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    Thread: Stealing Wifi, jail/fines?

    1. #1
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      Stealing Wifi, jail/fines?

      What sort of penalties are there for breaking into a neighbor's WEP router? Even if someone got the password only by using http://xkyle.com/other/wep.html to calculate the WEP from the ESSID of FiOS routers (so he/she didn't do any real password cracking)?
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    2. #2
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      I haven't ever heard about anyone getting prosecuted for stealing wifi, but I haven't ever looked either. unless the owner is looking in their router page, the only thing that could tip them off that someone is stealing their wifi, as far as I know, is if their connection suddenly slowed down. as long as you aren't downloading torrents or anything, and as long as they aren't techies, they won't notice.

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      Well, I guess it's back to the internet cafe for me...

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      If it wasn't secured in the first place, it probably wouldn't be a big deal. Their ISP would tell them to secure their wifi and move on. But if they catch you using it after it has been secured (aka you cracking their key) then you could get into some trouble.

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      Quote Originally Posted by blindkilla View Post
      If it wasn't secured in the first place, it probably wouldn't be a big deal. Their ISP would tell them to secure their wifi and move on. But if they catch you using it after it has been secured (aka you cracking their key) then you could get into some trouble.
      It is still illegal and a really douchy thing to do without permission.

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    7. #7
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      Of course, there is this thing called ethicality...
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      I've heard of people getting in trouble for piggybacking off others' connections. I don't know what the criminal penalties are for it in the US, but the fact that there might be tells me you should find a wi-fi hotspot available to the public - McDonalds, credit unions (for their members), some car dealerships, public libraries, they've got 'em.
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      Even if they were nice and didn't want to press charges, they would probably still sue you.

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      How does someone determine who is using the bandwidth on your network, after they've discovered the infiltrator?

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      Most routers allow logging of different connections, by looking at the MAC adress, a physical unique adress that all computers have. If there is a foreign adress in the log, that means somebody is piggybacking on your wifi. It's hard to determine physically who it is, but then most routers also allow blocking of specific MAC adresses.

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    12. #12
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      Well, let's assume there is no arrest, no trouble, and no one figures out you just charged up your neighbor's internet bill.


      It would still be pretty unethical.

      Like Clyde said, you can find plenty of free wifi hotspots all around. Go to McDonalds, order something off the dollar menu, and boom! One dollar wifi plus a hamburger.
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      Uhh... internet bills do not depend on how active the connection is, it's a fixed rate

      Also, since most computers will automatically connect to an open wifi connection if it doesn't find it's default one, you can just claim that you didn't realize that you were leaching it. Of course, that won't work if you hack a password protected one.
      Mario92 and Clyde Machine like this.

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      Lol, I've been leeching off one of my neighbor's connection since the beginning of the first semester. (thomson routers, which are used by one of the most popular ISP around here, come with a default password that can be discovered by applying a known algorithm to the default SSID, and many people don't bother changing the default settings)

      Just surfing around the web does no harm and isn't noticeable. And the thought of the neighbors finding out and actually seeking legal action sounds very unrealistic to me, they'd probably just change the password...
      Last edited by Scatterbrain; 07-04-2010 at 07:51 PM.
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      I guess you can compare people leeching your wi-fi, to having a random person sleeping in your garage. It might not be a problem, but it's kind of weird.
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    16. #16
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      Realistically, most people have more bandwidth than they use 99% of the time. That's plenty to support an extra person or even several extra people without any noticeable decline in speed. Unless you're taking on a hacker, most people won't be any the wiser. I wouldn't go about trying to crack their key, but if you find an unsecured network nearby, I couldn't imagine anyone getting miffed from piggybacking off of it...unless you're doing something like torrenting hundreds of gigs of data constantly, consuming the bandwidth and getting them in serious trouble. Or looking like the creeper in the van that you are.

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    17. #17
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by Noogah View Post
      Well, let's assume there is no arrest, no trouble, and no one figures out you just charged up your neighbor's internet bill.


      It would still be pretty unethical.

      Like Clyde said, you can find plenty of free wifi hotspots all around. Go to McDonalds, order something off the dollar menu, and boom! One dollar wifi plus a hamburger.
      And heart disease.

    18. #18
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      Like someone else said, if you cracked a password to get in, you're fucked. Next time, just don't be such a nerd and pay for internet yourself. This hasn't been cool since...... well let's be honest, it never has.

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