Sunday, April 24, 2011

Insecure Wi-Fi Results in Police Raid

Do you know what can happen to someone whose neighbor uses their insecure Wi-Fi connection to distribute pornography?  How about Homeland Security I-C-E  agents breaking down the door to the house at 6:20 AM, an agent throwing the home owner down the stairs...
"Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of "pedophile!" and "pornographer!" stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didn't need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.

That new wireless router. He'd gotten fed up trying to set a password. Someone must have used his Internet connection, he thought."
It took several days for the agents to complete the examination of the home owner's computer as well as his and his wife's iPad and iPhone to determine that he was not downloading child pornography.  About a week later, authorities discovered that it was a neighbor using his insecure wireless signal.

Don't let something like that happen to your family.  Ensure that you have properly secured your wireless connection. Having a network security key or passphrase can help protect your wireless network from this type of unauthorized access.

If you have an older router that uses WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and does not support WPA or WPA2 (Wi‑Fi Protected Access), I strongly suggest replacing it with a new router.  WEP security is relatively easy to crack and routers are not that expensive. 

Additional information is available in this Microsoft help document, Set up a security key for a wireless network.  Also see the below-linked instructions for configuring wireless security the some of the most popular routers.

If you still aren't convinced about the importance of securing your wireless connection, read the full story about the visit described above and the man who received a visit from the FBI after someone used a potato chip can as an antenna to boost his wireless signal and downloaded 10 million images of child porn:    NY case underscores Wi-Fi privacy dangers.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...


anon408 said...

It should be the law enforcement's responsibility to understand that one IP != one person. People should be allowed to host public wi-fi if they choose to.

Corrine said...

Hi, anon408.

I don't understand why a home owner would want to provide wireless internet access to their neighbors.

As far as I know, Germany is the only country where a person with an insecure wireless connection could be fined up to $126 if a third party uses their connection to download illegal content.

Do you know of other countries with such a law?