEP is the closest thing to a keep-out sign (Particularly, since it is practicaly useless as a security measure).
          Thenmake sure you spread the word to all your neighbors to put up their sign…

        • #3125975

          good god utah

          by dohnotgood ·

          In reply to So tell me then….

          we work (we are going to fire them) with a devlopment team from utah I have learned to not take advise from that part of the country

        • #3081730

          So, you are a ‘racist’ then?

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to good god utah

          That is about the most pathetic response I have heard… well… ever.

          Just because I presently live in Utah(no, I am not FROM Utah, not that it matters), I have a reduced IQ or something?

          Any other groups you like to discriminate against? hispanics? chinese?

        • #3081690

          I’m italian…

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to So, you are a ‘racist’ then?

          so while you’re at it, add wops to that list as well and technically I’m canadian also so if you want, you can add them also.

          By the way….
          Merry Christmas and all the best in 2006

        • #3081654

          you could make your SSID say its ok

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to So tell me then….

          Use the SSID: all_may_freely_use_this_connection

    • #3121168

      well here in Canada

      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      it is recognised at a Criminal Offense under section 243 of the Criminal Code of Canada, as un-authorised access of a computer system or network, unless the w.a.p. had a public name, as in it clearly indicated it was a public access point.
      ( high priced Hotels, most Starbucks have public access points here. )

      • #3197210

        I’m pretty much convinced …

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to well here in Canada

        … that if you just hook up the wireless router, and (a) don’t secure it and (b) don’t change the name to something other than “linksys” “netgear” or “SMC”, what you have is a public access point.

        • #3121424

          Who owns Radio Waves?

          by bp7226 ·

          In reply to I’m pretty much convinced …

          Is it the sender? The receiver? The ISP? The User? If a radio wave is in my space do I not have a right to use it? If that answer is no, then shut down the Radio Stations and the TV Stations and take away all Ham and CB Radios and Cell Phones. While I have never used wireless from anywhere except my own office, I have yet to actually see a reason why it should not be both legal and ethical. If I can receive the radio signal, I am entitled to use it!

        • #3125762

          Who owns radio waves?

          by lederhoden ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          “If I can receive the radio signal, I am entitled to use it!”
          To receive a signal, maybe, but NOT to transmit over that signal. At that point, you are actively taking bandwidth away from someone who is paying for the use of that bandwidth. You are depriving him of something for which he is paying – ergo you are stealing from him.

        • #3125754

          The way I understand it..

          by mccmike45 ·

          In reply to Who owns radio waves?

          In the US, we have the right to receive any radio wave, unscrambled. Thus, we have free TV and radio. We do not have the right to circumvent a scrambled signal and we do not have the right to send radio signals because the sending is regulated, thus the FCC. This is why it is illegal to have an anti-radar device that transmit a false tone to the cops radar device telling them that you were driving at 55mph when you were actually driving 70mpg.

          With all of this said, you have the right to receive the Wi-Fi signal, but you cannot transmit on it unless it is a public resource. If you don’t use some minor amount of protection for your device, is it considered public? I don’t know.

          Legal and ethics are not the same thing as we have seen (i.e. “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinskey”) and we all know that in a legal sense, definitions of terms is always up for debate.

        • #3125707

          Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          by drew17 ·

          In reply to The way I understand it..

          Sad to point out that you are incorrect.

          It is illegal to intentionally receive unscrambled cordless telephone signals and analog ‘cell’ phone signals.

          I doubt they even sell 46mhz cordless phones any more but when they were the standard they could easily be monitored with any scanner from Radio Shack.

          Electronics Communications Principles Act of 1986 outlawed the monitoring of cordless phone conversations. It was ammended in the early 90s to become even more restrictive and close some loop holes. Monitoring any ‘over the air’ telephone conversation is a violation of Title 18, Section 2511 USC.

        • #3125572

          Actually no he is more or less right and wrong

          by craig.soderland ·

          In reply to Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          The problem is that there are a myraid of conflicting laws on the books and it all boils down to who can argue their point best.

          Currently we know that under the Electronic communicatins act it is illegal to listen to phone conversations. IE Wiretap.

          Which is in direct disagreement with the Federal communications act of 1934 and subsequently updated in 1997 which states unequivocially that a U.S Citizen has the right to recieve any Brodcast radio signal.

          So now the question posed it which law is right, well only a decision of the court can decide.

          Further the Sony Beta-Max decision allows me to take any signal I have recieved and Record it for future use, and under existing copyright laws I can make copies for archival purpose.

          Yet The DCMA disallows me to do so.

          This is not a simple and cut and dried as you make it seem, since neither law modifies the other Each is valid as stands on its own, and will require the courts to construe each seperate law in harmony with the other.

          Now in the case of WLan connections, do you have the right to recieve this signal (Absolutely/or not) depending on which law you want to believe or more importantly get the courts to believe.

          do you have the right to transmit, Sure do. Since the FCC was given the powers to assign frequencies and transmit powers that the general public can use (see federal communications act.) you have been given the rights to use the 2.4 and 5 MHZ bands within certian constraints.

          Does that Wlan access point have the right to recieve you signal, sure does.

          Now what happens, beyond that is all a matter for the courts and lawyers.

          since it can be construed that a:

          Since I am legally recieving a siganl, and legally brodcasting a signal, if the operator has not secured his end to REJECT my transmissions then by Fait accomli of providing a system for recieving and processing a legal public brodcast signal they are infact providing a open public AP.

          Now I know you going to say well this is “unauthorized use” or theft of service, however under existing laws it is still possible for you to argue that failure to make an effort to keep someone out (See attractive nusicance laws) you are in effect taking responsibility deliberatly or through lack of action and in effect approving this utilization.

          IE: If I put up a pool and fail to put a fence around it I am responsible for it’s use and misuse and under the attictive nusicance laws failure to do so consitiutes an open invatition to utilize this resource.

          Subistitute pool for WiFi AP and fence for securing the thing and again you see the valid argument.

          The long and the short is since there are laws in conflict, utilization of a unsecure AP is a schrodegengers cat, both legal and illegal at the same time and until the courts open the box we will not know the actual state of the laws.

        • #3126108

          some on, some off topic.

          by dryflies ·

          In reply to Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          I remember back in the early 90s where I worked they had an RF lab for checking a device we were designing to see if it was producing interference. kind of a first step before doing full Art. 15 testing. Well one day I took a device into the lab and the techs were in there listening (on the spectrum analyzer) to a young woman and her boyfriend having, Umm, an intimate conversation. Apparently they did this almost daily.

          As to war driving, wardrivers are stealing unless there is an open and explicit invitation to use the service. A passive device uses less electricity than an active device. Also, it is unauthorized access to a network, which is clearly illegal.

          When I first got DSL,(before my IT career) one day I went into my “network neighborhood” and saw all of these other computers. at first I did not understand it, then I thought what the heck, and started looking around. Well there was an engineering firm and an investment broker. Several individuals and various other businesses. The ISP was completely unsecured! Wow! I contacted the ISP and they did nothing.
          when I thought about it, I was as vulnerable as the other clients of this ISP. Finally, I rooted around until I had enough information to contact a couple of the larger clients telling them that their computer systems were wide open and the response I received from the ISP. I got two different responses. The engineering firm thanked me and the investment banker threatened me with a lawsuit. I did not bother to contact any individuals. 3 weeks later there was only me in the network neighborhood and my bandwidth improved remarkably.

        • #3125637

          close but not entirely conclusive…

          by redcell ·

          In reply to The way I understand it..

          Although broadcasting or transmitting is regulated if you purchase a device that can broadcast you either have also puchased a permit to broadcast (if it falls under a minimum requirement), or you can purchase a license to broadcast with the FCC. What we have it the case of ‘wardriving” is a technology that is not truely addressed by law. Although laws regulate the use of transmitting radio frequencies, and the manufacturing of these devices, as long as they are being used for the purpose in which they were licensed for then it’s legal. The legality issue with wardriving is NOT covered under those laws.
          I know some companies intentionally have Wi-Fi setup to allow non-employees such as sales, contract service people, etc. to be able to have access to the internet. Although this is a courtesy for business purposes it is also a somewhat intentional “public” access point too.

        • #3125578

          Using the air is no different than using the wire

          by joe_t ·

          In reply to close but not entirely conclusive…

          If you do not have permission to use the wire that the wireless connects through, then you have no permission to use the wireless. Most States have laws already on the books that criminalize the use of computer networks without proper authorization.

          I see this as little different than the license you are granted to enter and remain upon certain private property (such as a shopping center) unless asked to leave by the owner and the license you do NOT have to enter a private home. If the homeowner wants you to enter, you’ll know.

          WLANs are mostly like private homes. If the homeowner wants you to enter, you’ll be told. Hotspots are like a shopping center – you’ve been granted license to use it (and pay!), but the owner has the right to terminate said license at any time.

          If you think you can use that open WLAN to innocently get your email, why don’t you walk up to the house/business and ask the owner if it’s OK? If you won’t because you suspect the answer will be “NO”, then you already know you are doing something wrong and are justifying it to yourself because “he left it open”. This is no different morally than MP3 trading, which everyone knows is an illegal copyright violation but justifies it with “the evil record companies had it coming with their high prices”. It doesn’t matter if the AP is unsecured or the CD costs too much – it’s illegal. Deal with it.

        • #3126029

          2.4GHz Band Usage

          by dustintabor ·

          In reply to The way I understand it..

          It is my understanding that in the USA, we are allowed to transmit on some frequencies without a license. These are, for instance, CB (Citizen Band) as well as the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies as long as they do not exceed 1 watt output..

          I would take this to mean that unless the data being transmitted is encrypted, that it is available to the public. Also, if your receiver is set to receive any signal, that is not the senders issue. So I don’t think there would be any legal issues as far as using the medium is concerned.

        • #3125687

          Who owns Radio Waves?

          by codebubba ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          I disagree. Radio stations broadcast with the INTENT that you pick up their signal and use it. Someone who sets up a wireless router that doesn’t know any better is not implicitly giving you permission to use their bandwidth, they simply don’t know any better.

          The way I look at it is an unsecured router from someone’s house is a bit like a power outlet they have out in their yard for plugging in the weed-eater or bug zapper. Just because the outlet may be accessible to me (I.E. it’s not behind a fence and it’s not in a lock box) does not give me the right to plug my appliance into it and use the power he’s paying for. I think that if everybody took that point-of-view it might become obvious that piggybacking (Or Wardriving, is that what we’re calling it?) is basically unethical if not illegal.

          -CB 🙂

        • #3125590

          Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          by pcollins ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          Receiving a transmission is fine. Transmission is were the governance comes in. It is illegal to operate CB’s Ham, etc without a licence. Just as it is illegal to clone cell phones.

        • #3125581

          Who owns Radio Waves?

          by randalbin ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          It has long been established by the FCC that anyone can legally receive a radio wave that is travelling through space if they can legally acquire or fabricate the equipment to do so. This has been the premise of the Amateur Radio Operator organizations since their inception. There were no banned frequencies or laws against building a receiver for any frequency.

          However, in recent years certain equipment has been outlawed from retail sale and (in some cases) from private use. Scanners that receive cell phone frequencies are no longer commercially available in the US and lawmakers are trying to make them illegal to use if you own an older one that does pick up these frequencies. Also, radar detectors are basically radio wave receivers and were originally made and sold on the premise that anyone can legally receive a radio wave that is travelling through space. These too have become illegal in many states.

          As an Amateur Radio operator I strongly disagree with these infringements on our rights (although I understand that the laws are attempting to protect the privacy and civil rights of other citizens) but in some cases simple reception of radio waves has been made illegal. I am pretty sure that many lawmakers would consider intentionally seeking to receive radio waves from a station that you know is not offered for public access an infraction of this type of statute.

          I have also read on certain Wardriving websites that there have been cases of people being prosecuted or fined simply for connecting to a wireless network. Apparently in some states or municipalities there are already ordinances against the use of any network that you have not expressly been given permission to use.

          So, Please don’t assume that Wardriving is legal because there are places where it has already been outlawed.

        • #3135459

          Who Owns Radio? & PART15

          by tadcook ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          The big change came with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Before that, since cordless phones were FCC Part 15 devices, the user had no reasonable expectation of privacy. Ignoring the laws of physics, Congress made listening in to cordless phones illegal just like listening to cellphones. Most of us radio hobbyists at the time felt that if a device wasn’t encrypted, it should be legal to listen.

          Something about Part 15 that hasn’t been mentioned in this thread….users of Part 15 devices are by default expected to tolerate any interference, while at the same time they may not interfere with *licensed* services. It turns out that about 40% (I think?) of the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band is shared with both Amateur Radio and the military. I’ve never seen this done, but if I want to operate on 2.4 GHz at whatever power the ham license allows at that frequency, I can do it, and demand that all interfering Part 15 devices in my neighborhood be turned off.

          I borrow unprotected access points all the time. Here in Seattle, if I am driving around with my laptop and need to access the net, the easiest way is to drive up to just about any apartment building, and fire up Netstumbler looking for unprotected access. It is getting more difficult though, as more people have become aware of the risks.

          When I first got a wireless laptop over a year and a half ago, I went up on my 2nd floor balcony and turned on Netstumbler, and here in the University District I could see 28 devices, mostly unprotected, including several wifi cafes.

          At home I use a LinkSys router with SSID turned off, WPA instead of WEP encryption, MAC address filtering so even on the wired side of my LAN, it looks for the address of the machine attempting connection. I also have the router sitting in my basement, since I only use the wireless around the house. This keeps the RF cloud more confined to my property.

          73, K7RA (another ham)

        • #3135455

          Part 15 and antennas

          by tadcook ·

          In reply to Who Owns Radio? & PART15

          I knew I forgot something….

          You know what is illegal with WiFi, and nobody talks about? Attaching external antennas. That is because when a device that intentionally radiates is certified for Part 15, it is certified only for the antenna that is on the device. So when you remove the antennas that came with your router and hook it to that pringles can, that is a violation. However, there is no such FCC rule that I can find that precludes you from connecting to an unprotected router.

        • #3135265

          Nobody owns Radio Waves.

          by absolutely ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          But I do own my WiFi equipment, and deliberate use of my property without my permission is illegal in every case, including and not limited to my WiFi router. No new laws are necessary to establish that surreptitiously using a WiFi signal belonging to another person for their own private use is theft, only analysis of Internet Protocol as used by any router.

          The use of another person’s wireless connection is unlike the use of another Amateur Radio operator’s frequency, in at least one way that understates the importance of stealing a wireless Internet connection. Every Internet “download” (or upload) involves some information transmitted both directions. The Internet does not “broadcast” every frequency like radio, and loading a web page is not a passive act of reception like tuning in a radio receiver to the frequency that is broadcasting what you want to hear. Instead, we send comparatively small packets requesting information from a specific Internet address, which is transmitted specifically to our own Internet address. Before the request, that information is just stored on a server, not being transmitted to [b]anybody[/b]. (To be exact, it is transmitted to every computer that sent a request for it, but [b]only[/b] on request.) In the case of a wireless connection, the requesting Internet Protocol address belongs to the wireless router, which must assign a local address (which won’t be available at the destination site that sends the webpage to the wireless Internet thief) to each of its clients. Borrowing another person’s wireless connection is an act of impersonation that requires use of the WiFi router’s owner’s address to receive your mail or other information you request via the Internet.

          Amateur Radio experiences do not apply to
          wireless Internet (without extensive modification) because of the lack of any information stored or processed on an amateur radio which somebody else might want to use to impersonate or defraud the user, and because reception of a radio wave can be anonymous with respect to the transmitter, but Internet traffic cannot. When somebody uses “your” Amateur Radio signal, you simply claim a new one, and the availability of such signal bandwidth was fundamental to the validity of the premises of Amateur Radio laws when those were developed [b]for that technology[/b]. The difference in technology requires premises that respect the rights of the owners of [b]equipment[/b], not of radio waves.

        • #3126111

          Radio Waves

          by phil.sobol ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          According to FCC rules, anything transmitted into the “airspace” can be received by anyone. However, breaking encryption to listen in constitutes criminal tresspass. This idea can be extended to say that if you want to “receive only” wireless transmissions, you are free to do so. When you transmit a signal to a receiver owned by someone else and do not have their permission to use it, this would probably constitute misdemeanor trespass. Whether or not utilizing the bandwidth they are paying for constitutes theft of services will have to be determined in the courts.

        • #3125904

          Receive vs Send

          by rogerf ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          “Radio Stations and the TV Stations” are receive only and if you transmit on those frequencies you are breaking the law.

          ” and take away all Ham and CB Radios” – if you have your own gear AND licence no issue; but if, e.g., you identify youself as someone else: illegal

          “and Cell Phones” – if you use a ‘hacked’ SIM this is also illegal/theft. If you transmit anything on these frequencies with other than a cell phone – oops!

          Getting back to wireless connections: if I have paid for a facility (anything, not just a wireless connection)and someone uses that without my permission then this is, if not strictly illegal, unethical. Just because someone does not have the knowledge to secure their system does not automatically make it Public .

          Outsiders accessing a system to download/upload a few files may take a person over their limit and incur either charges or throttling. I quite often use up most of my allotment early in the month and cool my heals for important stuff later in the month. So, if you grab my last few Meg then I am restricted to 64K for the rest of the month. Would you be happy with that on your system?

        • #3125410

          Let’s take this to its logical conclusion

          by ed-m ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          Radio stations and TV stations, etc. are *intended* to be free and accessible to the public without subscription. (Here in the UK we all pay a BIG yearly fee (tax) for the privilege of receiving a TV signal). An ISP connection is not, and the provider is entitled to fair compensation for use of their signal by all who use it. It doesn’t really matter whether the signal is intentionally or unintentionally leaked out by those who do pay for it and don’t know how (or can’t be bothered) to protect it. It also doesn’t matter if the provider can never detect the unintended use of the signal.

          The real issue is the right of the provider to be fairly compensated for use of their product. To take this to its logical conclusion (albeit not necessarily a likely secenario in real life), the possibility exists for many users to have their signal leeched by – say – 3 or 4 other households around them. The people who get the signal and pay for it are knowingly or unknowingly “sharing” the signal to all the others. “All the others” are then a lost market to the ISP because they are already getting the product for free. If this setup was widely practised, ISPs would not have a sufficient market base to be profitable and survive. Potrentially, NONE of us would then have access!

          You might ask, how is this different from loaning my lawn mower to 2 or 3 of my neighbours whenever they need it? That’s a lost market share for the lawnmower manufacturer and it’s both ethical and legal. Agreed. The difference is that the lawnmower is shared by agreement and there is likely a sharing among all of the costs as well. Also, this kind of sharing is relatively rare and much more difficult to manage than, say, sharing of a signal.

          When you are leeching an access signal on the sly (and I’m willing to bet that 99% of situations can be described this way), you are not behaving in good faith toward your neighbour, because you are taking advantage of a service he or she is paying for and without their permission or knowledge. You are also depriving the provider of fair compensation for something of value (that they invested heavily to provide) by surreptitiously taking the product just because it was available to take without your being found out. I would be very much surprised if an ISP permitted the practice of sharing their signal freely with others without compensation, because to do so would be cutting their own throats.

          The difference between a lawnmower and a Wi-Fi signal is a fine distinction that is necessary to make. Generally speaking, hard commodities are not reproducible by the owner and can only be used for a single task by one user at a time. Electronic media such as software or a signal, which are easily and indefinitely shareable or reproducible (in the case of software) by their nature, represent a huge shift in the very definition of a commodity.

          The way they are accessed, and the value that is derived from them, usually represent no loss to the original, rightful owner if it is shared with another. The loss is shifted entirely to the producer of the product through deprivation of a potential customer. Something-for-nothing is very, very much easier to come by with electronic media and the temptation is to take advantage of it is much stronger.

          Wide-spread acceptance of this kind of ethic leads to an “everybodies’ doing it so why shouldn’t I” attitude that inexorably leeches the strength out of society’s moral spine.

          Gosh – listen to me rant. (OK – pulpit mode off.)

        • #3082992

          It’s not the radio waves that’s the problem…

          by blueknight ·

          In reply to Who owns Radio Waves?

          It’s not the radio waves that’s the problem, it’s the MIS-USE of those waves. Radio, television, ham, and CB radio transmission all require a license to transmit the signal, therefore, your argument that they all be shut down is off base. All the aforementioned radio transmissions are one-way only — you cannot use that same frequency and transmit back to the sending station. As another respondent pointed out, they are MEANT for you to receive.

          The key phrase in this topic is UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS and every state has laws prohibiting UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS of another’s computer network or system. If you transmitted something over a frequency used by someone’s wireless network but in doing so you did not in any way access their network or computer then you have not committed a crime (unauthorized access). If, on the other hand, you did access someone else’s network or computer without their express authorization, you have committed a crime. Just because you can receive a signal, does NOT entitle you to use it.

          Every state uses very similar, if not identical, language in their statutes to define the crime though the title for the crime vary. For example, Iowa calls it computer theft, but the language is clear that unauthorized access is at the heart of it.

          In the past year, we’ve had 10 cases of unauthorized access prosecuted in our county. My sister (Deputy DA in another county) has prosecuted nearly a dozen cases this year in juvenile court alone.

          What bothers me about this discussion more than anything, is the number of individuals with no ethics or who lack a moral compass. It IS both unethical and illegal whether you think it is or not — which is why many criminals get caught.

        • #3083359

          speaking of moral compass….

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to It’s not the radio waves that’s the problem…

          what’s the name of that U.S. president of yours?

          Sorry cheap shot (well maybe not too sorry, Iraq anyone?)

          You’ve brought up an important point, the lack of ethics and how many people actually belong to the moral minority. But I don’t think we need to put a label on anyone in this forum, from the majority of posts we’re all discussing hypotheticals and why security isn’t as a big a deal as it should be. Human nature dictates that most people will take advantage of one another if given the opportunity and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. That may suck but that’s life, and since that isn’t going to change we should probably focus on security and preventing any type of theft and we should also focus on lobbying those in the positions of power to enact laws that offer harsher penalties against this type of theft so that people think twice before attempting wardriving and any related activities.

          – just my 0.02 cents cdn, feel free to agree or disagree.

        • #3125624


          by gr6120 ·

          In reply to I’m pretty much convinced …


        • #3125609

          I’ve done it…

          by marathoner ·

          In reply to I’m pretty much convinced …

          I’ve done the same.. I was on a trip where the hotel not only charge through the nose for Wireless but also make you install who knows what crap on your computer. So I walked a few feet away from the establishment, found me a nice dry spot in the bushes and sucked a few K from some hapless twit who left their Linksys open, to IM with my daughter and check my mail. If the hapless twit doesn’t care, I surely don’t! I did him no harm, and deprived him of virtually nothing.

          Which brings up another point: incompatible encryptions. I know people who can’t [at least not easily] secure their WLAN’s because the WAP is an apple airporter and some of the clients are windows/linux pc’s and there are incompatibilities or some other such scenario. These security protocols should be as standard as TCP/IP!

        • #3126109

          Still a problem

          by eric.p ·

          In reply to I’m pretty much convinced …

          In the law “intent” is always important. Most people who leave their system open as you describe have no intent to leave it open — they just don’t know how to secure it. Therefore, it would still constitute unauthorized access. Of course, even if they did intend to leave it open, then you would still be faced with the problem of stealing from the internet provider.

          A lot of these replies remind me of a bunch of 11-year old kids I used to teach. They thought they were really clever in always coming up with “Well, what if…”. You could get sucked into an eternal discussion of unimportant stuff that totally misses the point.

      • #3125685

        Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

        by ppg ·

        In reply to well here in Canada

        Section 243 of the Criminal Code of Canada involves the concealing the body of a child.

        I assume you mean section 342.1 which says:
        (1) Every one who, fraudulently and without colour of right,

        (a) obtains, directly or indirectly, any computer service,

        (c) uses or causes to be used, directly or indirectly, a computer system with intent to commit an offence under paragraph (a) or (b) or an offence under section 430 in relation to data or a computer system,

        is guilty of an indictable offence

        Fraud is defined under the criminal code as ” by deceit, falsehood … defrauds the public … of any property, money or valuable security or any service”

        There is certainly no deceit or falsehood in this case and it is not at all clear the owner of the network lost anything of value.

        • #3125681

          If bandwidth was free

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          then you would be correct. But since many consumers pay a premium for better bandwidth (or don’t subscribe to the “lite” services) then there is some value to bandwidth, as opposed to the simple ability to connect.


        • #3125680

          If bandwidth was free

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          then you would be correct. But since many consumers pay a premium for better bandwidth (or don’t subscribe to the “lite” services) then there is some value to bandwidth, as opposed to the simple ability to connect.


      • #2574124


        by drell42 ·

        In reply to well here in Canada

        um, actually section 243 is concealing the body of a child

    • #3121154

      You weren’t pointing at me, were you??

      by stargazerr ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      😀 I dont go off a neighbor full time anyway … That was the first and last time

      I am not really familiar with the UK laws (having lived here only 6 months) .. but I would most certainly like to know (GG ??)

      In India,however, I know that there is no law as of 6 months ago … Dont know, if they have drafted one since …

      The reason for this being that wireless connections and access points are not as popular ..

      I dont suppose that the person with the open access point is really missing anything at the end of the day … but ethically, using something without the knowledge of the owner cannot exactly be termed, borrowing …


      • #3121014

        Ethically speaking

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to You weren’t pointing at me, were you??

        if you use something that takes NOTHING away from someone else, can it really be concidered stealing?

        Like I said, this is only assuming the casual user, not the downloading fools that need their MP3 or porn fix.

        If there isn’t a law saying otherwise and the owner of the access point is out nothing, I personally see no ethical discussion provided it is an open access point.

        • #3120953

          Ah, there’s the rub.

          by sleepin’dawg ·

          In reply to Ethically speaking

          Imagine if you will, you’re in bed and your car is in the driveway with the keys tucked in the visor and it’s 4 AM; you’re sound asleep. Your neighbour’s car won’t start but he knows your habits and he knows you won’t be awake till 6. He jumps in your car, drives to the convenience store and on the way back he puts 10 bucks of gas in your car. The amount of gas he puts in is far in excess of what he has consumed on his little trip. You are actually gaining something by this. He arrives back in your driveway just as you wake up and he tells you what he has done. How do you feel about what he has done??? You have lost [b]NOTHING[/b] so can it be considered stealing???

          The law clearly states that unauthorized use of an automobile without the owner’s consent is car theft but he has returned it with more gas in it than it had previously and you have actually gained a bit by his act. [b]You[/b] were not using the car, he didn’t want to wake you for something so trivial and you were not even aware of your car being missing while you were asleep. So,how do do you feel about this??? You have lost nothing!!! Yet the law states he stole your car regardless of the circumstances and the fact he returned it with more gas in it than previously. So, what are your feelings about this??? Has he really stolen something from you??? You paid for the car and all the upkeep on it; it’s your car and nobody else’s. So, was your car stolen or not??? What do you call unauthorised borrowing??? Imagine if he was someone you didn’t or barely knew. How do you feel??? How will you feel when you find someone using something you paid for without asking your permission. If you hadn’t woken when you did you would probably never have known. Apparently you have lost nothing but how do you feel??? Do you feel violated, a sense of loss, perhaps??? Have something been stolen from you and if so what exactly??? I’m just asking but if it were me, I might have shot the guy and regardless of his explanation, might have called the cops. Note: I said might, because [b]I[/b] don’t know what I’d do in that situation but I do know I will feel [b]something[/b], no matter how intangible, has been stolen from me.
          BTW if you were going to shoot him, make sure you do it while he is sitting behind the wheel in the car.

          [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

        • #3197213

          I woundn’t say gaining in your situation…

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Ah, there’s the rub.

          Someone uses your car without your consent and puts $10 to cover the gas and you feel that you’re ahead. How about wear & tear on the vehicle itself, sure it was a short joy ride but the engine did run so you did exact a small/minute amount of wear on the engine depending on your driving habits. Plus maybe you adjusted the seat the and the tilt steering and changed the radio station – obviously I’m being a bit ridiculous with this scenario but I figure wear & tear on the vehicle’s engine even for the short jaunt you took it on would cost more that $10 (especially considering a taxi would have cost you far more than $10 for the same ride I’m sure). Where’s the wear & tear on the wireless access point? If anything let’s consider the wear & tear on your body being bombarded by those uncontrolled radio waves coming from the access point – ok now I’m really being stupid here but let’s just say that you can’t compare the two, one is an actual physical, tangible resource where as the other is not. I’m not sure the cops or any lawyers are going to be making any money fighting a case where someone is piggybacking on his neighbor’s wireless signals. Theft, probably not, freeloading, yeah I’d call it that.

          Since we’re talking about neighbors here, why not do the neighborly thing, tell him that the signal is of decent strength that you can use it from your place and that he should either enable wep or implement some other security feature or offer to help him do this or tell him you will use his wireless signal whenever you see that it’s available.

          Ethics are always different depending on what side of the fence your standing on. I’m not promoting either side, heck I might take advantage of the wireless access if it was available to me and then again maybe I wouldn’t.

          But then again, maybe you should also ask your neighbor before you go into his house and open his fridge and help yourself to a beer and a sandwich, just because you would want his permission before taking something of his for free….. Just a thought.

          …my 0.02 cents cdn

        • #3197113

          No wonder

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to I woundn’t say gaining in your situation…

          that the thought was kind of short. He is paying in Canadian! Talk about theft! 😀

          Ethics are a funny thing, as they are not consistant as we have been finding in the Christmas, religious, and political discussions of late. Some blame culture, some religious upbringing, and others that it is all an accident.

          Too subjective to try to play the “ethics” card, in my 0.02 cent [b]US dollar.

        • #3197202

          While I love a good rub

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Ah, there’s the rub.

          Your car situation isn’t QUITE the same thing as their is much more involved with physically removing something. There is the wear and tear, there is the chance of an accident, they came and took something.

          In the case of WiFi, it is your neighbor that is assulting you with their signals. If they choose to continue to assult me in such a fashion, I will be forced to put up something to absorb the signals so they don’t interfere with the control signals from the aliens.

          In the case of WiFi, they are sending it to you, your not going out and getting it (unless you use the setup I mentioned in the “What is your best and great user” discussion.

          If you leave your bedroom window open while servicing your wife and I choose to not look away from the safety of my telescope inside my own home, who is to blame?

        • #3197196

          Servicing your wife?!

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to While I love a good rub

          Wow, these TR discussions have come a long way!
          Not bad. What kind of service are we talking about since we’re on the topic:
          1. oil change
          2. lube job
          3. working on those uv joints
          4. front end/rear end inspection
          5. changing the tranny fluid
          6. timing adjustment
          7. testing the shocks
          8. tuneup job

          Sorry I couldn’t resist.
          If I had a telescope I might also help myself to those wife servicing signals too! Until my wife smacks me upside the head and closes the window & blinds and lets me know that I’m not supposed to be interested in that kind of stuff anymore since I’m married. OY VAY!!!

        • #3197128

          All in a daze work

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Servicing your wife?!

          As for the specific service, I guess it would depend on the day and HER mood, now wouldn’t it? ;\

          A good’ol fashion rotation is always called for though! B-)

        • #3125691

          seeing the little miss sunbathing in the backyard

          by curtispnkrtn ·

          In reply to Servicing your wife?!

          is one thing, while looking through her window is another. There are already cear enough laws on invasion of privacy, and copyright thieft. And although your not walking into the house to get a look, you may be causing your mark to abuse his or her agreements of copyrights with other ISP’s or software providers with the way you or others might use that systems connection. I vote no.

        • #3125684

          Theft of service

          by swats ·

          In reply to While I love a good rub

          If I move into a home that still has cable service active and connect to and use that service who is losing? The service is there. It’s being sent out by the cable company for it to be used. They don’t mind that I use it, right? Wrong! That is called “theft of service” and is punishable by law. Just because the cable company is in the business of selling that service doesn’t change mean that it’s theft to take from them but ok to take from old Joe who *is* paying for the service. It’s against the law to make long distance telephone calls while bypassing the payment even though all that bandwidth was just sitting there waiting for you… It’s against the law to stow-away on a cargo ship that is transiting (fill in the blank)… The ship would be going anyway, your weight is inconsequential, where’s the loss.

          Another angle is that it’s a subtle form of identity theft since all communications from that IP address is presumed to be initiated by the person paying for the service. Legitimate use or not, isn’t even an issue.

        • #3126063

          Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          by joe_t ·

          In reply to Theft of service

          Call the cable company and ask if they mind. They will tell you that it is theft of service.

          Is it illegal to sneak on to an airplane and take an empty seat that, after all, wasn’t going to be used anyway?

          How about sneaking into an amusement park? Who’s losing, they were open anyway, right?

          Or perhaps a movie theater.. The movie is going to be shown if you used that empty seat or not, right?

          Is it OK if I go into your house and sit on your couch while you watch TV? I mean, come on, that seat WAS empty.

          Better yet, let me rifle through your closets.. That outfit isn’t being used – I’ll help myself!

          It’s the same thing, and that’s the end of the arguement. It’s not yours to decide what to do with.

        • #3125520

          They came and took something

          by sven thirion ·

          In reply to While I love a good rub

          Why do you consider ‘lending’ a car different from what you did? You took bandwidth, you might have had viruses, Trojans, spy-ware on your computer that might have transferred and damaged their network. You even ‘tickered’ with their settings! Yes, you didn’t have any bad intentions, but so didn’t the one that takes the car for a spin.

        • #3095627

          you DO realize THAT is illegal – right

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to While I love a good rub

          Please, please tell me we don’t have to prove spying into another’s home IS illegal. Ever heard of Peeping Tom laws ? As long as reasonable caution is taken to not be seen (eg. standing directly in front of the window)you are not allowed to take extrodinary measures – telescopes, etc – to see into another’s house.

          By the way – by placing a receiving device in a position that you can use your neighbor’s signal, and connecting it to a network or PC you ARE ‘going out to get it’. I don’t know of any computers that pick up WiFi unless they have a receiver and TCP/IP software turned on.

          Actively or passively, you must do something unrelated to ‘normal’ computing in order to not only receive the signal but use it to your specific advantage. Web pages will not mysteriously appear on your screen unless you go get it (of course there is always spyware but thats another discussion).

        • #3096507

          This is getting bizzarre…

          by oregonnative ·

          In reply to you DO realize THAT is illegal – right

          I really cannot believe the sustained insane discussion coming off of the fingers of all these IT guys.

          IT executives have a reputation similar to religious fundamentalists. They believe what they believe (for whatever reason) and will go to any extreme to defend it. Peeping Tom laws apply to a person who jumps an open Internet connection??? I say that’s getting bizarre.

          The point that it is inappropriate to snag an unguarded wireless port can easily be made in a rational manner without giving up one’s dignity. I honestly wonder what those suicide bombers in the Middle East do for a living. Some of their extremism looks awfully familiar to what I am reading in this discussion.

        • #3096484


          by unclerob ·

          In reply to This is getting bizzarre…

          – if the packet of data travelling across that unsecured wireless pipe is actually naked (not wearing a shirt or pants or underwear), and I see it then I guess I’m a peeping tom (or rob to be accurate)

          I agree, this conversation had some decent posts at the beginning but talk of peeping tom laws really indicate to me that we should let this one rest and agree to disagree.

          People on both sides of the fence on this one aren’t going to shake hands & agree on anything anytime soon.

          The few points of merit that I’ve gleaned from this entire discussion are:
          – Wardriving Part 1: The act of Wardriving, driving around looking for wireless hotspots is currently legal. You can drive around looking for wireless hotspots, that is totally legal – all this initial act really does is look for (not connect & use) available wireless networks both secured & unsecured.
          – Wardriving Part 2: When you stop and start to connect to unsecured wireless networks (or secured depending on how saavy you are) to access the internet, email, or this person personal network, that is illegal and constitutes some breach of the law. The penalties for performing this illegal feat are hard to ascertain and vary depending on your area.
          – You can technically wardrive (or war-sit as it were) by sitting inside your home and view the wireless networks (both secured & unsecured) that are close enough in proximity in your surrounding neighborhood that your wireless nic can pick up on the signals and let you know that they’re available.
          – Hooking a ride on these wireless signals from inside your own home is technically illegal too although I can understand the arguments people put forth about using wireless signals that are being broadcast into their own personal space.
          – Stealing or “borrowing” someone’s internet connection via an unsecured wireless connection is not the same as stealing or borrowing a car, taking a dip in the neighbor’s pool, walking through someone’s unlocked house, finding a wallet on the street, servicing your neighbor’s wife and any other uncanny analogy that I’ve read in this discussion so far. These are wireless signals people, they are not tangible, physical resources. No physical weight, color, odour, taste or touch can be attributed to them. They are intangible, you may have some passing through your ears at this moment and not know it. Is it cool to connect to the internet on someone else’s wireless connection, NO definitely not and I don’t need a long winded (speaking of which this post is getting long) discussion on morality & ethics and erosion of moral fiber in American youth to tell me that either (thanks Mr. Santulli, great posts by the way, something about twisted logic used by terrorists). The act of using someone else’s internet access by way of wireless connection is not legal and is not to be condoned but also isn’t technically killing anyone either.
          – User WOJNAR seems to be going on post happy ride and transmitting his opinions frequently on every other user’s posts. Although this is legal, it’s beginning to be bothersome (just kidding, well maybe not). His last post about having to turn on your tcpip software makes me question his knowledge on this subject altogether but I’ll reserve my opinion because I can be crusty too now that I’m getting older. And for the record, you can technically tell Windows XP to connect automatically to any unsecured wireless networks that are close enough for your wireless nic to make use of. It’s very convenient and allows a person to use his pc instead of futzing around with config settings everytime you want surf the net and read your mail.
          – I have yet to see a wireless router that the average user (average tech skills, we’re not talking Bill Nye the “IT Guy”) can setup wireless security on in less than 5 minutes. This was something that WOJNAR also mentioned in one of his posts. I say average, I didn’t say dumb, or not technically inclined because although the people in this forum have a clue as to what’s necessary in setting up & enabling security on their wireless routers and pc’s in general, the “AVERAGE” user does not, hence the problems with spyware, virus’s (or virii) that affect the majority of computers.

          – geez, wasn’t this post about a peeping tom and someone being naked or something?!
          … that’s probably the only reason I took a “peep” at it in the first place, when you get old your mind tends to get fixated on weird stuff like that.

          So in conclusion, be cool, stay in school, don’t steal or do drug or perform any other crimes for that matter, be responsible to yourself & your community and set an example for other to observe & follow. More people start doing this, others will learn & do the same and heck, we might even get civilized enough so that we don’t have to worry about “peeping tom” laws.

          … just my 0.02 cents cdn 😉

        • #3096390

          for those who didn’t read the whole thread…

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to This is getting bizzarre…

          No, OregonNative, we are not talking about peeping tom/Rob laws as applicable. Just my poke at Uncle Rob’s homorous comment from earlier in the thread (follow the dotted lines !). My tongue firmly in cheek – but not obvious enough – Sorry.

          I think we can all appreciate Uncle Rob’s summary. Thanks Uncle Rob (but please don’t look in my window …).

        • #3127320

          speaking of ethics

          by deborah.kellock ·

          In reply to Ah, there’s the rub.

          Speaking of ethics (or is that morals?), you would shoot someone for stealing your car? shoot and perhaps kill them? for stealing your car. Only in the USA…

        • #3126162

          car thieves

          by warwizard ·

          In reply to speaking of ethics

          Well from the frontier justice of hanging horse thieves, shooting a car thief is in our culture. I suppose there are other places where deadly force can be used to prevent property crimes, and cleaning your shotgun on your front steps is an accepted method of deterring would be thieves.
          Now on the discussion at hand, I personally will not use a wireless connection unless specific permission is given. The person that sets up the open access can be held responsable for misuse of the connection, (spamming emails from a wardriver perhaps) possiably resulting in the ISP terminating service. Granted that misuse was from a person with evil greed in their heart, but that is what will drive the legslation, that makes it illegal, so that law enforcement agencys can put a stop to it.
          I endorce the policy of knocking on the neighbor’s door and informing them that their wireless network is not secure, however I would not tell them to “secure it or I will use it” I might tell them that their signal is strong enough that my portable’s wireless card perfers their wireless router over mine. (I use a wired network)Then offer to send them links on to how to secure their wireless network.


        • #3121368

          Could not have said it better Dawg

          by eteller ·

          In reply to Ah, there’s the rub.

          … if nothing else, this is “Theft of service or Denial of service.” Surely, a gray issue, nobody is hurt or out anything, it’s still wrong.

        • #3121363


          by jeasterlingtech9 ·

          In reply to Ah, there’s the rub.

          if i leave my keys in the car unlocked and let my neighbour know about it about the only thing i would do is eather thank him for the gas or tell him not to do it again and lock the car
          most users don’t know about locking down wifi or don’t know the consquences of not locking their wifi
          i’ve checked my email on an open wifi (jump in download the mail or grab a webpage and get out) but i would not poke around in a network without permission
          in the USA there is a presumed permission in any thing that is not obviously harmful and not against the law (breaking a lock to get something BAD, selling something overpriced {gougeing on gas ect} not nearly so bad)

        • #3125750

          Not the same thing

          by csr-tech ·

          In reply to Ah, there’s the rub.

          Your example is not the same as an unsecured access point. The owner of the car took precautions to prevent theft of his vehicle by removing the keys from the ignition and “hiding” them above the visor. I would equate this to leaving your access point open, but disabling broadcast of the SSID. But if you let your neighbor know what the SSID is, it’s the same as letting your neighbor know where you hide the keys to your car.
          If you really want to prevent the unauthorized use of your vehicle (access point), then you take robust precautions to prevent the unauthorized use.

          In some European cities, they provide public bicycles for anybody to use. You walk outside, find one of these bicycles parked, get on it and ride it to your destination, and park it for the next person to use. They are usually all painted a distinguishing color (like school bus yellow), and are designated for public use. Now if you go out and buy a bicycle that is the same color, and leave it outside unlocked in one of these cities, and someone else mistakes your private bicycle as one of the public bicycles because it looks just like them and it is unsecure, and takes it for a ride: Has he stolen it? Maybe from the owners viewpoint, but not from the user’s viewpoint. The user thought it was just another publicly available item to use.

          So to the owners of all those publicly available, unsecured, SSID broadcasting access points; I have one question and one statement:
          How am I supposed to be able to distinguish your publily available access point from the other publily available access points that are put up intentionally for public use (in coffee shops, hotels, truck stops, rest areas, etc. – the list just keeps growing)?
          If you are upset about people using the bandwidth on your publicly available access point that you failed to secure, my response is “The stupid shall be punished.”

        • #3125712

          Everyone assumes open access is only by the stupid

          by supahtech ·

          In reply to Not the same thing

          I know many IT Pros that lock the heck down on their system, and network, but not their wi-fi internet connection. I know of at least 3 people (and no, I’m not one) that leave their access points open. These are mostly grad students that work for the university, but it?s their choice to leave open access to their fellow neighbors/students/passers by so that everyone can have access to the internet-easily. The information super highway is not owned, and should not be only for those that can afford it. Sure there are libraries, but c’mon if your neighbor has an open connection, why go through the cold, especially if the neighbor doesn’t mind. SO should we assume any open access point is public? I really don’t see the harm, if I go wireless, I’ll probably leave it open as well-unless I find my bandwidth affected. These people never seemed to have an issue though. I’ll pay for my high speed connection because I want it, since its going to be paid for regardless who cares who gets the scraps. What harm is it to share what is yours with your neighbors assuming no malicious intent?

        • #3125657

          Hear hear

          by ambalish ·

          In reply to Everyone assumes open access is only by the stupid

          I have wireless at my house and I do keep it open for anyone to use. If my neighbors want to use my connection, so be it. Like you said…I pay for my DSL because I want it. It’s not like hooking into your neighbor’s cable TV which IS illegal.

        • #3125651

          What’s the problem? *R*I*S*K*

          by tomhenderson ·

          In reply to Everyone assumes open access is only by the stupid

          If there is some kind of agreement between you and your neighbors, then by all means, feel free to share your connection. However, if you’re going to have a completely open access point (no WEP/WPA, don’t secure by MAC), then expect the absolute worst to come across your network.

          Think of something that you find completely offensive and is illegal, such as child pornography. If someone is tapping into your network to upload or download it, you could suddenly find yourself involved in an investigation, possibly charged as an accomplice. And as far as most people would be concerned, you *would* be an accomplice. You *could* have prevented it, by implementing even moderate security, but didn’t.

        • #3125618


          by dasdbobb ·

          In reply to What’s the problem? *R*I*S*K*

          Most ISP’s (i use sbc) point out in the terms of use that you Can not let any one use, access, or otherwise manipulate your internet connection except the subscriber and the sub-account holsers(users) created by you. they reserve the right to discontinue your service, restrict you, or block you al together. Also(and this happened to a neighbor) you CAN be prosacuted,and charged with a crime even if you don’t know anything about it. My neighbor is still fighting the system about the charges, and has been convicted as an acomplace, cannot have a computer connected to the internet, or have a cell phone that will do the same. he is also required th register as a sex offender. all because some low life downloaded chils porno usong his wi-fi connection. Sheesh, where will it all end?

        • #3125576

          The Chicken or the Egg…How about a solution?

          by gunthr ·

          In reply to Everyone assumes open access is only by the stupid

          Arguing the point of ethics is a waste of our time. It is not currently illegal therefore opinions will vary on whether or not it is morally correct. There is no way to know that an AP is free/open or private/personal unless some form of security is in place or there is some sort of banner displayed. Renaming the ESSID would never be cut and dry enough for any court, legal or moral.

          Why not set the standard for the AP manufacturers. Make it mandatory for them to have some form of security on by default or have the user answer a question during setup on whether or not it is a private AP and display some sort of banner when a device connects. That would take the guess work out of it and no one could question whether or not they are welcome on that network. I think looking for a solution instead of arguing a moot point is much better use of our time.

        • #3126067

          The information super highway is not … only for those who can afford it

          by rajanke ·

          In reply to Everyone assumes open access is only by the stupid

          You cited . . . “3 people who CHOSE to leave their access points open” . . . and would intentionally use a neighbor’s bandwidth to avoid inconvenient trips to the library “if the neighbor doesn’t MIND” . . . finally “What harm is it to SHARE what is YOURS with your neighbors ASSUMING no malicious intent?”

          You’ve argued your point using THEIR CHOICE and saying THEY DON’T MIND – – – but then how do you know – – – if you are doing so WITHOUT their knowledge?

          Ethically, regardless of any applicable laws, without your neighbor’s explicit INTENT or PERMISSION, I don’t see any difference between accessing

          – – – your neighbor’s wireless signal for your personal Internet connection

          – – – your neighbor’s unguarded outdoor phone jack to make phone calls

          Either way THEY have paid for the service. Either way YOU COULD ASK!

        • #3125698

          But is using a WI-FI signal different?

          by dave.schutz ·

          In reply to Ah, there’s the rub.

          If someone uses my car/bike without my permission they deprive me of its use for that time period; even if I did not intend to use it. That’s why it is stealing. If someone uses my WI-FI signal (this won’t happen as my is secure) what are they depriving me of?
          I don’t know if it is right or wrong, I just don’t see a crime.

        • #3125955


          by killerb ·

          In reply to Ah, there’s the rub.

          What about the blood on the seats???

        • #3120947

          Well …

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to Ethically speaking

          When we say ethically speaking … it really means something which cannot be put under positive or negative, however, considering our social habits, we know what we are doing is “Not Right”

          It may not exactly be labeled stealing … We culd call it .. “Freeloading” 🙂


        • #3197117


          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Well …

          could be called “drafting” as well, but it isn’t.

          Freeloading. Gee, it is almost what is expected of people today, isn’t it?

          If the government can do something as immoral as “redistribution of wealth”, why can’t I do “redistribution of bandwidth”? I am being discriminated against because I am bandwidth challenged at the time!

        • #3127171

          That ….

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to tailgating

          I cannot argue with … but that wont stop me from trying 😀

          I re-phrase .. free loading is something that is offered for free … Personal open access points apparantely aren’t


        • #3125682

          Do two wrongs make a right?

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to tailgating

          Lets say JD that you had spent some money and some effort to create a reasonably secure wireless network in your house. You pay money to the internet service provider with the expectation that you get reasonable bandwidth to enable you to download files, play games etc.

          Now lets say that your computer genius neighbour has some software that allowed him to quickly gain access to your net, and that neighbour uses file sharing programs, downloads movies and music files, and basically eats up you bandwidth to the point where you aren’t much faster than dial-up.

          Would you be okay with that? After all you are broadcasting your signal into his space?

          I personally think this “their responsibility to secure it” line is a bunch of crap designed to justify theft or freeloading or whatever you want to call it. It may not be illegal, but if you wouldn’t like it done to you, then its taking advantage of someone and is not ethical. Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. If it was ethical, you wouldn’t be afraid to walk up to your neighbour’s front door and tell them what you were doing.


        • #3126062

          you answered the question

          by jeasterlingtech9 ·

          In reply to Do two wrongs make a right?

          you said the network was secured to break in to that is wrong in any outlook, but that was not the question, the question was unsecured wifi, not secured wifi, it is your responsibility to secure your stuff. if your house or car is broken into the first question the police ask is “did you lock the door” and the insurence, the same question.
          the shame is on the manufactures who built the equipment for not makeing it easy and stright foward to set up the privicy also note laws are only followed by good guys … bad guys break laws so makeing a law only stops what? the bad guys? no.

        • #3125439

          Wrong attitude

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to you answered the question

          Sure the police and insurance company will ask, but that doesn’t mean thta insurance wont pay or the police won’t investigate.

          You can blame the manufacturers if you want – I think making security easy to set up would be a selling feature. But I believe in personal responsibility – the person sponging wifi off their neighbour is the one responsible.


        • #3135284

          you answered the question part II

          by jeasterlingtech9 ·

          In reply to you answered the question

          1. if you don’t want to share your wifi AP don’t it is simple to lock it down (though bad guys can still break in with time and work)
          2. if you have a knowledge deficit you can find a simple set of instructions to tell you how to lock it down
          3. if you don’t care to do this simple thing then it is on YOUR head
          4. if you don’t know how to drive a car and you crash into someone it is still YOUR fault

          take some personal responsibility and be graceful to others a few megs of downloads isn’t going to kill anyone even if you used ALL of the bandwidth what is that worth… less then 2 dollars a day barely the level of petty theft for crips sake you are going to spend thousands to try and if convicted it will cost dozens of times the value of the product per day of incarceration give me a freekin break

        • #3127430

          bandwidth isn’t ‘nothing’

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Ethically speaking

          I don’t think wireless is as fast as broadband, and dialup is pretty cruddy slow. Any use of the bandwidth is taking away from someone elses speed (presuming they’re even using it at the time).

          I’d love to say ‘if you don’t secure your wireless then you have no protection from the law’ but then criminals in companies would live wireless points open on purpose like thieves leave doors or windows unlocked at companies to come back later and steal.

        • #3125749

          Bandwidth Speeds

          by csr-tech ·

          In reply to bandwidth isn’t ‘nothing’

          So you don’t think an 11 or 54 Mbs wireless connection is as fast as a broadband (384 Kbs to 5 Gbs) connection? You’re right, the wireless connection is many times faster!

        • #3125723


          by jrtangen ·

          In reply to Ethically speaking


          “if you use something that takes NOTHING away from someone else”

          Are you serious? How can you take something form somenone that is nothing? If you use somones bandwidth without permission you are stealing. It is not a question of if the network owner is using that bandwidth or not. From an ethical prespective this discussion is ridiculous. If leave the key for my house in the door, does that give you the right to enter and help yourself from my fridge?
          Just because legslation is lagging in this matter I think we all should use common sense. Would you like someone else to use your network without that you knowing about it?

        • #3125638


          by landerson ·

          In reply to Ethics

          If there is some question as to whether or not something is ethical- I believe- is a sure sign that it is not. I wonder, have you had this conversation with your boss? How did they react? I would thing they might begin to wonder what other things that you think are A-OK to do and/or help yourself to. Do you also think it is okay to work 7 hours even though you are paid for 8? Is it okay to make all of your long distance calls from work so you dont have to pay for them? Is it okay to take a ream of paper from work every month- as they wont really miss it because they have so many? Is it okay to “borrow” code or verbiage from documents on the web- because the internet is so big no one will know that you didnt write it yourself- and hey they posted it on the web so they must have wanted it to be reused by someone?

          Just some thoughts?

        • #3125659

          If it smells like … it’s …

          by antispock ·

          In reply to Ethically speaking

          Your post talked ethics not laws. Ever post were someone says it’s unethical you merely justify your own wants. I think you are denying your own concious.

          It sounds to me like inadvertant (you connect to a private connection in a place you would expect public Wi-Fi), would be ethically fine.

          However knowledgeable connection would be wrong.
          The owner has not said you can use the wi-fi and if the user is downloading porn or mp3 your use of their bandwidth will slow them down.

          It’s like users at a business using streaming media so they can listen to their favorite radio station. It’s only a small amount of bandwidth per user but once multiple users gobble the network serious work suffers.

      • #3197094

        Question is…

        by noyoki ·

        In reply to You weren’t pointing at me, were you??

        Did they leave it open on purpose? I know of some people that leave their WiFi open with the intent of sharing. How do you know that this person didn’t have the same idea and was actually glad to help? I’m fairly certain, that if you knocked on their door and said, “Hey, I can connect to your wireless router from next door, would you mind if I checked my messages for the next couple of days? I’m not from around here.”, that they would say “Oh sure, go right ahead.”

        • #3127175

          In that case ..

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to Question is…

          Why not?? Go ahead….but isnt it courtesy and ethics to ask first??


    • #3121134

      I’m of two minds on this.

      by sleepin’dawg ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Several months ago I read an article on Wi-Fi security that had a side-bar on wardriving. Being somewhat insatiable in curiosity and having a brand new laptop c/w 802.11a/g capability I decided to test out the claims of the article. I wasn’t so much surprised at how easy it was but shocked at the number and types of open access points I found within a few blocks of my home. Absolutely incredible. Included in the list were several banks, car dealers, fast food outlets, home renovation companies, big-box stores, restaurants and bars, and scads of private users, all of whom I assumed were too stupid, too dumb, too careless or too computer illiterate to have set or reset password protection on their equipment. Of course I do not include the users who are deliberately setup as “public access” points such as McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, Best Western Hotels, Ramada, Holiday Inn, etc., etc. I was shocked somewhat to find the accounting department of a large retailer wide open not only to Wi-Fi access but to their whole system. Back in 1977-1981 when Apples and IBM-XT computers were just becoming generally available, and security concerns were not what they are today, those of us who were a bit more technically inclined were going on line with 300-1200 baud modems and it was great fun to hook up with BBSs and then taking that extra step to see how easy it would be to gain access to other things. Does anyone still remember accoustic connection devices???? Does anyone still use them??? :^O This particular retailer was notorious for being so readily “easy to crack”. Its my guess they still are after 28 years. But that is getting away from the point. Back in those days a lot of access points required use of long distance connections and if one did not wish to incur huge long distance charges on their phone bills, one learned to hack the phone companies. There was a hot market in “blue” or “black” boxes just as there is a hot market today for black market cable and satellite descramblers. Software piracy was rampant; still is for that matter.

      True blue IBM machines came with BASICA on a set of 4 proms and the bios on another prom. Clones didn’t come with BASICA and their bios would be supplied by some company like Phoenix Technologies. Clones were only 98-99% compatable with the IBM but those of us who worked in high tech companies were not hindered by this. IBM, for some reason did not solder its proms or CPUs to the mother board so, if one had access to a chip burner, it was an easy matter to purchase some e-proms, hoik the bios and BASICA chips from an employers real IBM machine and burn yourself a set of chips. IBM soon brought out the AT, the originals running at 6Hz and later that went up to 8Hz. These machines were being sold for approximately $3000-$3500 at the time and left us clone drivers with our 8086/8088s in the dust, so to speak. We got around that by pulling our 808X chips and replacing them with NEC V20s or NEC V30s running at 10-12Hz. It was a similar mentality to the souping up of an ordinary car to outperform something more expensive and jazzier. In 1981 my personal machine, a clone with a 20 megabyte hard drive and 100% compatability, could boot faster than an AT and proudly proclaim itself to be a “true blue” IBM machine.

      People would group together, everyone chipping in, to buy expensive programs of which every contributor would get a copy. Some companies like Autodesk would try to protect themselves by including hardware locks with their software but we could circumvent that by cracking the hardware codes with software. The hardware locks were only a temporary, minor, inconvenience. Very few people saw anything wrong with this at the time. The view was this was knowledge and knowledge was/is meant to be shared. BTW During those times a lot of companies saw their photocopy costs reach stratospheric heights what with all the photocopying of manuals and IBs. LOL :^O We see something like this today with the P2P music sharing crowd. It’s not ethical maybe but it’s only illegal if you get caught. A lot of this is still going on but you seldom hear of it because the practitioners are good enough to have never been caught; either that or been damn lucky.

      The same mentality is still operative today, only now it’s around Wi-Fi. Back in my army days I remember a soldier being caught pilferring another soldiers locker which had been inadvertently improperly locked. What still registers with me to this day is, that while the thief got a BCD, the soldier whose locker had been rifled was fined on the grounds that he was culpable in having created the conditions by which his locker could be broken into. Maybe users who leave themselves open and do not take precautions should also be considered culpable. I think the same should apply to anyone who has not taken the proper precautions in protecting themselves or their equipment. There will always be curious people out there who are going to push the envelope whether to test their capabilities or out of a streak of larceny. It’s sort of like the old joke where a man asks a woman if she would sleep with him for $10,000. She agrees but then he asks her if she would sleep with him for $10. She is astounded and asks him, “What kind of woman do you think I am???” He replies, “We’ve already established that. Now we are haggling over the price.” 😉

      While we are on the subject of Wi-Fi anyone who has something like a Palm Pilot and uses its Blue Tooth connection to access the web through their cell or to connect a keyboard, should take a walk through an air terminal or any other establishment with lots of terminals within line of sight. You might find your results informative and interesting to say the least. Now think of working in an office where your co-workers may be using Blue Tooth. A bit of paranoia in those circumstances might not be totally out of place under those conditions.

      Is wardriving legal or illegal. the answer for now appears to be maybe yes, maybe no but think about this. If the authorities set out to catch someone and make an example of them; they will catch someone. If you are one of the unfortunate ones to get caught; you will be spending large sums in legal fees and time in defending yourself and there will be no defense against the notoriety you will have gained even though you might be found innocent. You have to ask yourself, “Is it worth the risk???”

      For whatever it’s worth; I still get a kick out of taking one or two remotes with me when I’m out walking my dog. When I walk by a house where I can see a TV through the window, I hit the remotes. A lot of times nothing happens but a lot of times you get to see someone jumping to their feet, pointing thier remotes at the TV, pushing buttons and then going over and hammering away on the top of their TV. Too funny for words!!! :^O I guess I’m still a big kid at heart. Remember there are a lot of kids out there. You might want to think about who programs the VCR or TiVo in your house.

      Sorry about the diatribe; put it down to Sunday morning boredom while waiting for Sunday kick off time. Hey jd, think the Lions have a chance this weekend playing at Green Bay??? LOL ROTFLMAO

      [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

      • #3121099

        I remember the day

        by mjd420nova ·

        In reply to I’m of two minds on this.

        In the beginning—- Yup, Acoustic couplers, 300 baud it was called and BBS was wide open to anyone with right phone number. Many large
        companies only had dumb terminals (Televideo-
        Hazeltine ETC) that could hook up to mainframes
        and no one thought about if some hacker got into
        their systems. Then the REAL computers hit the
        market, IBM PC and APPLE IIE and modem speeds
        got faster along with faster processors, and the
        rest is history as they say. Wireless is very
        prolific, almost every home has one and none
        are protected. Hospitals, schools, doughnut
        shops, and motels can be easily accessed and
        hassle free. But beware, I will cut you off
        if I catch you on my wireless router, if you persist, look out, I’ll lock you up and leave
        you hanging. Try bending or laying flat the
        antennas, this limits range and quality unless
        you are really close(ten feet).

      • #3197199

        Packers Defeat Lions In Overtime, 16-13

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to I’m of two minds on this.

        Hindsight being 20-20

        However, having grown up in Green Bay, I can tell you that foorball at Lambeau in December is always a interesting exercise.

    • #3120980

      UK legal view

      by gadgetgirl ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      I’ve done a bit of digging by the back door, and where the US may prosecute offenders under the Anti Hacking Laws which are now in place, it would appear that the UK is still basing any WiFi trials on the Communications Act of 2003.

      (and they STILL haven’t put plans in place for an Act which will cover hacking in its’ own right!)

      Our first legal case appears to have been in July 2005, and was against a persistent offender. Basic overview is here…

      Basically, he got let off….a conditional discharge means that he doesn’t serve time/community sentence if he doesn’t commit any further crime within the 12 month period. Still, his WiFi access hasn’t come cheap, they did fine him ?500 (~$880)

      I’ve been told there is to be an amendement to the Comms Act in the near future, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

      Incidentally, jd, it was a guy from Michigan who was done under the Anti Hacking Laws (it WAS you, wasn’t it!!!)

      No, couldn’t have been, that guy got nine years in the clink!!


      • #3125636

        Update – A Conviction in the UK?

        by sales ·

        In reply to UK legal view

        I am basing this completely on my memory (which fails me often), but it is my understanding that there was a successful conviction in the UK within the last two months, though I can’t tell you under what setion of what act he was convicted. It seems a complaint was made to the police about someone parked outside a house on more than one occasion.

        Even without a law against it, it seems like a pretty sneaky way of going about your business.

      • #3125892

        Everything is legal

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to UK legal view

        until you get caught, my dear. Don’t you know that by now? ;\

        As for the anti-hacking, my understanding wasn’t he doing illegal activity with the wifi? Not the same thing we are talking about if it is what I am thinking of.

        And yes, I THINK once in a while! :p

        Rejoice! I can finally get in and out of TR! That beotching I did must have paid off!

    • #3120927

      If you can

      by tonythetiger ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      find my wireless network in the middle of BFE, you are welcome to access it. It’s only good for half a block or so though 🙂

      • #3125442

        You’d have to park in my yard

        by brokeneagle ·

        In reply to If you can

        You’d have to park in my yard or my neighbor’s yard to get my signal (the advantage of not having a system with good range) and spoof a MAC address and guess a password. Odds are you’d connect to one of my neighbors first. I know this because one day when our cable modem was down and waitng to be replaced, I noticed that my wife’s computer was connected to the Internet through a neighbor’s wireless connection. The PE teacher thought it was funny that she got her E-Mail while the geek didn’t.

        • #3125318

          I live across the street from a park

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to You’d have to park in my yard

          and if you had a wireless PDA, you could sit on the bench and check your email on mine. The speed drops off pretty fast though. You can get 11 or 5 mb/s (It’s an old ‘B’ router) for the first 50 feet or so (covers the houses on either side), but by 75 your down to 1 mb/s which will go another 100 feet if you’re in the right spot (and in the clear). Te park bench is about 120 feet from the antenna and line-of-sight. Usually 1 mb/s but sometimes 2 🙂

    • #3120908

      It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

      by m_a_r_k ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      The owner of the network has the option to secure it. You’re not trespassing like going into someone’s unlocked house. I’d say it’s only stealing if you hack into a secured network.

      • #3120898

        Right …

        by stargazerr ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        He has the option to secure it, but the person is either very gullible or does not know the rules …

        In such a case, taking advantage of someone’s lack of knowledge isnt good either .. If the person chooses to keep the network open even after knowing that he has the option to secure it …. well, in that case, he asked for it 😀


        • #3120877

          Trouble is

          by m_a_r_k ·

          In reply to Right …

          that most people are very tech unsasvvy and don’t know how to secure their wireless network and don’t even know anything about the security risks. Somewhere here on TR there was a recent article discussion about how so many home users have security holes in their computers. I wonder where that went to. I’d like to read it. Maybe a wardriver stole it.

        • #3120867

          Yes …

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to Trouble is

          but that doesnt justify us (the more tech savvy people) taking advantage of it …


        • #3197243


          by m_a_r_k ·

          In reply to Yes …

          I found the link to the article I was talking about:

        • #3197141

          And here I thought

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to baaahh!!!

          the Texan had found himself a sheep! :O

        • #3197137

          I’m not that desperate

          by m_a_r_k ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          yet ?:|

          But didn’t we have this discussion before where I pointed out to the jokesters like you that a sheep is a lamb, and a lamb is a girl? 😀

        • #3197123

          A sheep??? All this time I thought Texans were into longhorn cows.

          by sleepin’dawg ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          Note: I said cows. Nothing queer about ol’ M_a_r_k now, is there???


        • #3197107

          Longhorn cows, huh?

          by m_a_r_k ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          Cows [i]are[/i] female, you know… And, mind you, it takes quite a he-man to wrestle down a 9000-lb animal with horns as pointy as needles that’ll gore your innards if you get within 5 feet of the things.

        • #3197100

          So was the LAMB

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          just foreplay for your wrestling a steer to the ground? Oh my! :O

        • #3197096

          Somehow I visualized, with a shudder, that you would be 6-8 feet or so…..

          by sleepin’dawg ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          behind those horns. ROTFLMAO :^O

          [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

        • #3127375

          Ride ’em cowboy

          by m_a_r_k ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          Gives a whole new meaning to the term “take the bull by the horns”.

        • #3121305

          Yeah but we weren’t talking about the bulls, which would be a bit queer….

          by sleepin’dawg ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          and we weren’t implying anything like that. We said cows. See we never implied there was anything queer about good ol’ M_a_r_k. :^O

          [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

        • #3121192

          I wonder about you, dawg

          by m_a_r_k ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          But are you implying something about yourself? You seem to enjoy keeping this dreadfully boring thread about sodomizing animals going. And you sure do know a lot about this hole subject. (Er…I meant whole subject. I wasn’t teasing you. I really wasn’t! What you do on your ranch “behind” closed gates is your business. ;)) Why’s that? Hmmm… c’mon…fess up. Tell the truth. Sleeping dogs don’t lie. 😀 By the way, what DO you do with sleeping dogs?? hahaha

        • #3125734

          what is rightfully yours

          by alan.m9 ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          If you left your keys in your car, can I claim it as my own for as long as I like? Why take my WiFi just because I left the keys out?
          Taking something that is not yours is theft. It doesn?t matter if the owner made it easy – it’s still theft.
          I don?t’ care what the laws allow – society works if we live according to a moral code – not “take what you can”. This isn’t about avoiding taxes; it’s about getting your neighbour to pay for something because you don’t wan to.
          While the follows America’s lead, I ask WHY? Get a conscience.

        • #3126112

          I have a conscience alan.m@…

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to And here I thought

          As this particular thread goes, I would never take your sheep or cows, with or without your permission and do unthinkable things to them. that would be just wrong! Things don’t work like that here in Michigan. I would have to move down to Texas if I wished to take you up on this offer. :O

          And just WHO WERE you replying to anyways?

          And no, if there is not a law forbidding something, it is not illegal. Which gets back to the whole point of this discussion of asking for what people know about new laws and enforcement of that law.

          If you want to throw your OPINION around, that would be in the discussion asking about if it is ETHICAL, not this one that is asking about legal.

          If you WERE intending to discuss the LEGAL aspects of this, I would hope you would be more informed than to try to determine if something is legal simply because you THINK is MIGHT be? Show a case, or a law and be part of this discussion, or go get your own cow and be a part of this thread.

        • #3197084


          by beads ·

          In reply to Yes …

          So your saying that if I were to secure a door with a cheap lock a locksmith of low calibre should feel free to pick the lock to gain entry? Even if the lock is sitting in an open field with access to nothing? Its still ethically questionable even when the law is nebulous.

          – beads

        • #3127170

          What I am saying is …

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to Comparison

          That it is not correct to use something that belongs to someone else, without their knowledge ..

          It isnt about how much knowledge a person has. It is about ethics. Even if a person is less knowledgeable, I expect him to have enough common sense not to hack a less secure network.


        • #3121350

          no but

          by jeasterlingtech9 ·

          In reply to Comparison

          picking the lock = BAD
          if your house is glass you realy can’t scream “peeping tom” now can you? if you don’t want to put on a show don’t … if you don’t want to share wifi connection, don’t

          to anyone borrowing a wifi connection use courtisy no muddy footprints no stealing no embarising emails , downloads, or IM

      • #3120890


        by joe_t ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        What if someone got on your LAN via an improperly configured firewall? Would that be a problem for you?

        And hey, what about spam? You left port 25 open, after all.

        And viruses? You allow people to receive email and surf the web, right?

        If you hold that accessing a WiFi network that is not secured is legal, you are standing on the top of a slippery slope, indeed…

        • #3120875

          Improerly configured firewall

          by m_a_r_k ·

          In reply to Oh?

          that would stealing or hacking.

          What about spam? It’s entirely legal. Just like telephone solicitors if you’re not a do-not-call list or door-to-door salesman.

          I think the discussion focused on HOME networks, not corporate. So your question about allowing people to receive email or surf the web is irrelevant.

          I’ll take my chances on your siippery slope. I stated my opinion on the legality of it. You have your opinion. That’s fine. Show me a law against it and I will say it is illegal. No law = not illegal.

        • #3197098

          How many negatives

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Improerly configured firewall

          can you throw in one sentence?

          No law = LEGAL.

          Next you will start saying that is no not none of noneones business what is not done with the not illegal access? B-)

      • #3197183

        Can I play in your backyard?

        by methos7997 ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        So would you mind if I walk around your backyard when your not around. I won’t steal anything, just play in your pool, swingset or whatever.
        Try to portscan any gov’t site for a while and see what happens?

        • #3197783

          This is the closest analogy

          by dmambo ·

          In reply to Can I play in your backyard?

          It’s probably not stealing, but it is trespassing. If you find trespassing unethical, then so is wardriving. I would not want strangers in my yard even if they have no malicious intentions, but I do not put up a fence. On the other hand, I do have a fence around my wireless network.

        • #3197745

          Isn’t that the key though?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to This is the closest analogy

          When you don’t want people in your house, you lock the doors. You don’t want them in your car, you lock the doors. You don’t want them in your yard, you put up a fence and maybe a “no trasspassing” sign.

          Why should your wireless network be any different?

        • #3126146

          Original Post

          by ziskey ·

          In reply to Isn’t that the key though?


          Good topic, might go over 1000 posts by the time it’s over.

          In the original post in the “user stories” thread you mentioned you “fixed” the config when you used the connection. Would you care to elaborate? If I were to fix an insecure connection, I would do things like set a wep key, implement wpa, lock down access by macs, change the default password etc… Any of these would have locked out the owner of the wap.

          The other issue I could see is virus propagation. Some people that consider themselves a “techie” are certainly capable of connecting to someone else’s wifi connection, but they’re the same people who download without discretion. If one of these people were to infect an innocent insecure connection, does that change the legality?

        • #3126077

          a moving target

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Original Post

          there are so many “what if’s” people could throw at this.

          The answer is “I don’t know”.

          That is why I started this in the first place. I was hoping for more MEAT in the discussion than someone throwing their own analogies at me to justify if this is legal or not and NONE of them have done a very good job so far (Except for M_A_R_K and Dawg. They have made some real HEADWAY…. :O )

          I had done some searches and had found very little, and had HOPED someone that works in this field would have heard of new legislation or enforcement of existing laws.

          As for being a techie to connect to someones OPEN wifi, I remember a few years back on the news they had a 10 year old kid walking down the street showing the reporter how easy it was to get in. And if MY users can do WiFi, just about anyone can.

          No, I did nothing to lock the owner out of their own box. I think it was dns was set incorrectly? That and a reset later…..

          Glad you like the topic. B-) Trying to keep this open, but find myself getting a little short with people that come in and start the attacks. I byte back! 😀 It seems some people just can’t keep things in perspective, nor at a professional level.

          By the way, do you STILL think I am a zealot? :^O

        • #3126034

          Jury is still out…

          by ziskey ·

          In reply to a moving target

          I haven’t seen the zealot for a while… maybe in-training?

          I hope you didn’t think I was referring to you with the example. I was using the word “techie” as a sarcastic example of people who know just enough to be dangerous.

          Judging by your posts, I can assume you know what you’re doing. I’m guessing your system is probably Linux or at least a protected Windows box. I was pointing to the legal issue. If said “techie” connects and causes virus damage, I believe there would (or should) be legal recourse.

          I can honestly say I did the same thing 8 months ago while visiting Wyoming. At the time I didn’t think a thing about it. I certainly didn’t feel like a criminal, nor did I feel like I just took a joyride in someone’s car.

          Sit back and enjoy the analogies, they’re hilarious.

        • #3125890

          The worst are

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to a moving target

          the “if you take someones car” or “if you take blah blah blah blah”

          It would be more educational if most of the posters here would to that “thinking” thing before they post something and show how clue-depleted they really are.

          “I think this is wrong, so that makes it illegal and unethical?”

          “What a moroon.” by Mr Buggs Bunny.

          Now the ones that reference existing laws and try to apply it to this are few, but there are a few good ones out there.

          Craig had one of the best I have read yet.

        • #3126064

          Keeping people out

          by garnerl ·

          In reply to Isn’t that the key though?

          Yes, I lock the doors when I’m away. However, my negligence in leaving the door unlocked does not constitute an invitation to the public.

        • #3125886

          do you close the door?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Keeping people out

          do you even have a door? these are all things that tell people not to come in.

          enabling wap is the same thing as closing the door. not going to keep most out, but the casual person will know that it is not for general use.

          locks just keep the lazy people out.

        • #3123913


          by ittbowser ·

          In reply to Isn’t that the key though?

          Ok, ethical, unethical, lawful or unlawful, there are going to be people that can argue for all sides.

          All the analogies saying, ?if some one comes into …? not the same that is physical trespass. While using the WiFi would not be physical trespass. There are laws that state trespassing (enter dictionary / court definition for trespassing) is illegal.

          In one of the post above it was outlined how wardriving could be both lawful or unlawful depending on how the lawyers pleaded the case.

          As for the “we should not take advantage of non tech savvy people…”, ignorance is not an excuse! If you have a pool in your back yard, and a 5 year old falls in and drowns because you did not have a fence around it you are to blame. Even if you put up “No Trespassing” signs. “But” is not an excuse. Period. If your speeding down the road because you did not see the speed limit sigh that was smashed down and you get pulled over, you were still speeding. Therefore, if you are going to have a piece of equipment, whether it be a car, WiFi, or a pool, you need to know how to properly use it. Period!

          Does that mean that if you find an open WiFi you should exploit it. NO! now that is malicious and as stated in the above law post that would be illegal.

          jdclyde, I don’t know why, if you have your own network, you would need to wardrive, but as for if it is ethical or unethical, I don’t think you will get a definitive answer. But as to whether it is legal or illegal, that depends on how good your lawyer is!

          Just my $ 0.02

          (but hey what do I know? )


        • #3197734

          It’s not trespassing

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to This is the closest analogy

          Technically we’re not trespassing – No one is in this person’s yard, we’re in our own home. If anything, how about that person trespassing against us, we didn’t ask for a signal to be broadcast into our own homes from this person’s wap. In fact if a law is needed it should be to acquire some sort of license before operating this type of wireless equipment so that all the necessary safe guards are in place which includes enabling wep and any other security safeguard.

          If you want to get technical, I can listen to the radio to my heart’s content, why – because I’m receiving a signal that’s being broadcast strong enough that my radio can receive it. The radio station is licensed to broadcast that signal out to the public where others can receive it. This person probably doesn’t have a license to broadcast his wireless internet signal so technically he should be required to secure his signal so no one else can receive it.

          If he doesn’t secure his wireless access point and the signal is strong enough that I can make use of it than I’m not doing anything wrong and I’m certainly not trespassing if I’m inside my own home.

          I don’t think you’re analogy works, try again with a better example.

          …just my 0.02 cents cdn. 😉

        • #3127143

          Nice turn around

          by waity85 ·

          In reply to It’s not trespassing

          I agree, if I’m sitting in MY house using MY computer why can’t I use unsecured signals that enter MY property. Notice I said unsecured, protected signals are a different matter, if using them isn’t illegal, it should be.

          Not sure bought the licensing side of it though, sounds like your giving gov’s another opportunity for a stealth tax.

        • #3197308

          For it to be useful

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Nice turn around

          You also have to send a signal onto his property.

        • #3125589


          by redcell ·

          In reply to It’s not trespassing

          If you look at the fine print of almost any legally manufacturered Wi-Fi router I think you will find that they are licensed by the FCC to be used in an intended fashion. Now since the device is licensed by the FCC to transmit it’s carrier and the owner does not put bounderies on it. It seems to me to be fair territory for anyone who happens by.
          With ownership comes responsibility.

        • #3126003

          Back yard is NOT public space

          by mvmughal ·

          In reply to Can I play in your backyard?

          The FCC has slated the 2.4 and 5.0 as public use frequencies and free to use. It is also considered UNREGULATED bandwidth. Look up the meaning of unregulated<- no rules, no laws, use at will. No one had granted my backyard as public space!!!

      • #3125758

        That’s not the point

        by tim_seabrook ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        Let’s face it we are all in this together, it’s not about ethics. It should be about advice, find the location of the network and let them know. We let ourselves our users and customers down by showing how skillful we are but keeping that skill set locked away.

      • #3125757


        by lederhoden ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        So, if I put an open bottle of beer on the table, you are perfectly entitled to drink from it? The fact that something is not secured does not confer ANY right of usage by a third party.

      • #3125725

        It ‘s stealing alright

        by noorman ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        The [wardriver] is using a connection and hardware that ‘s been payed for by its owner, nit the [wardriver] !
        If there ‘s a data volume limit on that connection/contract, the [wardriver] is stealing data volume as well.

        It ‘s not a law question !
        It ‘s ethical; your are using someone elses ‘things’ …

        It ‘s because these things are happening that people have to PROTECT their connections, NOT the other way around.
        It ‘s the same as with house doors; in the past there were whole communities that had NO locks on their doors (or didn’t use them). Since theft (out of homes ) has gone up, nearly everyone has put locks on their doors !

        To me it ain’t right to [wardrive]; law or no law !


        • #3126074

          Done chasing your tail?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to It ‘s stealing alright

          First you STATE as if it were a fact that “It’s steaking alright”.

          Cool, I figure you will back this up with a specific law informing us exactly WHAT is illegal and when. I was saddly disapointed.

          Then you go off and say it isn’t a matter of law, but ethics?

          Ethics conflicts do not equal stealing.

          Not sure exactly when you are talking about with the locks, but people have had locks on their doors for over a century.

          I guess they wouldn’t have had a lock on their cave or TeePee, huh?

          Can you restate this, and stick with one or the other. Either the on-topic discussion of legality and refernce the law that makes it so, or the off-topic discussion of ethics, and how doing absolutely no harm to someone is unethical. If I go through the trash they put out at the curb and take stuff, is that unethical too? It IS still theirs until the appointed trashmen take it, after all.

        • #3081645

          actually, it is not theirs at the curb

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to Done chasing your tail?

          Legal precedent has established that the act of putting something in the trash and leaving it for collection implicitly forgoes ownership. Thats why cops do not need a warrent to search a person’s garbage. I could probably site a court case but hey – all those tv cop shows couldn’t be wrong could they. (they couldn’t show it on tv if it wasn’t true, right ?????)

      • #3126101


        by eric.p ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        So, if someone leaves their keys in their unlocked car, it’s perfectly fine to take it and use it yourself. See how far that argument would get you with judge or jury.

      • #3126065


        by garnerl ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        1. You’re trespassing by walking across the front lawn without permission, not only by entering the house.
        2. Using another’s wireless is *exactly* like “going into someone’s unlocked house” and using their resources.

        Whether you break into a home and crack a safe, or take an unattended wallet from someone’s desk at work, it’s stealing. If you do it and are aware that you’re doing it then it is, or should be, illegal. It’s definitely unethical in any case.

        • #3126028

          You can’t have even the slightest thing of mine

          by marathoner ·

          In reply to Trespass

          I have some really pretty and nice smelling roses blooming in my front yard. If you walk by on the sidewalk some of the smell leaks over into the public right of way and and you catch a whiff of them you’re stealing aroma from me. Aroma is molecules. Those are my molecules, you are stealing them and I’ll have you arrested. And you can’t look at my roses either. You’re stealing my view and I’ll have you arrested. It is your responsibility to keep your olfactory receptors disabled and your eyes covered when you walk by my roses. Don’t say if I didn’t want to share the view and the scent with the public I should screen them or put them in the back yard. That would require effort on my part and I don’t know how or don’t feel like it. Nyah Nyah!

        • #3125885

          even more important

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to You can’t have even the slightest thing of mine

          is that you in a real marathon? how high do you rank?

          Used to be a runner, but bad knees put an end to that. most fun I ever had (standing up, that is) was pole vaulting! woo woo!

          Oh yeah, I was looking at your roses too. you may notice I looked some of the color right out of them and I am sure this will set you back somehow. 😀

      • #3124039

        Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

        by placidair ·

        In reply to It ain’t stealing and ain’t unethical

        So whether someone’s house was burglarized, or not, depends on the quality of their locks? Are you serious?

    • #3197283

      Yes & No

      by ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      For casual use, I’d have to say it’s legal.

      The feed is being broadcast into public space, so if you can tap into it, it’s yours to use.

      That being said, I would say that the home user who taps into a neighbor full-time is not breaking the law, but is certainly being a leech. Morally they should offer to pay a portion of the usage fee the broadcaster is incurring.

      The flip side of that arguement is that the person broadcasting could (and is encouraged to, if they so feel) “lock down” their transmission to keep it private.

      Should a “zero tolerance” law get passed, it would be just another example of our Congress having too much free time on their hands. We are evolving into a wireless society (perhaps when HDTV broadcast finally kicks in full time, the old UHF & VHF frequencies can be dedicated to local net transmissions), and it would cost more than it was worth to track & fine everyone who ever got a little free bandwidth now and again.

      Just my .02

      • #3127214

        What goes around comes around….

        by dwdsr ·

        In reply to Yes & No

        While I agree that folks that have open WAP’s should be aware that they have the option to close it via WEP, I choose to leave mine open so that someone that might have a need to get their e-mail (or send one to a prospective employer) can do so. I’ve been on the down-side of not being able to afford an internet connection, so I can appreciate the relief you feel when a neighbor (or someone completely anonymous) leaves a WAP open so that you can connect with the world. It’s not been my experience that there are THAT many malicious people out there. Sure, there are some, but if I can help someone out that really needs it, I’ll take the chance that some a**hole will take advantage of me…

    • #3197254

      Actually you are stealing from the ISP

      by tlea ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      This is wrong, plain and simple. The quantity does not make it any more or less so, just more or less irritating to the person and the ISP being ripped off.

      The right thing to do, if possible, would be to find the person and ask for their permission. You may find that they left the access point open intentionally, then you’re good to go (though the subscriber may be violating his/her terms of use). You may also find they didn’t know that their AP was public, and they are VERY thankful that you pointed it out. They might also tell you to shove off and mind your own business. Either way, you shouldn’t use it without their permission. (I understand that finding the person who has the open AP may not be easy, but if you don’t want to put forth the effort maybe you shouldn’t be using it.)

      You would think that people concerned about security, which I hope most IT people are, would do what they can to help those who may not be as savvy, instead of taking advantage of their ignorance. That’s what malicious hacking is all about, taking advantage of people?s good nature and ignorance.

      As far as the “no one gets hurt” philosophy goes, this is BS. The person may be using all of their bandwidth to watch a movie, use a video phone, play a game like UT2004 (one of my favorite), or to download some 300MB service pack. They are paying to have access to that bandwidth, and someone downloading email, which could contain large attachments, or accessing web sites, or even downloading a small patch can cause the game or video to perform poorly for a period of time. Whether that seems important to you is immaterial, because I bet you it is important to the owner of the AP.

      Also, imagine if ten other people think it’s OK to ride this poor sap’s network because he was just too “stupid” to secure it properly. This will most likely cause a noticeable degradation in his connections performance.

      One other thing that keeps getting mentioned is acceptable use. What are the guidelines for acceptable use? From what I can tell it is whatever the bandwidth barnacle deems acceptable for his or her purposes. What if you need to download a 30MB patch that will solve a VPN issue you are experiencing? Is this OK because it’s not porn or an MP3?

      Using other people’s stuff without their permission (permission could include labeling an AP as public) is at the very least just plain rude if not downright wrong.

      • #3197121

        Don’t Forget…

        by jgarcia102066 ·

        In reply to Actually you are stealing from the ISP

        The other important thing that people tend to forget about is integrity. Just because you have the capability of doing something, doesn’t mean that you should do it.

        This is just like the people that climb the telephone pole, find the cable system box unlocked and proceed to hook-up cable to their house. This of course is old technology but it also did not hurt anybody. Now laws exist to protect the cable providers against this kind of piracy. Hopefully, there will be laws soon to protect against this wireless piracy as well.

      • #3197105

        Flaws in logic

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Actually you are stealing from the ISP

        first of all, anyone that would be downloading a 300MB patch would know enough about computers to not have left that access point open on accident.

        Next, the usage. If your just looking to be arguemenative knock your self out. If your looking for a rational discussion, and hopefully having someone step forward that actually KNOWS about the issue then hop on board.

        The examples I gave were to show bandwidth usage, and anyone looking to discuss the issue should have seen that.

        The next thing it, anyone that has a laptop good enough to play UT2004 and is still dumb enough to go wireless instead of hard wired seems odd. With the extra network overhead of wireless, you are only getting about 1/3rd the bandwidth you get with a cable. This also adds to processing time, adding latency on both the send and recieve. This equates to one, lag, and two, frags (of you).

        • #3127452

          Never assume…

          by tlea ·

          In reply to Flaws in logic

          I love it when people make assumptions like, “If you patch your system, you MUST know how to configure your router.” Windows update will download and install large patches, whether or not the user is savvy enough to configure their wireless router properly. This is a bad assumption on your part. My mom just bought a computer, and Windows update was enabled by default, though her router is wide open by default. So, by default, she can update her computer by downloading large patches without having a secure wireless connection.

          As far as usage, is concerned you mentioned email, which can involve large attachments. Maybe you don’t get large attachments in your email. That I do not know. But since were on the subject of bandwidth, what is the specific acceptable limit for usage? How many Mbits / second should we be allowed to consume and over what period of time? What if 5 or 10 other people have decided to use the same open connection because its OK?

          Why are you assuming the UT2004 machine is connected via wireless? My gaming desktop is attached to my wireless router / 5 port switch via a cable, but the WAN bandwitdh is still shared between all wired and wireless connections. As far as being dumb is concerned, you may want to think things through before telling people they are dumb based upon false assumptions.

          I believe that my contribution to this “rational” discussion were justified based on the original article. I stand by my original statements and add that just because something isn’t iilegal doesn’t make it ethical.

          In the end it sounds like you had a need to do something, you took the easiest, least expensive route, and are trying to justify your behavior in a public forum, and I don’t agree with you. It really is that simple.

        • #3127387

          Quite a reach with that one

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Never assume…

          because I doubt if MS has EVER sent a 300 Meg patch through Auto Update, as the specific size WAS mentioned in the previous post that I had responded to. I feel very comfortable with this particular ASSUMPTION.

          Also, as the one who both started this discussion AND “borrowed” someones open access point for two days, I can clearly state that when I say “just email” I am not sending and recieving attachments. My usage? You playing your little game would not have even known I was there.

          And you may believe that, but that isn’t what determines what is ethical to other people.

          Easiest, least expensive route? What other route would have been available on a two day basis? You must have never had to pay for your own cable modem or you would know that they take almost a week to install from the time you order it, and they do not install service for two days. Clue time.

          Justify? Nothing in this discussion was asking for justification or your approval. It was asking what people have heard about the legal aspects of this, not for someone to tell what they “believe” to be true, but about FACTS of LAW.

          So in the end, the only thing that was simple, was you.

        • #3127326

          Two day basis

          by cactus pete ·

          In reply to Quite a reach with that one

          Did you check the local institutions? Many libraries have open access. Many hotel lobbies have open access. Starbucks, Panera Bread, Barnes & Noble, McDonalds all have various levels of for-purchase access, from two hours to a day, to a month.

          Have you ever seen those sorts of sites before? (Please don’t read any inflection into the question, it’s an honest inquiry.)

        • #3127167

          Most of the time …

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to Two day basis

          You can tell when McDonalds or starbucks and the sort provide open access … Either the connection name or the fact that there is a starbucks nearby, gives it away …


        • #3121442

          Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          by tlea ·

          In reply to Quite a reach with that one

          You will note that in your original post you mentioned ethics in regard to legality. In fact you said if something isn’t illegal, then how can it be unethical. If you didn’t want to discuss the ethical implication you should have never brought it up. (Just for the record, just because something isn?t illegal, does not mean it’s ethical.) Ethics and law go hand in hand by the way.

          As far as usage is concerned, lets say it?s a 30Meg patch (the size was meant as an extreme case to demonstrate my position, but you seem to miss the point), or even a 3Meg patch. What is the acceptable size? Once again, this seems to be up to the person “borrowing” (without permission) the connection. You still haven’t given me what you think are acceptable limits?

          Now about PUBLIC access points. There are access points out there that you can use, without having the cable company come out and install a connection (and you thought my 300MB patch was a stretch). Some are free, some require payment. McDonalds, Starbucks, Panera, the local library, just to name a few. There was no need to borrow this person?s connection. As I said, you chose the easiest, least expensive solution. You may want to educate yourself as to the availability public wireless access before going on the road again.

          You did make one assumption that was correct. I have never paid for a cable modem, this is true. But I DO pay for my own DSL line and equipment, as I am not a big fan of our cable company.

          As far as legality is concerned, check out this article, it raises some interesting questions.

          Whether you meant to or not, you came across as trying to justify your position in your original article.

        • #3126061

          Well, that is a start

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          The first person to provide a link to validate their claim on the legal vs illegal discussion.

          While it DID cover if I had been using that access point to up/down load porn or illegal material it would be illegal.

          It also offers the idea that going on that open access point might be tresspassing, thus illegal, but admits that it hasn’t gone through the courts yet.

          As for “free open access points”.

      • #3126071

        The crux seems to be the ‘free’ part

        by tim_barrett ·

        In reply to Actually you are stealing from the ISP

        Is the bone of contention here access to the WAP, or ‘free’ access to the internet?

        Hypothetically, what about a strip-mall office scenario? Suppose John has DSL from BellSouth with a wireless modem in Suite A, and so does his neighbor Roy in Suite B. They both use Linksys wireless access points. And when John roams his office with a laptop, in some parts of the building Roy?s WAP signal is actually stronger than John?s.

        Now, if John?s laptop jumps to Roy?s stronger (and unsecured) WAP, and they?re both using the same ISP, paying the same amount of money per month to the same company, is John stealing? John?s consuming bandwidth from BellSouth, right? And he pays for that bandwidth each month. Whether it comes across a twisted pair or through the air, BellSouth still gets their money. John?s a happy camper.

        Personally, I still think that’s stealing, simply because even though John is using what he paid for, he?s preventing Roy from getting the bandwidth he paid for. Encumbering him, as it were. But what if Roy already left the office for the day? He?s not using any of his bandwidth at all, right? Is John stealing now? Because he?s not encumbering someone who isn?t even there.

        You can argue circles all day long about this kind of stuff… wi-fi, swimming pools, street lights, music, whatever. The point is, if the neighbor secured his wireless (like he does with his vehicles and physical building) then we wouldn’t even need to have this discussion.

        If your friend?s motorcycle got stolen because he left the keys in it, it?s true that a theft occurred. But it?s also true that your friend is a dork for leaving the keys in the ignition. And he should expect that sort of thing to happen in this world. (That?s why we have locks).

        Bad things happen to good people who do stupid things. If you want all of your bandwidth or if you don?t want people browsing your ?Shared Documents? folder (and don?t even get me started on *that* one) then lock it up. It?s that simple. It?s not Best Buy?s fault for failure to instruct the soccer mom who bought the Dlink if someone deletes her Quicken folder. It?s hers. Caveat emptor.

    • #3197233

      Let’s look at this from the other direction…

      by andrew.moore ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      How about this angle- I find that someone outside of my organisation is using an open access WiFi connection without permission. Is it okay for me to intercept their TCP/IP packets and graft out usernames, passwords etc???

      • #3197135

        that isn’t the same thing

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Let’s look at this from the other direction…

        no one up to this point was discussing anything but low bandwidth internet access on a non-regular basis.

        To start sniffing traffic is completely a different story.

        But if it is your network, I would bet you could legally sniff your own network provided it is not INTENDED for free use. Something like a hotel that gives it out to customers would get in a world of problems if they tried the same thing.

        • #3125755

          Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          by andrew.moore ·

          In reply to that isn’t the same thing

          I was thinking more about setting up Honey Pot wifi to snare Wardrivers- after all the traffic from that kind of user is bound to be “interesting”

        • #3126068

          I would bet

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          there are people that sit at a Barns and Nobles or some other open access point and sniff the traffic.

          First thing I do is start my vpn. Sniff away. 😀

          Speaking of “interesting”, have you heard of a “Tarpit”? THAT is cool stuff!

    • #3197226

      Electronic Trespassing

      by generalist ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      We could always reverse the equation. If YOUR wireless signal is intruding upon MY space, could that be considered to be electronic trespassing?

      While this happens all the time with TV and radio signals, you run into problems when the communications is two way. Receiving a wireless signal is unavoidable. Sending data to the wireless device is a bit more controllable.

      I sometimes wonder how much trouble a person could get into if a neighbor sets up a wireless network without a password and you accidentally access it because you are in the habit of clicking on the first, and once upon a time only, wireless node in your area.

    • #3197177


      by cortech ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      How was JD’s instance and different than for example:

      I walk out of my office, across the Wal-mart parking lot to McDonalds. I then walk back across the Wal-mart parking lot with my lunch to my office.

      Therfore, I used up some of Wal-marts parking space (WiFi bandwidth) to go to another site (website) and brought back my lunch (minor download).

      Technically, I tresspassed by using their property for something other than visiting their business but realistically the space I used up in their parking lot had no effect on the number of cars they can park. Should I go ask the manager next time if I may walk across their parking lot, or should I tell them to put a fence up if they don’t want me to.

      No harm, no foul. Just a thought. Comments?

      • #3197139

        Oh come on

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Compare

        don’t try to be logical here. ;\

        It is interesting the people that want to compare this to physically invading someone elses space and doing something compared to you sitting in your own home and them broadcasting it to you. You aren’t going to get it, it is coming to you.

        So most of the counter-arguments just do not wash.

        • #3197104

          Okay, I agree but YOU set the topic on wardriving and by that…………..

          by sleepin’dawg ·

          In reply to Oh come on

          you imply actively going out, seeking open sites. It is one thing if you encounter a site passively, it is a whole different ball of wax when you jump in your car with your laptop and [b]actively[/b] drive around seeking access points. You are not being a victim here, you are being very much an agressor. So far there are few if any laws specifically against it but there are some ambiguous laws that could be brought into play here. An example might be the theft of satellite service. Anyway if you did get caught can you afford the time and money necessary to vindicate yourself. You might win or you might lose. Everything about the courts can become a crap shoot. Assuming you won; you’d be out huge amounts in legal fees and then there is court time. You could cop a plea but how about the accompanying notoriety??? Best thing is if you are going to do it don’t make a habit of hitting any one site too frequently; keep moving around. 😉 You notice I don’t go on record as to actively doing it or not doing it; although there was that time I tested the findings of an article.
          I would advise if you are doing it; keep quiet about it. BTW for what it was worth the article was in a Ziff/Davis publication, which one I can’t remember but I’ve always wondered how many new wardrivers it inspired. After all, anyone who can walk and chew gum at the same time and knows where the on switch is, can learn how to do it.

          [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

    • #3197103

      I assume it’s all free unless explicitly noted otherwise

      by m_a_r_k ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      If I find an Internet access point and it doesn’t require me to log in, or I don’t get a message telling me it’s for private use, I’m going to assume that the owner doesn’t give a rip if I use it.

      It’s just like with cable/satellite TV. If you flip on your TV and you suddenly find that you’re getting Pay-Per-View or HBO or any other premium service, are you gonna be a good little boy and complain to your cable provider that you’re getting free service? Or are you NOT gonna watch any of the heretofore pay-access channels?

      • #3197099

        See my above post. It is one thing to get the signal in a passive mode…..

        by sleepin’dawg ·

        In reply to I assume it’s all free unless explicitly noted otherwise

        but it is another thing entirely if you actively hook up an unauthorized signal decoder or descrambler. If you get caught; it’s going to cost you, big time.

        [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

      • #3125602

        so its only wrong if you get caught ??

        by wojnar ·

        In reply to I assume it’s all free unless explicitly noted otherwise

        You are wrong in assuming its ok if nobody objects. If you were able to hang a wire off your neighbor’s cable and use the internet access without your neighbor seeing it, chances are they wouldn’t object. Is that ok then ? The bottom line is if you are using something that requires a fee for use and you are not paying for it – its stealing. Period.

        There is right and wrong. Nowhere does wrong-doing require the action to be seen/objected to in order to be wrong. What ever happened to integrity ? I hope that you are not in charge of your company’s databases or according to you anybody can have access to it as long as you don’t object.

    • #3197056


      by antuck ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Personally, I have set up quite a few wireless networks in offices and homes. I always set some kind of wireless security in place for this reason alone. Not to allow other access to the network.

      When setting up these networks, I have seen other wireless networks around. I always thought about clicking and just seeing if I could connect but never have. Why? because to me it’s not right to. It is not my wireless network. So I have no business siging into there network unless it was approved. To me it is irregardless if the signal was not secured. I think it is like someones front door that is not locked. Is because the door is not locked ok for me to enter the house or car? I personally don’t think so.

      Also, do the ISP regulate how many computers may have access to the internet? I know Comcast here in IL allows for five computers. I think SBC does the same but can’t say for sure. How many computers were connected when you were? I realize it would be hard for the ISP to determine how many computers are on. But the fact does remain there is a limit to five (again here with Comcast.)

      I don’t know the legalities of this. You mentioned you couldn’t find anything. That’s not surprising given this is all new technology. They’re still trying to write laws for spy-ware. Ethically – that is a big debate I suppose. I mentioned my thoughts. I also feel as a person in IT I should know better.

    • #3197021

      Legal is not always ethical

      by beilstwh ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      making the statement that “If it not against the law, how can anyone claim it is unethical” is not true. Lets take only one example (there are many). You are married and you are having sex with her sister and she doesn’t know. Legal, sure… Ethical, no way.

      • #3196998

        Actually, your example is flawed.

        by raven2 ·

        In reply to Legal is not always ethical

        In most areas of the US and in many other countries it is technically illegal to have sex out side of marrige. Adultery statues are still in many legal codes.

        Legality is the function of interpertation of the law, or as Ambroise Bierce says, “Lawyers are those skilled in the circumvention of the law.”

        Ethics is a different branch of thought.

        What Rosa Parks did was technically illegal but unquestionably ethical. What George Wallace did was technically legal but definitely unethical.

    • #3197886


      by aryeh ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Hi I think this is a great issue of concern.I think that most IT people would be respectful of home users networks but on the other hand I agree that it
      is big security concern because most people do not understand they are putting themselves and there privacy in the open and you are not paying for the service.

    • #3197856

      Legal or Illegal? Simple Answer

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      If you (or anybody) can’t show that it’s illegal, then it’s not. And if it’s not illegal, then by default and by definition, it’s perfectly legal.

      Consider this. EVERYTHING is legal until some law is passed to prevent (or reduce) it. Show me the law and the court case test, or concede that it’s legal.

      Is it ethical? Is it nice? Is it taking advantage? Well, those questions will be answered in as many different ways as there are people. Personally, I don’t think it’s very nice for one citizen to vote himself the property of another citizen. So it’s all perspective, I suppose. However, how many people will be (or are) on their soapbox about not taking something (Internet connection) that doesn’t belong to them, but they espouse and take advantage of tax and give-away social programs?

      • #3121472

        Where are the digital copyright pirates?

        by wordworker ·

        In reply to Legal or Illegal? Simple Answer

        I am shocked no one from the “I’ll download any darn song/movie/software I can get, legal or not” crowd has weighed in on this subject. Maybe it’s okay to steal bits and bytes if you’re using your own connection, but not if you’re piggybacking on someone else’s bandwidth.

      • #3125699

        Good Gads!

        by mill3502 ·

        In reply to Legal or Illegal? Simple Answer

        What have we become as a society when we think using someone else’s property is perfectly OK. It could be music, journalism, books, wireless access, you name it we have become a society of thinking it’s ‘OK’ because they didn’t try to stop us.

        It should not matter if we have laws or not it’s wrong!

      • #3125568

        Take responsibility for your actions

        by wojnar ·

        In reply to Legal or Illegal? Simple Answer

        So morally, its ok to do anything unless its illegal ??? That seems to be the attitude of a lot of people. Fortunately this isn’t only a moral issue.

        See if you can follow this simple logic – Hopefully we all agree stealing IS illegal. Possessing something that: 1)was not freely given to you, 2) requires a fee to use and 3)would not be available without infrastructure supporting the fee required is STEALING.

        You don’t have to see the negative effects of stealing for it to be wrong. The legistatures or governing bodies are the only people that can explicitly say that an action is illegal. The courts don’t determine legality, of an action, only the classification of if the action was/is governed by a particular law. (don’t get me started on activist judges…)

        As far as taxes and social programs – I would bet the farm that you couldn’t survive a day without taking advantage of the effects of your tax money. (driven on an interstate or thrown something in the garbage lately ?) Plus you can legally avoid US taxes by going to Iran – I hear they need programmers.

        • #3126153


          by wordworker ·

          In reply to Take responsibility for your actions

          Good response. Reminds me of a security policy meeting where we were discussing whether we were drafting too many policies prohibiting this behavior or that one. One guy said, “There’s no policy that says you can’t take a whizz in the hallway…there aren’t a lot of people peeing in the hallways, but maybe we need a policy anyway.” The point is self-respecting adults don’t need to be told not to pee in the halls. Self-respecting adults shouldn’t need to told not to borrow/steal/piggyback or otherwise use or acquire something they didn’t obtain on their own. (See wojnar’s three rules above.) Wth any luck, the legislators eventually will catch up with the technology and pass appropriate laws. Meanwhile, we’re self-policing, and some of us are making the rest of us look bad.

    • #3197847

      This is the same as stealing cable or tapping into your neighbors phone

      by jmgarvin ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      The idea is this:

      Is it legal to split the coax from your neighbor’s cable box? Is it legal to tap into their phone line to get phone service?

      Would it be legal to split the coax from the neighbor’s house and use their broadband?

      No. This is no different. While your neighbor’s at technologically stupid, you are stealing bandwidth and service from the broadband provider.

      It is unethical and (from the looks of it) illegal.

      • #3127302

        Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

        by nedg ·

        In reply to This is the same as stealing cable or tapping into your neighbors phone

        your neighbour dint leave a phone or cable point for you out in the street, and you would be taking it upon your self to cut into or brake into the service to use it there for it is stealing.

        also there are many public hotspots that people use evryday.

        and you a wrong in asuming your neighbour is an idiot leaving his AP open what makes you think he didnt leave it open on purpose.

        • #3127286


          by jmgarvin ·

          In reply to Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

          I honestly don’t understand your first sentence. As for people using “free” hot spots, this is up to the business and it usually advertised.

          Most TOSs are pretty clear on the point that sharing bandwidth is service theft. As for the neighbor leaving the AP open to let his neighbor’s use the bandwidth, not only is he stupid (security risks ad nausium), but he is probably also in violation of the TOS.

      • #3135344

        This is the same as stealing cable or tapping into your neighbors phone

        by techrepublic ·

        In reply to This is the same as stealing cable or tapping into your neighbors phone

        No, I don’t think so. In the first case you are modifying the cable
        company’s equipment. Stealing Satellite is using illegal
        equipment to decode. In the case or hopping onto someone’s
        open wireless network, you are not modifying their system or
        equipment and you are not using any illegal equipment or

        For a business, this is all moot, because any IT worth his salt is
        going to protect the network.

        BTW, many of the new routers have upgradable firmware which
        can be replaced with custom versions. Many of these allow
        simultaneous protected (WAP enterprise) and unprotected
        connections. Here is one company:

        You could also put an unprotected wireless router on its own
        subnet for clients.

        • #3082906

          It is still theft of service

          by jmgarvin ·

          In reply to This is the same as stealing cable or tapping into your neighbors phone

          The broadband company will come after you. Qwest has started to default install security on their access points, but it still isn’t great.

          Also, Comcast in its ToS states that you cannot share outside of your house as it is considered theft.

    • #3197741

      Is it my fault?

      by el guapo ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Is it my fault that my technologically inept neighbor did not employ security on his wireless signal to keep other people from using his bandwidth?

      Is it my fault that my wireless lan-enabled laptop keeps picking up his signal everytime I boot up my pc? If people are going to employ this type of technology in their home, they should also be responsible of maintaining, researching, and securing it. If they don’t want other people from using their bandwidth, configure it that way!

      Take your house, for example. You built your house for you to live in it and feel secure in it while you live there. Therefore you will install an alarm system and deadbolts so no one else can enter your home but you. You don’t leave your doors open at night so that you can share your house with other people.

      As for the tapping to get free cable, this is a different story. You physically alter the cable to get free cable (I haven’t done this so I don’t know the process). The cable company installed the cable fixture so no one can tap it; the wire tapper comes along and hacks the scured cable fixture and there, free cable.

      • #3127164

        Well …

        by stargazerr ·

        In reply to Is it my fault?

        Switch off wireless on you laptop in that case … Dont connect to it..

        If a neighbor is technologically inept…It doesnt give you the right to connect to his wireless network.

        For example: If you left a window open in your house, or have a lock which is easy to jimmy (not physically change it, but unlock it with a hair pin) …. will you appreciate someone jumping in and having a look around, even if they dont steal??


        • #3121388

          Your example is still flawed…

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Well …

          Nobody left a window open, we don’t have a lock that’s easy to “jimmy”, no one is physically entering anyone’s house to look around and not steal stuff.

          We’re in our own home, wireless signals are coming into our house. That is actually the very first act of trespassing in the original scenario since we haven’t left our home, something is coming into it and you can’t tell me that I can’t make use of a wireless signal that’s coming into my home, if you’re saying that I can’t make use of these signals then you make every required effort to stop their broadcast into my home plain & simple and please don’t give me anymore examples of breaking into cars & “jimmy’ing” house locks with a hair pin or some other such nonsense – those are actual physical acts requiring physical effort and actual physical actions to effect these changes.

          In the first place, we didn’t ask for the wireless signals to come into our house and unfortunately if those signals come into our house we’re going to use them.
          Secondly, radio, tv stations, satellite service providers, etc. need licenses to transmit signals that our radios, tv’s, phones, systems, etc. can make use of. If this person made no attempt to enable WEP and/or any other form of security so that those wireless signals could not be used by others than I’m not going to feel bad about riding those signals in my own home.

          Thirdly, giving me examples of stealing cars, breaking into a home, stealing cable by tying into the neighbors cable, stealing phone service by tapping into the phone line, stealing electricity by running an extension cord, walking through someone else’s home without stealing anything, swimming in someone’s pool, pee’ing on someone’s fence, etc, etc, etc. still does not equal making use of a wireless signal coming into your home. All of the other items are physical, tangible objects and all require you to make a physical effort to trespass/steal these items while making use of an intangible resource such as a wireless signal that’s being broadcast into your own home without your consent is not comparable. That is why your example is flawed.

          Years from now we’ll unfortunately find out that these wireless signals along with everything else on our planet causes some form of cancer (please heaven forbid this, I have to much to worry about now as it is) in which case right now I won’t worry or feel too bad about using this “technologically inept” neighbor’s wireless internet access or question any morality or ethics issues that arise from making use of a signal that technically is trespassing into my home.

          – Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

          just my 0.02 cents cdn, feel free to agree or disagree 😉

        • #3121365

          Ok then … Lets put it this way ..

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to Your example is still flawed…

          The neighbors’ hen (or duck) wanders into your yard and you kill it and eat it … the neighbor has a right to (at least) shout at you …

          Note: In this case, you didnt physically do anything except kill the hen … same as when you physically dont do anything but click on the browser and start exploring …

          I hope thats a bit more helpful


        • #3121345

          nope, that example doesn’t work either….

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Ok then … Lets put it this way ..

          because we’re talking about another physical, tangible resource – something you can physically touch, taste, feel, smell, etc.

          Wireless signals are not physically tangible resources: you could walk by them, through them, around them and not know of their existence. You need special equipment to even know that they exist in your immediate location and what the signal strength & quality is, and if it’s secured or not.

          Clicking, browsing, exploring would all be done on my home computer for which I have full, unfettered access to in the first place without infringing on anyone’s rights.

          Here’s the deal so we don’t have to go through examples because to tell the truth I’ve been trying to think of examples myself and can’t come up with any that are comparable because you can’t ideally compare physical items with intangible radio signals. I’m not a bum, if my neighbor was broadcasting unsecured wireless signals strong enough that I could surf on his connection, I would let him know and offer to help him enable wep, install a decent firewall, download the latest & greatest windows updates, update his av & spyware software and let him know that if he’s going to use this kind of technology he needs to be careful because if I can access his WLAN chances are that others can too. I don’t think you can talk about legalities or ethics because there are decent arguments on both sides of this one. All I can do is be a decent neighbor because it’s the neighborly thing to do, not because of ethics or legalities because we don’t have concrete laws that define what’s right/wrong in this situation. But not everyone is a good neighbor and everyone needs to realize that being one isn’t the law either so I can’t be mad if someone is going to make use of my wireless network if I’m throwing my signals out there for the world to access.

          The latest crop of 802.11g wireless routers/ap’s doesn’t make this problem any easier to deal with since they provide greater range, faster access, etc. Someone could unknowingly provide internet access to several neighbors and not know it either. I recently installed one for a friend and we took his laptop outside of the house just to test the range of the ap connected to a dsl connection that was installed his basement, we were getting decent wireless access from both of his neighbor’s yards on each side of his house, the sidewalk infront of his house, the street infront of his house, the detached garage in his backyard (which he liked alot), his backlane, etc. If you have a clue you will secure your wireless access point, but for most people, once they get past the 2 minute setup wizard that comes with these access points, that’s all they want and they put the boxes & cd’s away and never fuss with it again afterwards.

          again, this is just my 0.02 cents cdn, feel free to agree/disagree


        • #3125555

          my penny’s worth

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to nope, that example doesn’t work either….

          The best example I can come up with is if you purchased a car, parked it on the city street and left the keys in it. You decide that you won’t use it every day but do not intend to secure it. Its gassed up and ready to go – perfect operating condition. It is not legal for somebody else to just get in and use the car when you are not around. Certainly, like an unsecured access point its stupid for you to do this but its not legal for anyone else to use your paid-for property without your permission. An argument could be made that if the user returned the car in the same condition as they found it, no harm was done. It is still STEALING.

        • #3125523

          Pay Attention …

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to my penny’s worth

          He wants examples in which no one does anything physically …

          But who cares … He isnt a bum .. so why the argument … ??


        • #3121307

          Not really flawed

          by antuck ·

          In reply to Your example is still flawed…

          You mentioned about stealing cars, breaking into houses ect… as taking a physical effort to do. Then you stated that an intangible resource like the wireless signal being broadcast into your home is not comparable. But that is actually flawed. Sure the wireless signal is coming into your home or where ever. But, you must physically look for this signal and physically make the connection to this wireless signal. Granted this is only mouse clicks and generally, the wireless connection SW you are using will automaticlly sign you in the next time you are within range. You still must do something physical to make the connection the first time.

        • #3121267


          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Not really flawed

          But if you’re inside your own home and your computer’s wireless nic grabs hold of an unsecured wireless signal strong enough to announce itself to your nic, how is that comparable to stealing a car or breaking into a house?

          How do I physically look for the signal if I’m within my own home, I don’t know about your specific windows setup but my pc will alert me to any wireless network signals that are strong enough to announce their presence to my pc (and any IR signals that are close enough to my pc’s IR port). Plus I’m using my computer anyways, I didn’t leave home to make use of this signal, I didn’t go into my neighbor’s yard or house to make use of this signal.

          If using my computer inside my own home to make an automatic network connection using an unsecured wireless signal that was broadcast into my house without my consent is comparable to stealing a car then I’m at a loss to see the how they are the same or similar – because they’re not!

          Plus using your analogy, you might also say that radio signals picked up by my radio automatically could be comparable as well.

          There is a big difference, you can’t compare an intangible resource (like wireless signals) to a physical resource like a car or house. If you can’t recognize the difference between these items then you don’t understand the concept & scope of this conversation.

          Also please don’t send any cars crashing into my house for me to use, I don’t know of what use they’ll be good (spare parts maybe?) for considering the damages an all. Intangible vs. Tangible. Simple as that.


        • #3121249


          by antuck ·

          In reply to nope!

          You have to physically tell Windows to make the connection. When it alerts you a wireless connection is near, it does not automaticaly make that connection. Unless you have configured it to do so.

          Bottom line to me is, it is not my network I don’t belong on it. I have no right jumping in to there network just because they don’t know how to secure it. Much like the car or house it is not mine I don’t belong thier. I don’t need someone telling me I don’t belong thier.

          I do understand the concept and scope of this conversation. Another reason I don’t sign onto anybodys wireless connection, if they do not know how or why they should secure there wireless connection, what is to make me think they have a secure and patched computer. When I see the unsecured wireless networks, I always wonder what kind of virus or garbage ware do they have on there system. And, is it one of the network searching worms that as soon as I connect zaps me. No Thanks!

        • #3125825

          I’m not a bum…

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Remember

        • #3125611

          Since you are not a bum

          by stargazerr ·

          In reply to nope!

          No Argument 😀

          I only argue with people who are gits and dont realize or maybe dont want to realize that what they are doing is legally or ethically wrong


    • #3197711

      A Definition

      by dkeefe ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      What this discussion needs is a definition

      War Driving ? The act of activity looking for unguarded WiFi hot spots to use without the owners consent or knowledge, and without any compensation to the ISP who provided the connection to the internet.

      Some will have said that it is a user beware world out there. We are supposed to be IT PROFESSIONALS. That means we should set a standard for the rest of society, where it concerns IT. Some will say that it is neither illegal nor un-ethical to use those connections. Just because it is not expressly illegal does not make ethical. I say it is very un-ethical to use those connections. We as IT Professionals have advanced knowledge of these types of systems. We should not be using it to gain access to the internet at the cost of others. To sit outside in you car and use the unguarded hot spot should make you feel cheep epically when there are several ways to gain ligament, and free access to the internet. What are you doing out in you car? Certainly not research on a paper, or responding to a call from work. No you doing things you would be ashamed of otherwise you would be doing them at home or at a ligament connection.

    • #3197712

      A Definition

      by dkeefe ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      What this discussion needs is a definition

      War Driving ? The act of activity looking for unguarded WiFi hot spots to use without the owners consent or knowledge, and without any compensation to the ISP who provided the connection to the internet.

      Some will have said that it is a user beware world out there. We are supposed to be IT PROFESSIONALS. That means we should set a standard for the rest of society, where it concerns IT. Some will say that it is neither illegal nor un-ethical to use those connections. Just because it is not expressly illegal does not make ethical. I say it is very un-ethical to use those connections. We as IT Professionals have advanced knowledge of these types of systems. We should not be using it to gain access to the internet at the cost of others. To sit outside in you car and use the unguarded hot spot should make you feel cheep epically when there are several ways to gain ligament, and free access to the internet. What are you doing out in you car? Certainly not research on a paper, or responding to a call from work. No you doing things you would be ashamed of otherwise you would be doing them at home or at a ligament connection.

    • #3197702

      A bit too trivial to fuss over

      by dc guy ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      It’s like being thirsty and lost on a hot summer day and helping yourself to a drink of water out of some homeowner’s garden hose.

      If the person were home and you asked them, would they allow you? Almost certainly yes, and most people would invite you in for a glass of ice water and a rest and to help you find your way home.

      The difference here is that you might not be able to find the person whose network you’re using. I assume that if you could, you WOULD have asked. You seem like a decent person.

      You were in a jam, you needed help, you assumed that the person would not mind if you had the ability to ask.

      If it were me I would hope that was your thinking.

      Just don’t make a habit of it. And meanwhile I’ll be improving my firewall. (Actually I have a really good firewall: No wireless access in my house.)

    • #3197633

      One of TR’s advertising vendors sells a war driving kit…

      by unclerob ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      I saw this link posted on one TR’s pages:

      Apparently it’s a war driving kit which allows you to search for & make use of open access points to the full legal limit

      Does this mean that war driving is currently legal in the U.S. ?
      Reading this ad leads me to assume so, let me know if I’m wrong.

      • #3127432

        Let’s hope so

        by dc guy ·

        In reply to One of TR’s advertising vendors sells a war driving kit…

        TR shouldn’t accept ads for products that are illegal, or even unethical.

      • #3127412

        Just because you can buy it

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to One of TR’s advertising vendors sells a war driving kit…

        doesn’t mean you can use it.

        I can go buy a switch-blade, but I can’t carry that same blade.

        It is even legal in some states to own a gun silencer/supressor, but not always to USE that supressor.

        Did you know in the US, if you get the permit, it is even legal to MAKE a HOME MADE MACHINE GUN? If you make it yourself, then the feds can’t use the Interstate Commerce clause to ban this.

        It really is amazing what you can buy. Just don’t get caught using it!

        • #3121497

          You better hide…

          by cortech ·

          In reply to Just because you can buy it

          that legally purchsed bong. I know it’s just used for tobacco though.

    • #3127400

      Wardriving is neither illegal nor legal, yet.

      by sleepin’dawg ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      There are no set precedents as yet regarding wardriving. However there are laws on the books, with precedents, regarding theft of service in respect to satellite and cable service. Maybe, or maybe not, these laws could be applicable to wardriving. But right now, in the current situation, do you want to be the test case for this??? Think of what it would cost you in time and money, never mind agravation, if you were to become the test case in this matter. Losing is not an option and winning could bring you levels of notoriety you may not care to deal with.

      [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

    • #3127304

      If it not against the law, is it unethical?

      by nedg ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      If you go onto somones propert that has a fence but no lock it is not trespassing, but if you maliciously damage or take somthing without permision that is against the law.

      if the perimiter has a form of lock or security on it and you enter the property that is trespassing.

      Laws are based on ethics but are not normaly ethical.

      A good ethical rule of thumb is do unto uters as you would want them to do to you.

      so in my opinion if the person left hi AP unsecured open to the public, you are welcome to come in and use it and have a look around without causing any damage or taking somthing that is not yours to take within reason ofcourse.

    • #3127294

      authorization and intention

      by joetechsupport ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      I understand the definition of legal but I have trouble with ethical although I’ve queried it a few times.

      My opinion is based on my sense of right and wrong, which as I may well misunderstand, is actually a more a question of my personal morality than ethics per se if I have this correct.

      As I understand it very bad things may be done on fully ethical grounds and according to the infinite types of morality wee all hold. Same for law. Slavery remains legal in some jurisdictions and was in all empires and many democracies. Theft and killing are fully legal in a military context. Military theft and killing may be ethical as well but as I’ve said I’m unsure because people talk of just wars and unjust or ambiguous wars.

      My cynical side likes to think “ethics” were created to justify otherwise abhorrent or disagreeable acts – I know cases where this is true, I know cases where it is false. At their best ethics as I understand are intended to guide rational, “correct,” “best” or “lesser of two evil” decisions free from unequal, unjust, unfair and/or innapropriate varying moral and/or religious standards. Slavery and torture are the best examples for me because these are clearly “wrong” yet are frequently through history considered a moral and religious obligation.

      To me, it comes down to this, wardriving or anything:

      1) Have I been given express permission to do said act?

      2) Would I appreciate the act being done to me or those I care for? Might others I don’t know feel differently about such an act?

      3)Do I have to tell myself I’m not doing anything wrong or that it doesn’t hurt? This is always dead givaway. I call this the “hand in the cookie jar.”

      4)If it is wrong, a bad, illegal is there to myself a proper justifying extenuating circumstance, not just an excuse?

      5)After considering all these, I make the choice. I don’t always make the “right” choice.

      That’s about it. The process can happen in a flash. I like to think this is what most of us do.

    • #3127197

      No security: should be legal

      by waity85 ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      I personally feel that if the access point has no form of encryption, security or authorisation, then using it from your own private property or public property shouldn’t be illegal.

      Why do we keep asking the public sector to legislate to protect stupid users? Just turn on WEP or similar. I know these standards are easy to bypass; but if your bypassing them it IS illegal (or should be).

      Anyway, there’s my two-pence worth….

      • #3125752

        It is theft, pure and simple

        by eldane ·

        In reply to No security: should be legal

        I guess you would advocate ‘borrowing’ other people’s cars if they leave them unlocked.

        The fact is, the only reason that WEP, WPA and security standards are needed is to prevent people from gaining access to someone elses property. It does not matter if you are stealing bandwidth or car stereos it is the same thing.

        50 years ago, my grandparents could leave their house unlocked at night, whereas I have to have a 12 bolt locking steel-reinforced door on my house.

        There seems little respect in this world anymore for another’s work or possessions.

    • #3121452


      by jkaras ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      This has been debated in the past here on another thread. Basically put it is not illegal, but it is unethical. If you are not paying for a service and you get it free knowing full well it’s no accident, then you are stealing. You are just justifying your actions by saying it’s their fault for not protecting themselves properly. If you are receiving a signal from a free web cafe then it’s ok because it is understood that it’s free like library. Yeah yeah yeah you should be a customer but that is a free provided service for all not someone paying for a service that you are piggy backing on.

    • #3121309

      Yes to legal – ethics and morality however….

      by mickey6 ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      About 25 years plus ago when the first satelite TV came out the hackers decryipted the signal before they started their sales.

      When the trials made the Supreme Court of the USA, they ruled that a signal sent in free air (cable is a private carrier)was fair game as long as it was not re-broadcast or reproduced and basicly no law was broken.
      That said 802.11 AKA wifi is in the public sector of the FCC and open territory.

      While hacking someone elses computer is a felony, tapping an open internet signal is not. Just remember, if you try connecting to another computer on said network without permission, you may be looking at up to 20 years under the commercial espionage laws.

      Some think you are stealing from the ISP, not so, the bandwidth is already being paid for by the access point owner.

      The owner of the network has the reasponsibility to secure their network or leave it open for public use as called for.

      If you use the connection so be it, but don’t under any reason try to hack it or you will be violating the law. Wardriving is not hacking onder the law. It is simply finding the open points.
      As to the question of ethics and morality, remember that morality is a standard by which we measure right and wrong, ethics need not be good to be ethics. The Mafia has ethics.

      Remember, coffee shops and businesses are often offering FREE wifi internet.

      If you want to wardrive try sticking to the ones you know allow access. Then no one will complain.

      On my companies network we have 2 access points. One is highly secured behind the firewall for access to company info and the other in front of the firewall is open to free internet use. I even named it FREE_WEB.

      It only added about 5% extra traffic and costs the same anyway. So who cares.

      Have fun …

    • #3121272

      Paul Timmins might have a word to say about this –

      by mickster269 ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      “In what prosecutors say is likely the first criminal conviction for wardriving in the US, a Michigan man plead guilty Wednesday to a federal misdemeanor for using the Internet through an open Wi-Fi access point at a Lowe’s home improvement store in suburban Detroit.”

      (if this has already been posted, mea culpa)

    • #3121204

      A possible legal argument is prescriptive easement

      by jalefevre ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      A long standing principal in US law is that of prescriptive easements (see If you trespass long enough, it becomes legal. “The legal test to acquire a prescriptive easement of another owner is that the use must be open, not secret, notorious, clearly observable, hostile, without the landowner’s consent and continuous without interruption for the number of years required by state law. For example, the minimum hostile use varies from 5 years in California to 30 years in Texas.”

      This seems bassed on the ‘no harm, no foul’ rule.

    • #3125767

      Do as you would be done by

      by sealife ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      I have an AP that is listed on the site as open for anyone to use. My transfers are not capped so I have no issue with anyone using my connection if it helps them. It gets used sporadically.

      If I had a capped account then it might be different. If I wanted to keep my WiFi connection private then I ought to use the link encryption not so much for security but as a notice that it’s private.

      I suggest that if an AP is not protected then the owner should not be able to go to law as they are guilty of contributory negligence by not using the very simple tools available.

    • #3125765


      by tony85 ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      I too faced the problem recently. I was in a hotel for a week with no internet access other than dial up at about $1 per minute. Nature of job prevented me gaining access elsewhere during the day.

      However, at night, it was obvious that there was an unsecured wireless network around. I have to confess that I did briefly make use of it. If there had been enough to identify it, I would have gone and knocked on the door, and explained to them (if we had a common language) about their exposed network and offered them some Euros for the use of it.

      There is the opposite side to this – if your laptop is set to connect automatically to a network, then it may connect itself to an unsecured network when you thought it was connecting to a different network. In my case, at first glance, it was not obvious that this was not a free network in the hotel (quite common in some hotels) and it was only because I was there for several nights and it switched off around midnight that I then began to wonder about the source.

      What we have is a technology that is being installed by many people who have no concept of what they are doing – they plug it in and set it up. When I do this for people, I secure their network and explain to them why I am doing it. One way of making it clear to them is to point out that if a guy in his car in the street was downloading child pornography through their connection, they would not know, and when the police came knocking on their door, it would be difficult to show that it wasn’t them. At this point, they usually understand why they should spend the extra few minutes setting up security, or having someone do this for them.

    • #3125759

      S’OK with me

      by peter.summersgill ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      I leave my home wireless wide open for anyone to use. I regard it as a neighbourly public service and would be most appreciative of anyone doing the same in a spirit of altruistic public benevolence. To me it’s allowing other people to use something that would otherwise be wasted. Consider it a bit like me putting my TV in my window and leaving it on for anyone to stand and watch should they so desire.
      However, having read some comments above I wonder if it’s ME who’s being unethincal and “stealing”. The ISP gives me a service as a home user, with an anticipated amount of traffic which might be exceeded if the whole neighbourhood jumps on my link.
      And, as my mate Jason pointed out, what happens when someone hacks the CIA from my access point?
      Scarey 🙂

    • #3125746

      No. I do not mind, but there is a catch

      by pakaka1i ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Personally, I think it matters the intentions of the wardriver. I don’t mind sharing with anyone that needs to send that urgent email and happens upon my wireless internet at work or home. If my internet were a farm and you you took an apple and ate it in the farm because you were hungry I woul d ind no harm in that. I would take exception if you gathered my harvest for profit, which is what people do when they become squatters on our bandwidth. A banner page that says that I can monitor usage and restrict abuse would suffice, but I’d know how to secure my wireless and usually do for my own safety. I can let my neighbour use my phone to call when there is pressing need why not my internet. Just so long as its not by habbit 😉

    • #3125737

      I think it doesn’t need a special law…

      by palkerekfy ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Is it illegal to use someone’s electrical outlet or water tap without permission? Let’s say, someone parks a camper on the street in front of your home, and connects it to electricity and water in your garden. Is it legal?

    • #3125735

      Who is the real criminal?

      by dominic_2002 ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Undoubtedly there are more people that exploit the open access or inscure wireless networks as a means to commit what would be thought of as illegal activity.

      There are actually people that intentionally leave ‘their’ networks open in metropolitan or residential areas just so that the unsuspecting person who wants to check their mail can easily get into a network that is ruled by the hacker who has the network setup and can then do all the damage or spying they want on the person who is technically not committing a crime by getting what is already free to them.

      Quite simply, I think there should be a law against leaving a network open with the intent of attracting the more ignorant community of pc users who stroll around with their laptops that have essentially just school work or pictures on them. Basically there is more of a threat to the majority of people that know how to connect to a insecure wireless network than those that leave them open.

      It is kind of difficult to pin-point the suspect, is it the person joining the network or the person that leaves it open for the most basic computer user to access?

      It would be difficult for FCC to regulate the security of wireless lans that have no access to a web server, but if they are able to some how have a way of controlling the policies of ISP’s, then perhaps they can make a law that allows only so much time before a secure network must be established for a customer with access to the global network.

    • #3125730

      Wardriving – Legal or not?

      by mvmughal ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      If the medium used is “public” frequency and not secure I don’t think there is any problem. Public frequencies are free for the public to use without FCC permission or the flip side the FCC has already granted permission for public to use and connect to those frequencies.

      In the comment from “Ned Rhinelander (CNET)” he stated “no one gave me permission to connect…” No one gives you permission to connect to any radio station, no one gives you permission to connect to the emegerency channels and listen in on scanners, no one give you permission to connect to news feeds using those huge dishes… They are all public frequencies. If they don’t want you they scramble their signals.

      The same is true with wireless if someone doesn’t want you secure it… it’s public frequency in public space! How about a step further public space in your private home, your neighbors access points blasting that ssid into your private space announcing “I’m SSID-X connect to me”?

    • #3125722

      Ethics Me Lad

      by tmcal ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      What is it that people no longer know right from wrong or
      understand that morals and ethics are not written into law, they are
      the basis which we live by and are not to be evoked arbitrarily when
      the situation suits our needs.

      • #3125696

        Hear! Hear!

        by not_me ·

        In reply to Ethics Me Lad

        Ethics is not governed by law!

      • #3125673

        The Ferengi

        by wordworker ·

        In reply to Ethics Me Lad

        I think the people who don’t care about right or wrong have identified too closely with the Ferengi of the Star Trek universe. Get what you want, any way you can, and to hell with rules of law or fair play – they don’t matter. Or maybe they’re existentialists and believe that there are no rules because there’s no reality except what they choose to believe.

      • #3125672

        duplicate post – sorry

        by wordworker ·

        In reply to Ethics Me Lad

      • #3125652

        I Agree

        by craig_b ·

        In reply to Ethics Me Lad

        It seems some people think, well, if their is no written law against it, it’s OK, right? They try to use logic to talk themselfs into doing something they “know” in their heart is wrong.

        If I use this logic that way; I could say that if you left your car unlocked and your laptop in it, I could take the laptop out use for awhile and put it back before you noticed and since their is no law about this it’s OK?

        Here’s the law that covers all this:
        Treat others as you would want to be treated.

      • #3126099

        Very well said

        by eric.p ·

        In reply to Ethics Me Lad

        It’s nice to see some people in this discussion have moral clarity and the ability to reason well.

    • #3125711

      Ah, but what about?

      by stsanford ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      What about this situation:
      I’m at a client’s doing an evaluation the other day. I get to talking, and leave my laptop on in his office while I walk around the site and discuss needs, etc.. I come back and have e-mail in my inbox! Obviously Windows Zero Config saw an insecure Wi-Fi network and linked me up. I didn’t do it purposely, but is this wardriving or just a happy mistake facillitated by my OS?

      What do I do, do I tell the person or company with the unsecured Wi-Fi AP that they do? I don’t know the area or where it might be. My solution. Disconnect (after replying to a message, hey, what the heck…) and say no more…

      Personally, I’m not a fan of Big Government, but I do believe that the Information Super Highway should be subsidized to an extent that there is FREE access to it via WiFi in towns and cities. Korea has it, why shouldn’t the US?

      • #3125374

        Bill for it!

        by ksat ·

        In reply to Ah, but what about?

        What would I do?? I would identify where the unsecured connection is coming from. Inform the owner that their wireless AP is unsecured and offer to secure it for them for a nominal fee. This is called free enterprise. I would fix it, configure the workstations appropriately and send them an invoice for the work I have done.

        Even if you didn’t do any work to secure it, you have done the right thing to inform them of the unsecured access point.

    • #3125709

      Try This

      by garyhussar ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      How about a little common sense?? Just because you can do something does not mean that you should. I think the cable industry went through these in the 80’s and 90’s when people thought it was okay to steal cable. Common sense can go a long way and can be applied to any situation.

    • #3125704

      Unlawful Use – Unapproved Usage

      by deadly ernest ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Unless you can prove that I have knowlingly left the system open for use by the general public you are using it without permission in an unlawful manner. Remember most of these systems are open because the people setting them up do NOT know how to lock them up properly, and the default settings are not that secure.

      What is the legal and moral difference between Wardriving and the situation where you leave your front door unlocked, for any reason, and I walk in and start using your computer to do my emails or play games or use your oven to heat up my meat pie; or you have left your car with the keys in it by accident and I use the car to drive to the mall and do some shopping and then return it later after putting some petrol in it. There is no difference between the three situations; in each the things were used without the prior approval of the owner being given in any clear or implied manner – this is an unlawful use of the item, some would say theft but that depends upon your local legal definition of theft (around here it is theft only if you intend to permanently deny them use or access). Unlawful use is usually a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions whilst theft often has heavier penalties.

      • #3125683

        Not the same

        by peter.summersgill ·

        In reply to Unlawful Use – Unapproved Usage

        Using my computer or microwave, you’re stealing my electricity. Using my car – even if you top up the gas, you’re stealing my tyre rubber, you’re stealing my depreciation, you’re stealing my insurance cover.
        Using some of my unused bandwidth though, is more like “stealing” an empty can from the trash I put out last night.

        • #3125662

          Lucky bugger – you have unused bandwidth

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to Not the same

          I use all the bandwidth I have and can not get enough, it is bad enough sharing the bandwidth with the other approved users within the household, and then nearly all the Internet access plans around here have set download limits, after which you pay per MB or part thereof. Your use of my access could actually push me into having to pay for excess downloads. When you use someone elses system without their knowledge or approval you have no way of knowing how much, if any, spare bandwidth they may, or may not, have or what their download limits and excess rates are.

          A few years ago I shared an ADSL service with my nephew and his fiancee (shared housing), they both used music sharing programs and the basic program gave other users of the service the ability to download their music from their computers. The unplanned and uncontrolled downloads via this system cost an extra $1,000 over 6 months before we could identify and shut down the cause; excess rates were bloody high. Wardriving could result in similar type problems for some people.

          Either way it is still the same basic situation as I outlined, use without approval is unlawful. Like using my land without permission to take a shortcut to the next street is also known as trespassing.

    • #3125677

      Would you use someones outside faucet?

      by onamission ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Only if you had to? Would you use the electrical outlet on someones porch? These are the analogies that come to mind when I think about someones open wifi connection. True, if they didn’t want anyone using it they would secure it, if they knew how. I really don’t think there are any excuses for a open wifi connection since most manufacturers spell it out in their manuals.

      • #3125632

        faucet, outlet …

        by billbo01028 ·

        In reply to Would you use someones outside faucet?

        references to using someones faucet & electrical outlet make me think of PHYSICAL trespassing. It is the end users responsibility & obligation to lock down their wireless. If they do not, it is a PUBLIC access point, ignorance is not a defense.

      • #3125622

        Not a good analogy

        by jimweathersbee ·

        In reply to Would you use someones outside faucet?

        Most people pay for electricity or water by the amount they use. If I had to pay for my water by the size of the pipe coming into my house instead of the amount of water I actually used then I would not mind if others use my outside faucet. If my car overheated and I needed to add water to it, I would not hesitate from using water that was running out into the street where someone was watering there lawn and some of the water was flowing onto public property. Just like if someone had an apple tree on there property, I would not go on there property and steal a apple. But if some fell off the tree and were laying on the public road I would not think twice about taking it.
        Just my 2 cents

      • #3125621

        Not a good analogy

        by redcell ·

        In reply to Would you use someones outside faucet?

        The water faucet/electrical outlet is not really a good example. For it to be a good exapmle you would have to think of it as a water hose that is turned on or an extension cord that has been tossed over into your yard.

        Just a thought…

    • #3125668

      Re: Wardriving – Legal or not?

      by caryxander ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      Consider this true scenario. I’m average computer user, Joe Shmo. I have a wireless DSL connection at home that I paid my neighborhood computer guy to set up for me. Every day I plug in my laptop and connect to my wireless network and check my email or whatnot. One day, I come home from work and connect my laptop, but instead of automatically connecting to my wireless network, I’m presented with a message on my screen that says “wireless network detected”. When I click the popup bubble, and there are three available, unsecured wireless networks. I have no idea what they are or which one is mine. Is it my responsibility as average Joe Shmo to research who’s networks they are? In the interest of getting to the task of checking email and such, it reasonable to just click the connect button and assume for the time being that unsecured must mean public?

      • #3125658

        If you are transmitting your wireless access ….

        by pwoods ·

        In reply to Re: Wardriving – Legal or not?

        If you are transmitting your wireless access for all the world to see and use, why are you suprised when someone uses it? It is like getting undressed in front of your bedroom window. You may not be comfortable with what everyone can see, but the answer is to SECURE YOUR WIRELESS CONNECTION and turn off your router when it is not in use. And what harm is being done anyway? You do not lose access while others use it. You don’t even know that anyone is doing it unless they are stupidly obvious about it. If it creeps you out for people to be using your access (and I can see that it is a lot like somebody walking in an unlocked door), then put security on your connection and be done. Otherwise, stop whining. If I need a connection and it is available I use it just like I listen to any radio station that transmits without fee or apology to the transmitter.

    • #3125661

      Reply To: Wardriving – Legal or not?

      by alexbra ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      IMO I don’t think that ethics and law should be correlated. What is ethical may not be illegal and vice versa.
      If you were to look at it and ask why it would be considered unethical I would imagine it is because someone is paying for use of a service so that they may benefit from it. When you use thier services, you are reaping the benefits which they have paid for and you have not. That isn’t distributively just.

      The service the pays for provides satisfaction, the same as other services or goods. If I pay a buck for a candy bar and you come and scrape away a mm of my candy bar then you are taking for yourself that much satisfaction. Will I notice it… probably not, but that isn’t relevant. If it were relevant then I could steal about 80% of my grandma’s wealth.. they won’t notice it.

    • #3125631

      Open WiFi is not stealing

      by ludedude25 ·

      In reply to Wardriving – Legal or not?

      If it can be reached outside the home, Is obviously not secured, and the person didn’t make any attempt to secure it how is it stealing.

      If you want security it is there, it is the owners responsibility to secure there network “or have someone else do it” if they don’t want someone using their wireless internet.

      Look how many places have hot spots now, gas stations, coffee shops, various restaraunts, hospitals, motels, etc. Now some hotels have went with limited bandwidth and you must request wifi at the desk so they can give you access.

      Why should the average home user be any different? Or should you blame the router wifi manufacturer for having it default wide open? Regardless when you setup a router you have to log into it and configure it for your broadband connection if you have wireless and don’t disable it or secure it, it’s your Negligence. Now your blaming me for your Negligence!?

      When I want to get rid of something around here I sit it out by the curb. You wouldn’t sit all your personal belongings out by the curb unsecure would you.

      Cars have locks to keep people out, Homes have locks to keep people out, Business have locks to keep people out, WIFI has locks to keep people out! It’s as simple as that.

      Now if someone were to hack into another’s secured wifi that would be different, now were talkin stealing/ breaking and entering.


      ps. mine is wide open but i do check the log on a regular basis and if someone is using it excessively, bam I block their MAC address.

      I love stirring the pot!

      • #3125607

        Thats so great!!!

        by kphayes710 ·

        In reply to Open WiFi is not stealing

        I also keep my Wi-Fi open mostly because I don’t live in a busy area, but the MAC address thing is genius.

        About the open Wi-Fi connection. I deal with setup and securing wireless networks as well as other things but my feeling is that if you leave your wireless connection unsecured then you are basically saying “Please use my internet access. Now I heard about there being a legality with unauthorized access to a wireless network. I can’t remember where it was but what the author of this post did would be considered illegal. However then you have to get into the wording of the law and ask “if someone leaves their network open is that considered authorization to use their network?” In my opinion, when someone leaves their network open then it is their authorizing anyone to use it.

      • #3125603

        Do you mean that I am free to use your car if unlocked?

        by palkerekfy ·

        In reply to Open WiFi is not stealing

        Or enter your home if unlocked? Isn’t it still trespassing?

        • #3125593

          Not the same thing…

          by nicholas.tallant ·

          In reply to Do you mean that I am free to use your car if unlocked?

          First off you cant compare that, it is like comparing murder to purgery…

          Listen to yourself, comparing burglary to a legal unethical activity.

          And people are allowed to drive your car if you are broadcasting “My car is unlocked, the keys are in the ignition, I want care if you take it for a ride”

          No different than an open WAP, anyone who doesnt have a secure router is just irresponsible. They should read and know the risk before and after purchasing and if they can not secure it they should hire an appropriate technician to do so.

          OPEN WAP – Legal

        • #3125542

          Theft of services…

          by stevel ·

          In reply to Not the same thing…

          Using a service that someone else has paid for with out their permission. For example:
          Throwing your garbage into someone else’s garbage can is illegal. You are using the garbage pickup service that they have paid for without their permission. Just because they didn’t lock the top of their garbage can doesn’t make it free for everyone to use. It is defined as Theft of Services and in most places you will be fined if caught.

        • #3126140

          Someone with the right answer.

          by nicholas.tallant ·

          In reply to Theft of services…

          Steve, you are absolutely correct in most states it is illegal to use the wifi, but it is LEGAL to view the waps.

          1 problem, Theft of services isnt a law in all 50 states.

        • #3125537