back to article Oz cops turn to wardriving to fight Wi-Fi 'jackers

Police in the Australian state of Queensland are to go on the hunt for unsecured wireless networks. Claiming that "the crooks are out there driving around trying to identify these [open] networks", Queensland Police Detective Superintendent Brian Hay told local site ITnews that the Boys in Blue will now do the same. Folk found …

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Oz WiFi Wardriving

Its kind of the Queensland police to help people. But it would be much better if all manufacturers were required to lock down the units by default.

The 3 branded WiFi unit for their 3G broadband USB key comes that way. It made me feel that finally one company gets it.

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Headmaster

What, exactly, is the risk?

My brother maintains an open wireless network with a name of "Welcome!" I told him he was at risk. He asked, "Of what?" Good darned question.

- In spite of comments above, any prosecutor trying to prove he'd used the internet for anything illegal would have a heck of a time convincing a jury that no one had used his completely open network with a Welcome sign on it. They'd have to hope for forensic evidence on his laptop itself.

- He doesn't care if people read his e-mails. He and I grew up in the, "Sending it via e-mail is the same as posting it on the local bulletin board" generation.

- He points out that the external risks to his system are far greater than the risk of someone finding his open network and trying to hack into his router or laptop.

Anyone care to argue that running an open wireless network is a security risk to the actual person running the network? I'd love to hear reasons (beyond making the police's work more difficult) that he shouldn't be doing it.

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Paris Hilton

Hummmmm

Looks like these plods found a good excuse -and the means- for surfing the net while on duty. As others have noted, finding the owner of the unsecured wi-fi spot could be quite difficult.

Paris, because she is also very good at mixing business and pleasure. :)

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FAIL

Title

This, of course, has been though through hasn't it? I mean the Police must have to access a secure site once connected where they can leave some sort of timestamp or official note and a letter sent from the ISP to the owner of the unsecured hot-spot?

Maybe I'm mixing up executing something Professionally with giving a load of cops overtime to drive about doing things they have no business doing.

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@AC 22:23

I used to work for a company who decided that they would supply wireless access to their execs by installing an unsecured wireless network attached only to an ADSL line in each exec office. The execs used their normal laptops and the standard vpn to connect and work 'remotely'. No extra networking hardware of any degree was required and we managed to deliver the system about a week after they'd asked for it (muchos brownie points!). Lots of people saw an open access point and told us how inseucre it was, then we told them how it worked, and it also allowed visiting clients to access the 'net without coming near to our systems. Maybe this was the sort of thing you saw, maybe not mind.

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@What, exactly, is the risk?

"Anyone care to argue that running an open wireless network is a security risk to the actual person running the network? I'd love to hear reasons (beyond making the police's work more difficult) that he shouldn't be doing it."

The risk is having your kit confiscated while the coppers look for kiddy porn. Its the hassle, the cars at your door, and the inconvenience.

Give me convenience, or give me death!

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The risk

Also forgot to add...

being cautioned, having your DNA taken and the mission afterwards to have it removed from the DNA database.

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Big Brother

Risks and analogies.

If you leave your router unsecured and I happen to join the network while your computer is on there is the risk I can gain access to your files. I can also exceed your bandwidth useage if you happen to be capped, leading to extra charges from your ISP. I could access your router setup page, change the settings and deny you access to your own internet (unless you are smart and know how to reset it to default, which is unlikely if you don't even know how to setup security). I could even flash a new firmware to the router including some unsavoury functions of my own.

Most of the analogies being bandied about here require little technical knowledge. Its not obvious to the average user how to setup their router, so if you steal their bandwidth you are taking advantage of their ignorance. Even if its not illegal (I think it is though) its morally dubious, and anyone with half a brain would know that.

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WTF?

I can't believe you guys are up in arms about this

Bottom line is, if I i want to do something bad, I am not going to do it from my own machine. if i can get on to an open wifi network (and it takes less time and skill to drive 5 meters down the road to the next house than it does to crack a wep key).

So if you leave you network open, 'because you want people to use it' you had better have a good excuse when somoene uploads a ton of kiddie porn from your ip address.

In court the bill payer is responsible!

So good on Brian Hay and his team for thinking out of the box.

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Anonymous Coward

War Driving Coppers

From the land where coppers travel in groups of three.

One that can read, one that can write and one to keep an eye on the two intellectuals.

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