Spoiling it for the rest of us

Two cautioned over wi-fi ‘theft’ cries the Beeb. And it’s a fair call putting “theft” in quotes. After all, the UK has a lot of “unlimited access” accounts unlike Oz and NZ where people have a monthly limit. So where’s the harm? It’s not like tapping into the electric supply is it?

As the article rightly points out, if some piece of filth decides to use your wireless connection to access – for example – child porn, guess who’s door the police will come knocking on if it’s traced? OK, you’ll eventually be able to prove your innocence but only after they’ve taken all your PC stuff away for a few weeks and embarassed you.

Much as I love free internet – and I’m currently typing this up on a free connection courtesy of a cafe across the street – private users do have to be careful. If you don’t want someone using your connection, protect it. Read the manual. It’s not hard.

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And this is why I insisted that my parents let me set up our wireless network. It’s protected with all sorts of WEP keys and other nonsense that they don’t understand and I can just about get my head round. Anyways, I just know that none of my neighbours are stealing my broadband!


The simplest way in the world is to change the name of the network and not broadcast it. The casual snooper won’t even know it’s there. Then you chuck the WEP keys on, then you manually permit certain MAC addresses… and it’s all so flipping easy!

Chris Parr

I don’t really get this.

The person owning the wireless router is actively broadcasting the signal, so isn’t it their own fault? If they don’t want anyone to access it then they should secure it. I wonder how successful the prosecution would be if the router had the name “free_internet”?

I wonder if this is setting a precedent? I think I’ll turn my stereo up full blast and then sue anyone who can hear it for stealing my music!



I think the argument is that if you left a pile of cash sat around without a locked box around it, is it still theft if someone wanders by and helps themselves? I’d say yes.

Having said that, if someone’s stupid enough to leave cash lying around unguarded then it’s their own problem. Frankly, I can’t believe one guy was sad enough to park up and put cardboard over his car windows!


It’s amazing what people will do to get free p0rn.

Having said that, my wireless network is protected, but at the same time connecting stuff to it is pretty much impossible. And I know what the passwords are. Half the time I end up having to disable the passwords just to get wireless back on. And then there’s having to deal with sub-56k modem speeds – even when the PC is connected to the router via Ethernet. *grrr*

Chris Parr

Hiding in a car with cardboard taped to the windows raises questions in itself. What is wrong with a good old magazine?

I’ve had a pretty trouble free expreience with wi-fi up to now. The only pain in the arse thing is knowing the WEP password, but the computer you are adding wants the HEX version and wont accept it in human readable form and convert it to hex for you. That means connecting directly to the router, writing down the hex, disconnecting and typing it in.

A small hassle, but a hassle all the same.


I tend to just connect stuff to the network and it stays there. Or did, when I had one.

I agree with the WEP problem. You give it a nice, simple, long English phrase and anything that connects needs an awful, complex, long hex string. Which means you write it down somewhere. Which makes it insecure.

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