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Hey Neighbor, Stop Piggybacking on My Wireless
New York Times ^ | 3/5/06 | MICHEL MARRIOTT

Posted on 03/04/2006 11:44:18 PM PST by conservative in nyc

For a while, the wireless Internet connection Christine and Randy Brodeur installed last year seemed perfect. They were able to sit in their sunny Los Angeles backyard working on their laptop computers.

But they soon began noticing that their high-speed Internet access had become as slow as rush-hour traffic on the 405 freeway.

"I didn't know whether to blame it on the Santa Ana winds or what," recalled Mrs. Brodeur, the chief executive of Socket Media, a marketing and public relations agency.

The "what" turned out to be neighbors who had tapped into their system. The additional online traffic nearly choked out the Brodeurs, who pay a $40 monthly fee for their Internet service, slowing their access until it was practically unusable.

Piggybacking, the usually unauthorized tapping into someone else's wireless Internet connection, is no longer the exclusive domain of pilfering computer geeks or shady hackers cruising for unguarded networks. Ordinarily upstanding people are tapping in. As they do, new sets of Internet behaviors are creeping into America's popular culture.

"I don't think it's stealing," said Edwin Caroso, a 21-year-old student at Miami Dade College, echoing an often-heard sentiment.

"I always find people out there who aren't protecting their connection, so I just feel free to go ahead and use it," Mr. Caroso said. He added that he tapped into a stranger's network mainly for Web surfing, keeping up with e-mail, text chatting with friends in foreign countries and doing homework.

Many who piggyback say the practice does not feel like theft because it does not seem to take anything away from anyone. One occasional piggybacker recently compared it to "reading the newspaper over someone's shoulder."

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: computerinfo; computers; crime; dishonesty; internet; thievery; wifi; wireless; wirelesssecurity
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I'm always amazed (but not shocked) by the number of totally unsecured wireless networks you can find in a place like New York City. I wonder how many of these people have been sued by the over-zealous RIAA when someone illegally downloaded music using their network.
1 posted on 03/04/2006 11:44:20 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc

Two words: WEP Key.


2 posted on 03/04/2006 11:52:12 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (Peace Begins in the Womb)
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To: Blue Jays
Hi All-

Sitting in my suburban living room I have access to four wireless networks that aren't mine. I can't believe the signals are so strong they cut across the wooded neighborhood and through the walls of my home...but they do.

~ Blue Jays ~

3 posted on 03/04/2006 11:52:37 PM PST by Blue Jays (Rock Hard, Ride Free)
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To: conservative in nyc

It's called a WEP KEY. It's real easy to put on your router and then no more free rides.


4 posted on 03/04/2006 11:52:50 PM PST by txroadkill
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To: conservative in nyc

If you don't want to share, use WEP. If you leave it open, then assume it's going to be used.


5 posted on 03/04/2006 11:53:16 PM PST by ndt
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To: conservative in nyc

I have four other networks I could piggyback off right now if I wanted to. (I don't though)


6 posted on 03/04/2006 11:54:48 PM PST by Welsh Rabbit
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To: Jeff Chandler
Two words: WEP Key.

One word: USELESS

WEP is completely compromised. Only WPA will offer any protection. Also, turn off the SSID broadcast feature.

7 posted on 03/04/2006 11:54:53 PM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: conservative in nyc

We were at a function recently and two people that had wireless turned on their computers and said they were definately getting a signal from someone else's service. They were trying to get their own. They said as they move through the neighborhood, they pick up diffent people's service.


8 posted on 03/04/2006 11:55:59 PM PST by BJungNan
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To: conservative in nyc

As an employee of a cable company (that offers broadband and wireless services) it comes actoss to me as the same logic as people who steal cable "nobody told me I couldn't use it, it was already there, blah, blah" but, IMO, if anybody transports a signal through the air space in my property and doesn't secure it, I ought to have the right to access it. That goes for satellite television, radio signals and, alas, wireless frequencies. You invaded my property so why should I not avail myself of your signal?

I know the law says you can't but common sense says you should. If somebody leaves a crate of oranges on my doorstep, is it wrong of me to eat them? Same principle.
Now if the user protects the signal from being used/intercepted, it should not be fair game for hackers but people who just expose themselves to this sort of thing probably deserve the inconvenience of freeloaders.

FWIW, I have never taken signals unlawfully. My employer comps my cable and internet.


9 posted on 03/04/2006 11:56:11 PM PST by Tall_Texan (Hate means never having to say you're crazy.)
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To: Petronski

You are correct of course, but the problem in most cases is just causal leaching. If someone is actively trying to break into your network the casual leach is the least of your problems.


10 posted on 03/04/2006 11:57:18 PM PST by ndt
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To: Petronski
WEP futility. There are also commonly available cracking tools that will bust open WEP with zero difficulty or expertise.
11 posted on 03/04/2006 11:57:50 PM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: conservative in nyc
"I didn't know whether to blame it on the Santa Ana winds or what," recalled Mrs. Brodeur, the chief executive of Socket Media, a marketing and public relations agency.

Wow. This sort of imbecility is what paases for "chief executive" these days? Or is she Socket's only employee?

12 posted on 03/04/2006 11:57:50 PM PST by Dont Mention the War (This tagline is false.)
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To: conservative in nyc
Hey Neighbor, Stop Piggybacking on My Wireless

Hey Neighbor, stop broadcasting your unprotected connection.

13 posted on 03/04/2006 11:58:59 PM PST by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Petronski
I prefer MAC address registering.
14 posted on 03/04/2006 11:59:41 PM PST by Private_Sector_Does_It_Better (The UN did such a great job with Oil for Food in Iraq, let's let them run the whole country)
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To: Petronski
Here's a more accessible comparo. WPA is not perfect either, but put it this way: WEP is the equivalent of closing your front door, WPA is more like closing it, latching and locking it, and securing the deadbolt as well.
15 posted on 03/05/2006 12:00:43 AM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: Private_Sector_Does_It_Better
I prefer MAC address registering.

Excellent. The truly diligent will do all three: WPA, no-SSID broadcast, and MAC registration.

16 posted on 03/05/2006 12:01:44 AM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: conservative in nyc

Hey Neighbor, Stop Piggybacking on My Wireless"

Hey idiot, set up some security


17 posted on 03/05/2006 12:04:51 AM PST by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get.)
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To: conservative in nyc

Im on my laptop right now in the kitchen, and i have the option of 4 different wireless connections right now! LOL! Most of the time when i boot up it automatically chooses one of the neighbors wireless network. I wonder how this wireless thing can be good in terms of security with the CIA and the tracking of bad guys since anyone can roam around and tap into anyones wireless network...


18 posted on 03/05/2006 12:05:11 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: conservative in nyc
Turn off SSID beacons. Turn on WPA. Turn off DHCP. Assign static IP addresses to each MAC address of devices you are willing to have connected to your wireless. Check your wireless router logs often to see if you have a hard core thief willing to clone your MAC addresses.

My son invited one of his hacker buddies to my home. He holds every conceivable computer associated certificate. The kid is obsessive/compulsive about passing every one of the exams. He was sure he could break in. He never succeeded.

19 posted on 03/05/2006 12:06:07 AM PST by Myrddin
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To: Dont Mention the War
Wow. This sort of imbecility is what paases for "chief executive" these days? Or is she Socket's only employee?

Check the recent press on the former CEO of Radio Shack. That will give you a clue.

20 posted on 03/05/2006 12:07:31 AM PST by Myrddin
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To: Tall_Texan

I just can't fight your logic!

If it's in the air, it's fair game!


21 posted on 03/05/2006 12:09:11 AM PST by NYTexan (Where is MY global warming?)
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To: Echo Talon
I wonder how this wireless thing can be good in terms of security with the CIA and the tracking of bad guys since anyone can roam around and tap into anyones wireless network...

Oh my yes. Someone could drive by and email a threat to the President. Good luck proving it wasn't you....

22 posted on 03/05/2006 12:09:17 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: conservative in nyc
. I wonder how many of these people have been sued by the over-zealous RIAA when someone illegally downloaded music using their network.

Just think of the damage you could do to someone you didn't like by using their IP to download say, kiddie porn, or bomb making recipes, then putting a little note in to the authorities....
23 posted on 03/05/2006 12:09:29 AM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
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To: Myrddin

but he was not a l33t h@X04


24 posted on 03/05/2006 12:10:38 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: Petronski
Dummy here. Please explain to me, in the morning, what this is all about. I don't want anyone to use my wireless, I didn't know it was possible. Please explain what it is I need to know/do to protect myself.

Signed,
Ignorant to accessibility
25 posted on 03/05/2006 12:12:40 AM PST by georgiagirl3814 (I'm Thelma)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Oh my yes. Someone could drive by and email a threat to the President. Good luck proving it wasn't you

Well, not just that, but terrorist talking to each other and the rest

26 posted on 03/05/2006 12:13:51 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Jeff Chandler
Two words: WEP Key.

I know that (and to keep the network somewhat hidden by not broadcasting the SSID). Many people don't. Most folks around here don't even bother changing their router name from the factory default setting, let alone lock people out.
27 posted on 03/05/2006 12:15:29 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: georgiagirl3814

I'm curious if the instructions that came with your wireless whatever even made more than a passing mention of security.


28 posted on 03/05/2006 12:16:00 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: Kozak
Just think of the damage you could do to someone you didn't like by using their IP to download say, kiddie porn, or bomb making recipes, then putting a little note in to the authorities....

Bingo! hmmm kind of scary. I bring my laptop in my car and i get wireless connection when i pull into most gas stations and other businesses

29 posted on 03/05/2006 12:16:30 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Echo Talon

And imagine if they were using FR as the rendezvous point. Wouldn't that be a bummer.


30 posted on 03/05/2006 12:16:50 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: conservative in nyc
"There's no gauge, no measuring device that says 48 people are using your access," Ms. Edwards said.

There are freeware sniffer programs that can show what addresses your router has assigned. However, they use Winpcap (also free) to detect network cards so most sniffing devices have to be hard wired into the router. There are some wireless cards that work with Winpcap and they are listed on the Winpcap Web site.

32 posted on 03/05/2006 12:18:00 AM PST by etcetera
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To: conservative in nyc
WEP is better than nothing, but it is much more secure to use one of the later technologies, such as WPA. WEP was hacked a long time ago.

This is a reasonable guide to setting up WPA:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1277022,00.asp

33 posted on 03/05/2006 12:18:45 AM PST by TChad
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To: HiTech RedNeck

If we seen t's posting to each other i think we would get them banned! :) unless they were freepmailing each other then it would be hard US to know what they were doing, although the MODs can probably read that stuff.


34 posted on 03/05/2006 12:21:41 AM PST by Echo Talon
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To: Petronski
When not in need of my wireless I hot swap the cable modem back to the internal card. My wireless HUB, not being MIMO, cuts down my speed. The swapping gives me an absolute lockout and takes all of 5 seconds. Plus, I never do any financial stuff over the wireless. :-)
35 posted on 03/05/2006 12:21:45 AM PST by JoeSixPack1
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To: georgiagirl3814
If your browser can handle flash, click here then click on the picture of the daddy and the little girl:

You'll see a nice basic primer on all this.

36 posted on 03/05/2006 12:22:47 AM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: Jeff Chandler
First, I create a user name and password for my router. Then I designate the total number of users to the number of computers in the household (3). Then, I change the wireless settings to only allow the specific MAC addressed of the computers I have. Then, I create the WEP key.

Overkill?

38 posted on 03/05/2006 12:25:25 AM PST by Maximus_Ridiculousness (Chlo-eee! Chlo-eee! Chlo-eee!)
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To: NYTexan
If it's in the air, it's fair game!

I agree, I do it all the time, I travel a lot and always seem to get a signal wherever I go, really convenient.
39 posted on 03/05/2006 12:27:37 AM PST by garylmoore (Homosexuality: Obviously unnatural, so obviously wrong.)
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To: conservative in nyc
It's also called wardriving.

Wardriving.Com

40 posted on 03/05/2006 12:29:54 AM PST by Bon mots
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To: Powerclam

It's not wrong at all. You're being naive.

Anyone who wants it can google up the WEP crack and break in. It can be done in three minutes.

If you are relying on WEP, you are a fool.


41 posted on 03/05/2006 12:31:03 AM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: Dont Mention the War

"This sort of imbecility is what paases for"

Not all executives are tech "weenies".

And, just in case you did'nt notice, stealing is still a crime...even if the victim is unaware of the theft.


42 posted on 03/05/2006 12:31:54 AM PST by CBart95
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To: conservative in nyc

I have a Linksys WPC11 and I've never been able to make it work under any conditions. If I run it in AdHoc mode, I'm getting a signal, but can't ping anybody.

Course my understanding of microsoft networking is almost nonexistent. Bring back VTAM!!!


43 posted on 03/05/2006 12:33:22 AM PST by djf (I'm not Islamophobic. But I am bombophobic! If that's the same, freakin deal with it!)
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To: Powerclam

self ping for later.


44 posted on 03/05/2006 12:33:34 AM PST by MonroeDNA (Look for the union label--on the bat crashing through your windshield!)
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To: Echo Talon
Im on my laptop right now in the kitchen, and i have the option of 4 different wireless connections right now! LOL!

Damn! Why don't I have neighbors like that? I just got a laptop and was cruising around for an unprotected connection. I can't believe that none of my neighbors, several of whom work for MS up here in Seattle, don't have a connection - since they work for MS, I was pretty sure it would be unprotected. : )

45 posted on 03/05/2006 12:36:49 AM PST by radiohead (Hey Kerry, I'm still here; still hating your lying, stinking guts, you coward.)
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To: Private_Sector_Does_It_Better
I prefer MAC address registering.

From http://www.cs.umd.edu/~waa/wireless.pdf:

4.2 Ethernet MAC Address Access Control Lists

In theory, access control lists provide a reasonable level of security when a strong form of identity is used. Unfortunately, this is not the case with MAC addresses for two reasons. First, MAC addresses are easily sniffed by an attacker since they MUST appear in the clear even when WEP is enabled, and second most all of the wireless cards permit the changing of their MAC address via software. As a result, an attacker can easily determine the MAC addresses permitted access via eavesdropping, and then subsequently masquerade as a valid address by programming the desired address into the wireless card– by-passing the access control and gaining access to the “protected” network.

46 posted on 03/05/2006 12:36:59 AM PST by TChad
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To: Echo Talon

Freepmail in code could probably go on for quite a while until someone in a suit knocked on Jim Rob's door asking to look at the system.


47 posted on 03/05/2006 12:38:14 AM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: garylmoore

I don't think its stealing, its barrowing something that they can never use again, their bandwith at that exact moment. The only person being hurt is the service provider who is probably overcharging anyway.


48 posted on 03/05/2006 12:38:21 AM PST by RHINO369
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To: Petronski
Also, check out this key generator from Gibson Research Corporation. Gibson claims that these keys use maximum randomization to make them very difficult to crack, instead of using a short password that generates a less random key.

I copy the key to a text file and store it on a USB flash drive. Then I copy it to each PC on my wireless network as the PSK. This also makes it easy to change the key over time.

-PJ

49 posted on 03/05/2006 12:39:35 AM PST by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
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To: Dont Mention the War

"PIGGYBACKING" is a term dishonest people use to describe stealing.

Stealing is a crime.


50 posted on 03/05/2006 12:40:57 AM PST by CBart95
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