Wireless Internet Morality

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by uae, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. uae macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    I just got my new 15 inch powerbook yesterday. It's a beauty. I'm slowly giving my PC the boot as I transfer everything over. E-mail from outlook was tough but I did it.

    Getting off track...but I was playing around with my laptop on my couch and just for kicks i turned on the airport...and I got a signal.

    I don't have an Airport basestation.

    Which means...someone in my Apartment building has some sort of wireless router.

    I feel kinda "bad"...hehe...Should I find the guy in my Apt?

    Probably not...I'd save $199. :) But I probably should. Has anyone else ran into this?
     
  2. KentuckyApple macrumors regular

    KentuckyApple

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
  3. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #3
    Morally, yes you should tell him. If you were this person, wouldn't you want to be told? Somehow, morals have to be raised and upheld in today's age. Too many people think it's okay to just get on someone's network and probe around. This is similar to finding someone's apartment door open and just walking in and wandering around because it was open so it was their fault I kept roaming around inside their house.

    However, you might ask the person if they would mind you riding their internet connection. You'd be surprised how open-minded people are to this.
     
  4. uae thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #4
    I know. It's bad. I'm going to get an airport anyways so i can print from anywhere in my apt...but...it's pretty funny and random all the same.

    Speaking of which..does anyone know of any cheap paralell port print servers?
     
  5. uae thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    Just so you know i'm not browsing around his (or her) network...a more appropriate analogy would be the dolphins that swin in a big boats wake.

    I even tried to turn on the rendevous iChat to see if they were avaialble to ask.

    Maybe they have a PC router.
     
  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #6
    If they can't be bothered setting up even the most basic security on their network then I think it's OK to "steal" it. If they use WEP, (or WPA on a g network) or even better limit by MAC address then you should not try and break in.
     
  7. uae thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    When I do get an airport...how do i make it so that people cannot steal my bandwidth?

    Is there a password option? There must be. Is it easy to set up?
     
  8. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #8
    I would use the password (WPA if you are running in 802.11g mode) and MAC address filtering (note this is MAC not Mac). A MAC address is a unique hardware address that every wired and wireless ethernet card has. This is difficult (but not impossible) to fake, but combined with WPA should put off all but the most determined hackers.
     
  9. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #9
    Here's my Airport security set-up:

    Non-public SSID - In Apple terms, a closed network that people have to know the name and enter it to log on.

    WEP - Require a password/WEP key to get on

    MAC address control - Limit access to those MAC addresses in a list of allowed machines.

    If someone can et through all that, they'll have to be very determined, and that's what security is all about - making it so difficult that people will move on to an easier target.
     
  10. meniscus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    I can get onto someones network too

    I live in an apt building so the neighbors are just on the other side of the (luckily almost soundproof) walls. Aside from my Airport Ex connection, I can sometimes see "WLAN" availible in my Airport menu bar shortcut. If I switch to it my signal drops a lot, but I can still go online though it. It must be a neighbors PC router because with the signal strength dop it has to be outside my Apt.

    I prefer to use my APX connection because I pay no bandwith charges on my DSL, and I can connect to the other APX Apple's I have around, But it is funny that right at home I can find another unsecured wireless connection and get online. I wonder how many others are out there. BTW, I havn't tried to wander their actual machines. I have no interest, but the public availibility of "excess" bandwith for internet use is interesting. One twist on the argument is that their "open door" is located in MY apt. If they are extending their network into where I live, and not securing it cant I be free to try it. If a neighbor came in and placed their new plasma tv in my living room because it gives them the best viewing from across the way, am I a thief for simply using it after the owner placed it in my property?

    BTW, paranoid me has enabled WEP and MAC on my APX. Just 'cause it's spooky to have "ghosts" floating around on your network.

    (edited typos)
     
  11. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #11
    Well, these things can be setup by novice people, so it's to our advantage to help them out. If you leave the keys in your car accidentally, does that mean I can take it for a spin without any consequences?
     
  12. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #12
    As I have never left my keys in my car I suppose though! But this is more like me walking into my neighbours flat (through the wall!) and handing them the keys.
     
  13. jayb2000 macrumors 6502a

    jayb2000

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    Location:
    RI -> CA -> ME
    #13
    Misguided Analogies

    If I borrow someone's car (authorized or not) it costs gas, wear and tear on the oil, tires, etc.

    Using bandwidth of somones home connection does not cost them anything extra, they don't get charged by the MB.

    Its more akin to hitchhiking, someone is already going that way, so you just are along for the ride.
    Now, usually good hitchhikers will try to contribute gas money or something in return.

    As long as you are not being malicious and cracking their computer, then it does not hurt anyone. However, it does mean someone is paying for something you are using and it would be nice to share the cost, like a carpool. :cool:
     
  14. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #14
    Re: Misguided Analogies

    That's what I was getting at. I guess I just explained it poorly. :)

    Thanks for helping me out!
     
  15. alset macrumors 65816

    alset

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    #15
    I think you should see if you can find them (I found three networks on my floor using MacStumbler) and warn them. Now you're a nice guy, so they might do you a favor, sometime. Also, you're stacking up some karma points, and we all need those.

    Keep in mind that using someone else's wifi could get them in a lot of trouble - P2P could be traced back to their broadband, and you could get them sued. You wouldn't want someone to do it to you, would you?

    Dan
     
  16. Lord Bodak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA USA
    #16
    That's basically like saying if someone leaves their car unlocked it's ok to go drive it around for a while.

    True, people should be more responsible when setting up their wireless; but if they don't make it clear that it's open to the public (generally the ")(" symbol in the name or the word "OPEN" or "PUBLIC" or similar), you really should find them and ask them.
     
  17. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #17
    I've already responded to this exact point above! It's not simply leaving something unlocked. As a wireless signal is not a physical item it can enter the property of another person (i.e. my flat) without my permission. If it's in my flat I can use it. If you don't want me to use what you have placed in my property you better make it difficult! If I come and park my car in you garage and leave you the keys will you drive it? Probably. But if I park it there alarmed with no keys will you break in and hot-wire it? Probably not.

    Also think of it this way. If your base station signal extends into my house it may will interfere with my own base station signal degrading my ability to use my own property within my own home. Is this a moral position?
     
  18. Lord Bodak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA USA
    #18
    Re: Misguided Analogies

    That's not necessarily true. Many providers are setting monthly data transfer limits or charing users extra for "excessive" data.

    Without discussing it with the owner, you have no idea how you are affecting them.
     
  19. Lord Bodak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA USA
    #19
    If you park it in my garage and leave me the keys, I still can't legally drive it unless you give me permission!

    And in the US (I know you aren't there, but I am), the FCC Part 15 regulations say we have to accept any interference caused by other devices.
     
  20. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #20
    I agree with the legal position (although obviously the FCC rules do not apply here in the UK, we have something similar). But this thread is not about what is legal. It's about what's "right". And I think it's "right", although perhaps not legal, to use whatever is within my property if there has been no effort to stop me using it. As it is a moraility issue each person will have a slightly different interpretation of what is OK here.

    My position is mostly based on the European broadband situation where we do not (in general) pay per MB or have caps on usage. I also take great care in ensuring the security of my network.

    You need a license to drive a car. Whilst I'm not going to suggest you should have license to run a home network (wired or wireless) perhaps the manufacturers should provide some very basic training (say a 30 minute DVD in the box?)
     
  21. alset macrumors 65816

    alset

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    #21
    Why would you steal someone's bandwidth? If you think they should know better, why not tell them? Someone had to tell you, the first time. We all learn from our mistakes, but that doesn't mean you should actively seek and opportunity to take advantage of someone.

    Dan
     
  22. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #22
    People NEED to learn how to turn on WEP encryption. I've become a wardriving addict. Its like collecting baseball cards, You can never have enough and as long as you aren't connecting to a network you aren't doing anything illegal.
    I'm constantly amazed at how may AP are unencrypted. Rough guess 1 in 5 have WEP on. As for the moral implications I would ask everyone this. Would you mind if someone was sneaking bandwidth from you? I know I would. Unless that person was willing to chip in for the $60 a month I spend on broadband I'd be a tad pissed if someone was freeloading. Now if they came up to me and said hey I accidentally found your network can we do a deal. I'd seriously consider it.

    I've been mulling putting flyers in people's mailboxes informing them that they have an unprotected network and they should consider securing it but I'd rather not put my neck on the line to be a nice guy about it. It's getting off on a tangent of the topic but I highly expect some major cyber attacks to occur from one of these unprotected sites one of these days. There's no way we are going to get every site secured but we should be able to do better then 1 in 5.
    FYI the pic below. The green posts are non encrypted and Red has WEP encryption turned on. The most interesting thing I've found WDing is that real estate companies LOVE their wireless. Just about every remax, C21, etc has wireless in their location.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #23
    PS - I hate to tell you folks this but attaching to a person's network simply by getting an IP can be seen as a hacking attempt. There isn't any if ands or buts about it. I believe that there was a CA case last year where some poor guy got nabbed for jumping from network to network with his laptop. In that case his card was set to pick up whatever AP it could find. Can't remember where the case went. Right now, AFAIK, there is no national imposed penalties and you are at the mercy of local authorities. With the way people overreact lately about computer break-ins, viruses and such you stand a pretty good chance of getting the book thrown at you. Pray that the DA or whoever is the prosecutor is computer literate.
     
  24. caveman_uk Guest

    caveman_uk

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    #24
    I personally do have WEP enabled and only accept the MAC of my ibook for I know that, to use the driving analogy, that if I left my keys in my car someone would steal it. Not that that makes it right.

    Using macstumbler I've found loads of networks with SSIDs of 'default', no WEP etc. The problem is that base stations are set up to be easy to get working and to minimise tech support calls. Setting it to be secure out of the box would cause the sellers hassle and anyway the average Joe won't know theres a problem until he notices someone stealing bandwidth or his ISP disconnects him for excessive use or the law come round asking why he's spamming/DoSing/downloading dodgy porn.
     
  25. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #25
    >SiliconAddict

    I wonder how much SPAM somebody could launch with that map of yours.

    Of course everytime you launch some, it would probably burn a hole in the location.

    As the nastygram from the ISP is quite a bitter pill.
     

Share This Page