Who has been using my WIFI?

Not as innocent as you think
I read a Mashable post highlighting a serious point regarding wifi theft.

'The Tech Guy', a radio phone-in show, finds itself taking a call from a woman who wishes to complain that the free wifi she was stealing from someone else in the building where she lived had suddenly stopped.

She then gets irate that she can no longer access the old interweb, and decides to buy a booster rather than actually pay for broadband access.

This really is a serious issue.  I don't like the thought of paying for my broadband, only to have some numpti also use it for free.

Now, the last few providers I have used integrated their broadband with a specialised router.  With one provider, you had to physically push a button on the router they sent in order to activate the ability to input the password and connect up.  Even with this I have read that in a survey by Sophos in 2007 showed that 54% of respondents have knowingly used someone else's WIFI without permission.

It needs to be noted that in the UK it is illegal to use someone else's WIFI without their permission.  It may also invalidate the broadband contract if the owner does allow it to happen (just go and check your contract with your broadband provider and you will probably find that you are not allowed to share your connection with others)

Using someone else's WIFI is an offence under section 125 of the Communications Act 2003, which states that,

"a person who (a) dishonestly obtains an electronic communication service, and (b) does so with intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable to the provision of that service, is guilty of an offence. The maximum penalty is six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £5,000." 
  1. Make sure that you use the highest security settings you can use and never, ever tell anyone your username and password.  You can also find out a little bit more on this at PC Mech
  2. Do not use anyone else's unsecured WIFI because it is an offence to do so.

Happy surfing.



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