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The ethics of stealing a wi fi

Is it ethical to use other people's unsecured wifi? October 25, 2004 8: Not being all that interested in Wireless, I am also grossly underinformed on the subject. But now, I have discovered that, at the apartment building in which I am currently squatting, I am within range of several wireless networks, including a few that are unsecured, with names like "linksys" and "NETGEAR".

So, please tell me why I should never ever ever connect to any of these strangers' networks. Is it more dishonest than stealing cable? Would I get caught within five minutes? Am I endangering my new laptop to evil infections?

Or is there a way to do it that would not be so illegal, immoral or fattenning? The ethics of stealing a wi fi don't respect me less because I've asked this question. They can log everything you do. I think you're free to assume if they don't put up even the slightest barrier WEPthey want it public. That being said, if you live in one of those backwards countries where people pay by the byte for bandwidth, unless the access point is obviously meant to be free, you are kinda raising the guy's bills.

That's not nice, and is probably regarded by some as "stealing". Anyone who is using 802. In the former case, if you abuse it by downloading lots of big files and make their internet slow, or start to download pirate stuff and get them in trouble, then they'll notice.

But they probably still won't know it's you. In the latter case, they'll know instantly. That's kinda the point! If you're worried about this, use a wireless card that you can change the MAC on. Note that if you do get in trouble, doing this weakens your case that you thought it was free internet. Ask the owners of the WAP first. The person who opened up access to you is unlikely even to know, let alone mind, that you've used it. If he does object, there's easy recourse: And while the failure to lock a door may indicate carelessness, not consent, in this case it does suggest indifference.

Godwin does warn of the tragedy of the commons, however, which here means you have an obligation not to use too much bandwidth -- by downloading massive music files, for example, which would inconvenience other users.

Identity Theft

Can someone here recommend a good starting point for ways to: BUT, i'd still ask around if i lived here indeed, i googled for the SSID, since it's kind of unique, in the hope of finding an email contact. When I tested this on my own network to see what sorts of stuff I was sending flying out my window, no warnings of any type ever popped up, and I was amazed and the amount of info that was plainly visible in the data stream.

The APs in my house are open, and accessible from a few public areas. I just use a firewall to prioritize the visitors traffic appropriately.

  1. Absent some positive evidence of consent, a polite person wouldn't use someone else's stuff, at least not outside an emergency. He even positioned his router so that anyone in the church across the street could pick up a signal.
  2. Would I get caught within five minutes?
  3. Godwin does warn of the tragedy of the commons, however, which here means you have an obligation not to use too much bandwidth -- by downloading massive music files, for example, which would inconvenience other users.

But yah, don't send cleartext passwords. If I wanted to be an asshole, I could snoop all the traffic.

The ethics of "stealing" a WiFi connection

You don't get to borrow other people's stuff without their consent simply because it's easy to do. Equally dishonest, which is pretty dishonest.

Simply failing to lock it down isn't consent; that's just carelessness. WAPs aren't like cars. Cars have doors, and it's assumed if there's a door, permission is the ethics of stealing a wi fi to use said item even if it is implicit permission, like the washroom door at a restaurant.

So, it might be somewhat morally wrong to use a WAP without permission, it's not "stealing cable" because you didn't break into the cable box, or break any explicit rules. Which reminds me, using an open WAP in Canada without permission is illegal.

Andrew Cooke already said this, but was perhaps too polite: Encrypted traffic simply can't be logged in any way that is useful to the logger without performing a man-in-the-middle attack, and that is not a simple thing to do.

Those who are equipped to do so and actually make use of the information are not going to be setting up wireless points to trap the unsuspecting public in small numbers - they are going to be trying to be breaking into routers that large amounts of traffic go through. Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now man-in-the-middle attack! It is also possible that the RSA host key has just been changed.

The Dangers of Borrowing Someone Else

The fingerprint for the RSA key sent by the remote host is 10: Please contact your system administrator. Host key verification failed. If you think that living in a building without permission is ok, then I'm suprised that you have second thoughts about using an open AP.

Unless you didn't mean that kind of squatting, in which case I probably owe you an apology. I do have an open AP and I don't care if strangers use it as long as they behave themselves posted by mbell at 2: I leave my WAP open these days. I occasionally find someone on it, but I've never noticed a slowdown because of it. If it gets to that point, I'll lock it down, but until then. If you're just checking your email or browsing the web while piggybacking off of someone's connection you're OK.

If you're downloading full-DVD resolution pirated films off of someone else's connection, you're not OK. I could set up a closed WAP on one and an open one on the other, right?

Would there be any reason not to? The hardware is cheap enough to buy two. Which is fine, but doesn't really address the question of whether or not you should use an open WAP that ID's as "Linksys" or one the ethics of stealing a wi fi the other out-of-the-box ID's. You think they were left open on purpose, as an invitation. I think they were left open through inattention, no more an invitation than an unlocked door.

Absent some positive evidence of consent, a polite person wouldn't use someone else's stuff, at least not outside an emergency. The installation instructions for the most common routers do not mention security at all.

Many people don't even know that you can secure the ethics of stealing a wi fi things. When you point it out to them, they'll want security of some sort, but doing so is beyond the level that most people are ready to go.

I assume that default-ssid network owners are unaware rather than willing to share. Even if it is "free" or marginal cost, it's still kind of skanky.

You wouldn't use someone's cell without asking would you? There's more apathy surrounding this issue than anything else. I also find it hard to believe that people "intend to make it public" when the thing has the default settings. Define "abuse" appropriately to the enviornment. That's pretty much what I said last time. Not as far as my google searching can find out, anyway.

The ethics of “stealing” a WiFi connection

I'm certainly not going to take my legal advice on this matter from some ill-informed reporter who in the article you linked to describes it as "stealing internet signals", or from John Dvorak.

Here is a slightly less alarmist article on the subject, also written after that little incident in Toronto, which says that whether its illegal is still untested. Do you have some evidence to show otherwise? My WAP is wide open, for the benefit of the large majority of wi-fi users who are polite and law-abiding. If it ever gets abused, I'll have to limit its bandwidth. I have discovered that, at the apartment building in which I am currently squatting, I the ethics of stealing a wi fi within range of several wireless networks Normally I'd say you shouldn't be using other people's networks from your own home.

But if that isn't practical for some reason, just keep the bandwidth use to an absolute minimum to be polite. I leave mine open specifically so that people will be able to use it. The network ID says "open for all". As far as I can tell there are three or four neighbors who regularly check their email using my system. This makes me happy. I dream of a day when internet access is omnipresent and free, and citydwellers take it for granted that they can pop their laptops open just about anywhere and check their email.

I think there should be a day school for people who enjoy reading that as a hobby. Anyways, here you go: This may also be of interest. The law might not pass the Charter litmus test. A law this broad probably has plenty of common law precedence to ensure you have to be a REALLY malicious person to actually break it, and, as you might notice, telecommunications facilities are not computers. It is connected to a phone line, after all. Of course, to check if the Charter protects you, rather than common law, you have to break the law and gamble with your crimnal record.

Sorry I pretty much duplicated Cunning Linguist's AskMe from June, but back then I was definately not thinking about Wireless, and my pre-search was sabotaged by my unfamiliarity with Wireless lingo. As for my "squatting" comment, I'm 'visiting' my Father's apartment for the second time in the last year and staying at least a month longer than the 'house rules' allow.

But Dear Old Dad is paranoid about the landlord, so he's "hiding" me until I can get a permanent place. Well, I'd say it certainly should count as a telecommunication service. My use is never fraudulent or malicious, so it depends on "the colour of right".

  • My WAP is wide open, for the benefit of the large majority of wi-fi users who are polite and law-abiding;
  • Not being all that interested in Wireless, I am also grossly underinformed on the subject;
  • I have no idea what that means exactly, but like others have said, by default I assume that an open AP is most likely placed there for people to use, which IMO would lead to a reasonable expectation of the right to use it;
  • That being said, if you live in one of those backwards countries where people pay by the byte for bandwidth, unless the access point is obviously meant to be free, you are kinda raising the guy's bills.

I have no idea what that means exactly, but like others have said, by default I assume that an open AP is most likely placed there for people to use, which IMO would lead to a reasonable expectation of the right to use it.