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Poll

Is "stealing" wifi bad?

Yes
- 14 (20.3%)
Maybe
- 4 (5.8%)
No
- 20 (29%)
Unsure
- 4 (5.8%)
Depends
- 27 (39.1%)

Total Members Voted: 29


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Author Topic: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth  (Read 38989 times)

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Zhwazi

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I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« on: December 15, 2006, 04:03:56 AM »

Since I live in an RV and could be moving anytime now, and the ISP won't let us sign up for anything less than 1 year, I've been stealing wifi for the past few months. I'm so close to the edge of the range that just sitting the wrong way cuts off the connection.

Am I doing something wrong?

Way I see it, wifi routers and antenna themselves are private property, and so the owner deserves total control over who can connect. They're free to use WEP, I haven't even tried to get into the only encrypted wifi connection here (one of three I can access from here, all have shitty reception), so it's not like I'm trying to get where the owner doesn't want me to be.

So, is it wrong to connect to someone else's residential wifi if no attempt is made to keep you out?
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Ecolitan

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2006, 06:24:33 AM »

It's unlikely their bill is based on usage.  You're not running Utorrent all day are you?  That would slow them down and be rude at best.
If they don't try to keep you out than I think it's OK with me.  They took all the necessary steps to enable you to access the internet.  If they didn't want to do that than they shouldn't have done that.
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Minsk

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2006, 06:45:12 AM »

Wrong? No. Illegal? Probably. Blame the blithering idiots who decided that any "unauthorized access" to a computer system was a crime, regardless of whether or not you knew your actions were unwelcome.

My usual assumption is that anyone smart enough to change the name broadcast by their access point would have enabled encryption or MAC restrictions if they wanted to keep people out. So anything called LINKSYS (or the bunch of other obvious defaults) is out... I tend to use something involving "PUBLIC" to make it really obvious.
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Taors

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2006, 12:42:57 PM »

KETI!1

I'M N UR COMPUTER...

STEALIN UR DATAZ
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Taors

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2006, 12:55:30 PM »

Pretty pussy. :lol:
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Lindsey

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2006, 03:13:16 PM »

When I set up my wireless router, I chose not to enable any sort of encryption.  Basically because I was in a hurry, but I am also not worried about anyone using my internet who should not be, because we have no neighbors.  There is a house being built near ours currently, so I might just go back and set it up, because my connection sucks hard enough as it is - since we live in the woods of sorts.  Anyway, no I don't think you're doing anything really wrong.  If they didn't set up encryption with the router, it's not your problem. 
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Wayne

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2006, 12:16:58 AM »

There are certainly people who set up their systems (or have them set up by someone else) who just don't understand that other people can use it.

Then again, there are people who deliberately allow others to hop in through their connection--although probably not many. Think of it as finding a water pump right off the side of a rural road in the middle of nowhere. Obviously it belongs to someone, but if it works there's a good chance they don't mind you taking a drink if you need to.

What makes it tricky is that there's no easy way to tell what the intentions are of someone who allows outside connections. Add to that the fact that you might be eating into their monthly allotment of bandwith, and it becomes even more important, because now if you're wrong you've either cost the person money or limited their access.

Personally, if I knew for sure who's connection I was using (without having to ask around), I'd try to ask permission first--at the very least you're letting them know they have an open connection, which may be something they didn't realize and don't want.

If I didn't know who owned the connection, I'd probably use it, but sparingly, trying not to make it an everyday sort of thing or otherwise abuse it... I doubt I'd be downloading FTL's nighly podcasts through it.

-Wayne
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AlexLibman

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2006, 02:13:12 AM »

I had people dialing into my BBS with little or no restrictions since the 2400 baud days, and that philosophy has kind of stuck with me.  I donate tons of storage and bandwidth to services like Freenet anyway, so why not go a step further?  Why not treat the people in my own neighborhood as innocent until proven guilty?

My wifi network is wide open - though I do use very strict bandwidth throttling, there's no encryption, no traffic filtering, not even a MAC filter.  C'mon in, neighbor!   (Or stranger driving by with a laptop.)  If you don't have a wireless card, let me know, and I'll run you an Ethernet cable through the window, no questions asked.  I might even set up a more powerful access point in the future.  I'm just a very nice guy.   8)

I'm not saying I'm obligated to share my network resources, though, and, needless to say, I'll take measures if I don't like what someone is doing.  But it's so much fun to monitor a stranger using the Internet, I wish more people would connect through me!  If I'm near a computer, I'll know the instant you connect, and usually I don't mind waking up in the middle of the night to peek in.  All connecting clients are automatically scanned, and all wifi activity going through the network logged in depth.  So far, I have no regrets.  You get to meet some very interesting people by counter-hacking them!   :wink:

There's nothing seriously harmful you can do to the nodes on my network.  (That wasn't the case a few years ago, when I was working on sensitive client data, and back then I kept security extremely tight.  That made me feel petty...)  Now, I have no secrets, all my data is backed up, and only a tiny amount of my money can be accessed electronically.  You can use my bandwidth to access naughty sites or hack third parties, I don't care.  If you do harm to third party computers through me, then it's their own damn fault for not protecting their systems!

Yes, in extremely rare scenarios you could get me in trouble, but I take your unrestricted Internet freedom very seriously!  As the government pigs squeeze traditional ISP's' balls ever tighter, it's up to people like me to provide alternative Internets (plural intentional) that can be accessed freely.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2006, 02:39:42 AM by AlexLibman »
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Sam Gunn (since nobody got Admiral Naismith)

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2006, 02:05:03 PM »

There are certainly people who set up their systems (or have them set up by someone else) who just don't understand that other people can use it.

Then again, there are people who deliberately allow others to hop in through their connection--although probably not many. Think of it as finding a water pump right off the side of a rural road in the middle of nowhere. Obviously it belongs to someone, but if it works there's a good chance they don't mind you taking a drink if you need to.

What makes it tricky is that there's no easy way to tell what the intentions are of someone who allows outside connections. Add to that the fact that you might be eating into their monthly allotment of bandwith, and it becomes even more important, because now if you're wrong you've either cost the person money or limited their access.

Personally, if I knew for sure who's connection I was using (without having to ask around), I'd try to ask permission first--at the very least you're letting them know they have an open connection, which may be something they didn't realize and don't want.

If I didn't know who owned the connection, I'd probably use it, but sparingly, trying not to make it an everyday sort of thing or otherwise abuse it... I doubt I'd be downloading FTL's nighly podcasts through it.

-Wayne

I don't know anyboddy with monthly alottments for bandwidth....
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Brian Wolf

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2006, 04:00:28 PM »

I had people dialing into my BBS with little or no restrictions since the 2400 baud days, and that philosophy has kind of stuck with me.  I donate tons of storage and bandwidth to services like Freenet anyway, so why not go a step further?  Why not treat the people in my own neighborhood as innocent until proven guilty?

Karma

I was just listening to Security Now #70 and they were talking about Freenet.
I had heard of it before, but now I am really considering running a node.

In my house, all of my computers are on one big desk in the living room, along with the cable modem and Wireless G router. My router has 4 LAN ports on the back so my whole network is wired. I leave the Wifi on for people to use, but I don't think anyone does. There are 2 other open wireless networks near me as well.

How's that for "community WiFi"? And we did not even have to use force to achieve it.
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Lindsey

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2006, 03:13:14 AM »

I'm pretty sure your ISP will cut you off if they find you're using an unusually large amount of bandwith.  Even if it's not you who is doing it.  They'll probably report you to the RIAA and MPAA because they figure you're downloading illegally.  Which you probably are.  And 43908543 other people using your connection. 
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mikehz

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2006, 12:37:45 PM »

I have to confess to "borrowing" wi-fi a couple of times. Last summer, we were visiting Steward, BC, which is at the ends of the earth. Hundreds of miles from anywhere. Our motel offered free wi-fi, but for some reason, I couldn't get onto the system. I notice that there were two unsecured wi-fi systems nearby, and had no trouble logging onto either one. This was in a tiny town of only a few hundred, isolated from the rest of the world by hundreds of miles of mountains!

A month later, we were staying at a house in Vernon, BC on a home exchange. The house did not have high speed internet, but the neighbor did. I suppose I was bad, but hey--you gotta check your email, right?

A friend of mine says, "If they didn't want you to use it, they would secure their system."
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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2006, 02:27:14 AM »

As we all know, Linksys is Swahili for "Please use my wireless network."
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theCelestrian

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2006, 02:47:59 AM »

Interesting question, because while I lived in San Diego, and actually now that I live in in Japan, Ive set up two wireless Networks:

1. My private Wi-fi, that I have encrypted: "ShadowNet GAMMA" (802.11g) - all of my Wireless computers connected to ShadowNet Gamma.
2. The open Wi-fi, that I deliberately leave open and have a booster antenna on to increase the range: "ShawdowNet BETA" (802.11b) - it's a slower protocol but has a longer range, and since I personally didnt use this network, it would be ideal for anyone (friends, family, passers by) to simply jump on if I wasn't around to give them a WEP key (in the case of friends/family), and I have no problem with people using the network as long as they don't use it to cause damage to myself or others through hacking, etc.

When I check the DHCP client table I can get a list of MAC addresses and computer names that logged onto the network, if I suspect anyone doing something indecent that could get me in trouble, I could simply ban their hardware MAC address from getting on my network, which means that would have to buy a completely new NIC or Motherboard to get back on..... punishment enough if their dead set to get back on the network.

....however, I've never even had a problem in the 3 years that I first started running ShadowNet BETA, so I think the super majority of people just want to get on the internet.

I think if the owner has no problems with you using their network, then no problem.  It's something that they pay for, so ulitmately that accounting of bandwidth/connect is their private property.

[EDIT: Most service providers do not charge you based on Bandwidth, or have high enough caps that the only way you could "top out" would be some really really serious multimedia throuput, like uploading/downloading fully uncompressed video 24/7.  Most comapnies, even YahooBB here in Japan do it based on a connection charge, which is a flat rate per month.

What will be more common in the future (and it may already be happening in the US) is that their flat rate is based on the "width of your pipe." That is, you pay for more having a higher throughput connection.  example: Paying $15/month for a 100Kbps connection or $30 for a 300Kbps connection.  We already see this in terms of:

X for Dialup
Y for Cable/DSL
Z for T1
A LOT for T3/OC3/Backbone connectivity

But the trend in Japan is a stratification within those classifications like:

X for 100Kbps DSL
Y for 250Kbps DSL
Z for 500Kbps DSL

etc.
]
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 02:54:40 AM by theCelestrian »
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Brian Wolf

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Re: I'm in your wifi stealing your bandwidth
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2006, 08:43:03 AM »

I'm pretty sure your ISP will cut you off if they find you're using an unusually large amount of bandwith.  Even if it's not you who is doing it.  They'll probably report you to the RIAA and MPAA because they figure you're downloading illegally.  Which you probably are.  And 43908543 other people using your connection. 

I use quite a bit of bandwidth, but I get charged a flat fee.  They have not said anything to me so far, and I have been with them about 2  years.

I don't download constantly or anything, and like I said I doubt anyone takes advantage of my open connection.
Perhaps I will follow  theCelestrian's example and put a booster antenna on it. That would be something useful to know how to do anyway, and if I do start using my wireless for anything other than playing my Nintendo DS, I am sure I will appreciate the extra range.
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