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ibidiem
Sep 17, 2005, 12:53 PM
So my house is saturated with a wireless internet feild, into which my iBook can insert its hungry little maw. On the little widget I got to tell me about the wireless connections around, all it says is "D-Link" which is apparently just the name of the actual, physical router that (I don't know the correct term) I'm sucking free bandwith off of.

So my question is -- is there a program that can tell me more information about the 'free' wireless that I have? Should I have certain firewalls up (I'm running tyger) to protect from shifty servers? Can anyone give me some basic how-to, or point me in the right direction about this?

There must be a million threads on this already, but the problem with searching is finding just the right words for something you're ignorant of...

TheMonarch
Sep 17, 2005, 12:58 PM
Shhh. Don't ask these kind of questions here. As this is stealing someone else's internet, we can't help you. Just be happy with what you have...

40167
Sep 17, 2005, 01:16 PM
Just hope the person doesn't run some packet scanning software, lol.

If you jacked my internet, I would be getting a look at every packet you send or recieve since ethreal is running on the server; after I get all your packets for a while i'd proceed to either take all your passwords or things like AIM convo's and post it online somewhere or take all the logs to the police if you did anything illegal whatsoever while on my network.

Theres no password on my network, Theres also no locks on my doors. That doesn't mean its legal for you to go on my network, or walk in my house.

TheMonarch
Sep 17, 2005, 01:22 PM
Just hope the person doesn't run some packet scanning software, lol.

If you jacked my internet, I would be getting a look at every packet you send or recieve since ethreal is running on the server; after I get all your packets for a while i'd proceed to either take all your passwords or things like AIM convo's and post it online somewhere or take all the logs to the police if you did anything illegal whatsoever while on my network.

Theres no password on my network, Theres also no locks on my doors. That doesn't mean its legal for you to go on my network, or walk in my house.


Ethreal server? What kind of internet do you have?

ibidiem
Sep 17, 2005, 01:37 PM
The only thing is... my city (PDX) has this company going around and setting up free public wireless internet.

"Morality/Legality" aside, can anyone point me towards more resources on this?

Or is mum truly the word?

yg17
Sep 17, 2005, 02:57 PM
Just hope the person doesn't run some packet scanning software, lol.


Anyone dumb enough to leave their wireless network open to everyone like that is not going to be smart enough to run a packet sniffer or know what one is ;)

jamesW135
Sep 17, 2005, 03:12 PM
That's called stealing.

nichos
Sep 17, 2005, 03:29 PM
Search the internet for "war driving."
As far as software goes, check out kismac (http://kismac.binaervarianz.de/)

yg17
Sep 17, 2005, 03:31 PM
That's called stealing.


No, it's called taking advantage of someone's stupidity and ignorance. It's not stealing, you are not physically taking something away from them.

TheMonarch
Sep 17, 2005, 03:48 PM
No, it's called taking advantage of someone's stupidity and ignorance. It's not stealing, you are not physically taking something away from them.

If you want to get technical, yes it is stealing. You're taking away their monthly bandwidth that they pay for.


And I'm not even going into the whole 'taking advantage' thing...

seriypshick
Sep 17, 2005, 04:22 PM
That's called stealing.
They're still paying the same price. So, no it's not stealing.

If I had wireless internet I wouldn't mind letting my neighbors use it. As long as they don't use the whole bandwith.

dswoodley
Sep 17, 2005, 04:29 PM
If you want to get technical, yes it is stealing. You're taking away their monthly bandwidth that they pay for.


And I'm not even going into the whole 'taking advantage' thing...

Sorry, but if the radio waves are invading my house, it sure isn't stealing. If you turn up your radio so loud that I can hear it across the street in my house, I am stealing that too?

belvdr
Sep 17, 2005, 04:33 PM
So, normally you would have to pay for Internet access, right? And, now you are getting this free, right? So this means you are getting a free service that's normally paid for.

You're not stealing anything from the customer. At most, you are simply aggravating them by using their available bandwidth.

However, you're stealing bandwidth from the ISP, which has to pay for their Internet connection(s). Let's say 6 houses use one customer's wifi network, and also the Internet connection costs $40 per month. That's $240 per month in lost revenue to the ISP.

Now, how is this not stealing?

Quite honestly, people have been prosecuted for this in the US. Simply put, it's unauthorized network access.

belvdr
Sep 17, 2005, 04:34 PM
Sorry, but if the radio waves are invading my house, it sure isn't stealing. If you turn up your radio so loud that I can hear it across the street in my house, I am stealing that too?

That's a bad analogy. Radio stations do not have incremental costs when the number of users who are listening increases. So the costs are fairly fixed, and not variable in an ISP's case.

TheMonarch
Sep 17, 2005, 06:04 PM
Sorry, but if the radio waves are invading my house, it sure isn't stealing. If you turn up your radio so loud that I can hear it across the street in my house, I am stealing that too?

According to the RIAA, you are ;)


No, but seriously. The more you use for you, the less for the person who is paying. So the radio analogy fails in that case.

dswoodley
Sep 17, 2005, 06:27 PM
According to the RIAA, you are ;)


No, but seriously. The more you use for you, the less for the person who is paying. So the radio analogy fails in that case.

In which case, the person is kind of a moron not to secure it. If it's not a closed network, it's an open one.

yeah, the radio analogy isn't the best, but radio waves don't know boundaries, especially when they are unsecured. When I go into a new part of town or something, my PB half the time will automatically automatically get on the nearest open network (does not even ask me if I want to join it) - that's what open networks for. If you don't want an open network and people leaching off you, then secure it. In fact, many ISPs demand you do this and not share the signal with non-paying customers.


EDIT: But I do agree it is extremely uncool to make a regular habit of leaching of someone's network, without asking. Checking email from time to time is one thing, downloading huge movie files for weeks on end or something is another.

EDIT 2: Oh, Belvdr, I don't think there is a single person in the country who has been successfully prosecuted for this. I think only case has even gone to court.

Maedus
Sep 17, 2005, 08:36 PM
How is stealing from a wifi connection any different than stealing cable or satellite TV? There isn't a physical product that you're stealing but people still go to jail and are successfully prosecuted for it. I mean, isn't it the cable or satellite company's fault for not scrambling their signal off or making it impossible for jacking into their network? How about stealing phone service? Is that wrong simply because price is clearly equated with minutes of service so you know how much exactly you're stealing?

You may not think you're making an impact, but you could be crippling their internet. If you overwhelm their upload bandwidth, you can make even web surfing impossible for them.

And justifying it by saying "they shouldn't be stupid and leave their network unprotected" is just an excuse for being a prick or a thief. Let's apply this mentality to other things.

I steal your wallet. You should have been smart enough to hide it better instead of leaving it in your back pocket for me to take. You weren't robbed, you're just sharing your extra cash with everybody else. You'll still receive more money next week to spend on things so it isn't like you won't have more money in the future. I'll return your wallet too since that is an item you paid for. Your credit cards I'll keep, purchase a bunch of stuff on them, and then send them back to you afterwards. So I didn't steal your credit cards either.

I steal your car because you were in a hurry and left your car keys in it while it was parked in your driveway. You should have been smart enough to take the keys and lock your doors so it isn't considered stealing anymore. Oh, maybe you did lock your doors and took your car keys, but Virus and his buddies Trojan, Worm, Malware, and others broke into your car and primed it so you can start it without a key. It is your fault that you don't repeatedly check on your car to make sure it is running perfectly so it is still alright I took your car without your permission then.

I steal your crop as a farmer because you appear to have plenty and you didn't put a fence up to keep me out. It's not like the farmer relies on it as a source of income. Besides, you're only one person so it isn't making a noticeable impact. But then it is two people and three people and four people and dozens and then soon the farmer doesn't have a crop left. but you only stole a few ears of corn as did everybody else.

I steal your electricity from your house and use it to power my house, but it is alright even though I had to trespass on your property because you didn't secure your power supply enough and it isn't like you can own electricity. I mean, can you stick it in your pocket? Nope. So no stealing their either.

Or, you don't lock your doors to your house and I simply move in. I use your water; your electricity, your furniture, your appliances, your beds, your rooms. I'm using your entire house without paying any rent but what exactly am I stealing? I'm not stealing something physical from you; yet I am still enjoying something that you would be charging me for free of charge.


Just because you can't stick something in your pocket or hold it in your hands doesn't mean you're not stealing it. That is why we have patents and copyrights to protect intellectual property. That is why colleges will flunk you and kick you out in a heart beat if they discover you plagiarizing your papers. Just because radio waves don't respect physical boundaries and the majority of people aren't computer literate doesn't make it right to take advantage of them. Is it right to take advantage of the ignorant or mentally handicapped because they don't know better? What about even the smart simply because you're capable of scamming them? Acquiring something for free that you normally would have to pay for is thievery and blaming the victim is simply the justifications of a thief.

dswoodley
Sep 17, 2005, 08:53 PM
Maedus, the problem is that in all of those things you listed above, there are established laws preventing illicit use of those things. In all of those cases, it involves some sort tampering of devices, unlawful possession, or trespassing.

In the case of wifi, there are no such laws (only something from the 80s that seems inapplicable to many legal experts), so the legal status of wifi networks are undetermined. The fact that some cities are making OPEN networks for public use shows that if a network is unsecured, you can join it anyway and its perfectly within the intent of the network owner that it operates as such.

Maedus
Sep 17, 2005, 09:13 PM
Maedus, the problem is that in all of those things you listed above, there are established laws preventing illicit use of those things. In all of those cases, it involves some sort tampering of devices, unlawful possession, or trespassing.

In the case of wifi, there are no such laws (only something from the 80s that seems inapplicable to many legal experts), so the legal status of wifi networks are undetermined. The fact that some cities are making OPEN networks for public use shows that if a network is unsecured, you can join it anyway and its perfectly within the intent of the network owner that it operates as such.

I can understand that there is a lot of gray area in wifi, but I feel that is no reason to take advantage of it. But what really riles me is people who justify theft by blaming the incompetence of people who they're stealing off of.

Now I think jacking a personal, residential wifi network simply because the person didn't think to protect it or that they tried but were unable to due to faulty software/hardware is wrong. Now people taking advantage of say the local coffee shop's free wifi connection is a different story and I can see arguments for and against it. Can you steal something being given away? In the end, it will probably be ruled, yes you can because it was not the intent of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts to be the ISP of non-customers to their establishment and are providing a service to their customers for their convenience and not the appartments across the street and that by joining their network, you are accepting an implied TOS of that you're a customer to the store. But until that is firmly placed in laws, I'll leave that up to people to decide if leaching off an establishment's free wifi is right or wrong.

But purposely leaching off your neighbor's wifi is wrong and simply taking advantage of the situation because they have not explictily written that you cannot steal wifi from your neighbors is simply an excuse. But accidentally leaching off his wifi would be a different story as your intent may be to join a free, open network but accidentally or ignorantly joined their unprotected network by mistake.

Part of the reason I wrote my original response is because I see the same argument applied to physical theft. I live on 85 acres of land that my parents own and much of it is wooded and so mushrooms grow on it. My parents like to eat mushrooms. Apparently so do our neighbors who trespass on our property and take our mushrooms for eating. They justify it because mushrooms grow in the wild or that they only took a few or it didn't look like we were wanting them because we hadn't picked them already. Some people have the mentality that if it is there and they can take it, then it is alright because it was somebody else's fault for not stopping them; laws or no laws.

Blackheart
Sep 17, 2005, 09:19 PM
Theres no password on my network, Theres also no locks on my doors. That doesn't mean its legal for you to go on my network, or walk in my house.

But I am being constantly inundated with your wifi signal. You've effectively dropped your house on me. :rolleyes:

dswoodley
Sep 17, 2005, 10:23 PM
maedus, i can agree with the morality issue you are raising. But let me give a different example. If you walk up to my front porch, leave a six pack of beer that has no note, nothing that says "please don't drink this". Would you really expect to come back to my porch a say later and expect it to be there? That's basically what happens with wifi signals. if you don't secure them, by the very nature of the signal's trespass, you are asking for them to be used.

seriypshick
Sep 17, 2005, 10:42 PM
Some libraries are free and for others you have to pay.
Some are private and some are public.

Now in public liibrary there's usualy a limit on how many books you can take home.
Private libraries, however, are less restrictive. At the same time you have to pay.

Same thing with WiFi.
Some networks are free and for others you have to pay.
Some are private(closed, password protected) and some are public(open, no-password).

If you just do some light-weight stuff like e-mail or surfing the web you will be OK with open network.
However if you're a hardcore web designer or pirate your best choice is your own private connection.

tag
Sep 17, 2005, 11:40 PM
But let me give a different example. If you walk up to my front porch, leave a six pack of beer that has no note, nothing that says "please don't drink this". Would you really expect to come back to my porch a say later and expect it to be there?

The more interesting question here is would you really drink a six pack of beer that has been mysteriously left at your doorstep with no note? ;)

dswoodley
Sep 18, 2005, 12:13 AM
The more interesting question here is would you really drink a six pack of beer that has been mysteriously left at your doorstep with no note? ;)


In my case? yes, no questions. :D

d.f
Sep 18, 2005, 12:45 AM
i have just set up a wireless network in my house. ... (actiontect wireless router, plus airport express connecte to hi fi)

how do i secure this so no-one can steal or borrow my connection..?

any help appreciated.

yg17
Sep 18, 2005, 12:50 AM
So, normally you would have to pay for Internet access, right? And, now you are getting this free, right? So this means you are getting a free service that's normally paid for.


I've got HBO, Cinemax and Starz, on top of all of the digital cable channels at my house. Lets say my friend who happens to live next door doesn't have cable or satellite. Just regular over-the-air TV. Now, lets say I let him come over to my house all the time to watch a good movie on HBO or watch some crappy Cinemax porn. Like he spends at least 10 hours a week at my place watching TV with me since he doesn't have any of these channels. He's getting something free that he would normally have to pay for. But it would be absurd to say he's stealing, right?

Lets say we run out of booze and we both hop into his car to make a run to the liquor store. He's got a CD playing in his car that I don't own. You wouldn't say I'm stealing now, would you? I mean, I'm not paying for the CD, I don't legally own it, but I'm listening to it. Is that stealing? Could I be prosecuted? Nope.

Now, let's say my friend next door has dial up, but he wants to download a huge file. I let him download it on my 3 meg broadband connection, using my computer, and burn it to a CD to take back home. He's using a broadband connection which he did not pay for. But it would be silly to say he's stealing.

Get my point? There are so many things in this world that technically, we should pay for, but don't, and it's all legal.

Blackheart
Sep 18, 2005, 01:55 AM
i have just set up a wireless network in my house. ... (actiontect wireless router, plus airport express connecte to hi fi)

how do i secure this so no-one can steal or borrow my connection..?

any help appreciated.

Let me preface this by saying that I've never used an Actiontec wireless router.

First of all, make sure you have an admin password that is very difficult to guess. Second, I would seal the router access down to the MAC address of your network card. Thirdly, turn off the broadcast of SSID. You should be good to go with that.

Maedus
Sep 18, 2005, 03:40 AM
I've got HBO, Cinemax and Starz, on top of all of the digital cable channels at my house. Lets say my friend who happens to live next door doesn't have cable or satellite. Just regular over-the-air TV. Now, lets say I let him come over to my house all the time to watch a good movie on HBO or watch some crappy Cinemax porn. Like he spends at least 10 hours a week at my place watching TV with me since he doesn't have any of these channels. He's getting something free that he would normally have to pay for. But it would be absurd to say he's stealing, right?

Lets say we run out of booze and we both hop into his car to make a run to the liquor store. He's got a CD playing in his car that I don't own. You wouldn't say I'm stealing now, would you? I mean, I'm not paying for the CD, I don't legally own it, but I'm listening to it. Is that stealing? Could I be prosecuted? Nope.

Now, let's say my friend next door has dial up, but he wants to download a huge file. I let him download it on my 3 meg broadband connection, using my computer, and burn it to a CD to take back home. He's using a broadband connection which he did not pay for. But it would be silly to say he's stealing.

Get my point? There are so many things in this world that technically, we should pay for, but don't, and it's all legal.

No, but if you jack into the cable line and run it into your house, then that is stealing. If you rip that CD and store it on a media of your possession (Hard drive, compact disc, etc) then that is stealing. If you run a ethernet cable from your house to their house, then it would be stealing. Of course, with these examples, the primary seeker of prosecution would be your Cable TV provider, the RIAA, and your ISP since generally in these examples, the end user would be willing letting you steal off of him.

The difference in WIFI is that you are stealing from the ISP as you would be if you the broadband connection via a hard line, but the end user may not even be aware of the theft and didn't give his blessing to it, so to speak. This makes WIFI a strange situation. All the above medias listed in the above examples that you gave give permission to the end user to use the service for private usage. You can broadcast your Cable TV to anybody you want in the privacy of your own home. You can listen to your CD with anybody you want with certain restrictions. Off hand, you can't reproduce it (or at least reproduce it for resale or giving it away) and you can't use it in say movies without permission. I'm not sure what limitations are placed on music for public playing. And internet is considered for residential usage only and I'd say that an ISP would not consider "residential" if you're starting your own neighborhood network since you're becoming your own little ISP.

Now the thing about WIFI is that by leaving a network open, you're allowing theft to take place. Is it stupidity on the part of the end user? Yes, very much so. You have to be a complete moron to leave your WIFI network unprotected for anybody driving by with a laptop to take advantage of; or incompetent. And this world is filled with both kinds.

Now there are all kinds of thefts that do take place that ARE THEFTS and ARE ILLEGAL but are of such a minor and inconsequential manner that it has been regarded as just the way things are. Making a copy of your favorite CD or tape back in the day, and giving it to your friend. Illegal? Yes. But it is considered such an inconsequential and hard to prosecute act that it was basically regarded as just a fact of life. This changed with peer-to-peer sharing, but that is a different beast. Hell, using your residential phone as a business phone is a form of theft since you are not using your phone service for its licensed purpose in order to escape paying the higher, business rate. Taking two papers form the newspaper machine when you only paid for one is theft. And expanding on already existing laws and TOS, the ISPs are going to declare that sharing your internet via a WIFI network with your neighbors is going to be theft against them. Personally, I think that if you want to willingly share your internet with your neighbors wirelessly is another of the many thefts that happen everyday but are inconsequential and go unpunished and I really don't care if it goes unpunished as long as it isn't rampant enough to affect the entire market or my experiences as a consumer.

Now taking somebody's WIFI connection without their permission because radio waves do not have respect for physical boundaries annoys me because it has a very real potential of directly affecting a person in a very real and significant manner. Now for those who will use an open network to check their email or something insignificant; if I discovered you using my network for that, I would be extremely pissed, but on the whole, it will probably become another form of theft that is considered so minor and harmless that it isn't worth going after. Now, there are those who will use a network as their sole source of internet connection and those are outright thieves since they will be leaching a significant amount of bandwidth, especially over time, regardless of what they do. Not only that, they will be using my IP address as a mask for anything they visit so that it appears that I am the one visiting those sites which is a form of fraud; especially if used explicitly for that reason and purpose. Now I should be protecting my network from allowing people on, but some people don't realize that they should be doing this or are too incompetent to do so or maybe their WIFI network's hardware or software is too inferior or difficult to allow the user to secure their network properly. People should lock their doors at all time but failure to do so does not make breaking and entry any less of a crime.

stevep
Sep 18, 2005, 10:53 AM
Its very simple - if you use someone elses wi-fi setup without their express permission you are stealing it. There are a number of cases in the US and one in the UK (so far) that have set a legal precedent.
To anyone running an unprotected wireless network, then I suggest setting up WEP, WPA or MAC address filtering, and changing the SSID and router ip address. If you don't you risk your bandwidth being used by others. What if these 'others' are into something illegal like inciting racial hatred, disseminating information useful to terrorists or illegal pornography? Whose ip address will it all be traced back to?
There is no legal defence in claiming ignorance of the law. Similarly there is no defence in claiming that 'it doesn't hurt anyone' or 'they haven't suffered financially'. Sure, it doesn't cost me any extra if my neighbour steals 3 hrs worth of internet access off me, but I'm the one who bought a 90 router and pays 24/month for an isp account.

dornoforpyros
Sep 18, 2005, 10:58 AM
lol this reminds me of the simpsons

"Now Bart, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?"
no
"Ok, what if you have a very large family, is it wrong to steal a truck load of bread?"
no
"Alright, now what if your family doesn't like bread, they like cigarrettes?"
well that's ok
"ok, now what if instead of giving away the cigarettes you sold them at a price that was practicaly giving them away?"

har har

belvdr
Sep 18, 2005, 02:12 PM
I've got HBO, Cinemax and Starz, on top of all of the digital cable channels at my house. Lets say my friend who happens to live next door doesn't have cable or satellite. Just regular over-the-air TV. Now, lets say I let him come over to my house all the time to watch a good movie on HBO or watch some crappy Cinemax porn. Like he spends at least 10 hours a week at my place watching TV with me since he doesn't have any of these channels. He's getting something free that he would normally have to pay for. But it would be absurd to say he's stealing, right?

Lets say we run out of booze and we both hop into his car to make a run to the liquor store. He's got a CD playing in his car that I don't own. You wouldn't say I'm stealing now, would you? I mean, I'm not paying for the CD, I don't legally own it, but I'm listening to it. Is that stealing? Could I be prosecuted? Nope.

Now, let's say my friend next door has dial up, but he wants to download a huge file. I let him download it on my 3 meg broadband connection, using my computer, and burn it to a CD to take back home. He's using a broadband connection which he did not pay for. But it would be silly to say he's stealing.

Get my point? There are so many things in this world that technically, we should pay for, but don't, and it's all legal.

How about if you let your neighbor connect his house to your cable connection? How about if you burn a copy of the CD you are listening to in the car? How about if you consistently allow your neighbors to use your Internet connection on a regular basis?

I consider all of the above to be stealing. It all depends on the usage of the product. And it's all new to the legal system anyway, so I'm not sure we'll reach an agreement until the law sets down a precedent.

EDIT: It appears Maedus beat me to all of this. :)