back to article Cops raid man whose Wi-Fi was used to download child porn

A man recently found a swarm of armed federal agents descending on his Buffalo, New York, home after a neighbor accessed his open Wi-Fi network and used it to download child pornography. The account, included in a recently published article from the Associated Press, is one of several demonstrating the unintended consequences …


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    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      It's still an ecology

      Yes I'm aware we are not 100% bullet proof secure, but for the reasons stated I can do no better without denying my wife access to the PSN network on her PSP (oh wait! . . .). But the point about the neighbours is still valid, I can currently see 3 other networks from this static location (leafy suburbia). With such prey on plain view, the camouflaged animal is still at an advantage even if it is über vulnerable if detected. So your objections apply only to those determined to do us personal harm and we are universally loved by all, of course.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mine's staying open

    Not worth the hassle to lock it down. My friends and neighbours use it. I might change my mind if my local police demonstrate the stupidity detailed here.

    Oh, regards WEP: it's almost entirely pointless. Trivial to break the password and offers no protection between those on it.

  2. Mage Silver badge


    Sony PSP works with WPA. The Nintendo DS only works with WEP.

    Unless it's very old Firmware PSP?

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge


      I know the PSP (latest version using discs) can, theoretically do WAP. That is no help in getting it to actually work though (Airport Express). Eventually Mrs Muscleguy wanted her console back and for it to connect, or else and she almost never leaves the house without it so I have ceased my attempts to make it work and am not interested in resetting the entire network whenever she wants to connect with it.

      At least the XBox connects if you use enet pretty seamlessly.

  3. MJI Silver badge

    Shafted by DSs here as well

    Otherwise I'd go WPA or even disable WiFi.

  4. Alex Brett

    IPv6 to the rescue?

    Interestingly this is an area where IPv6 will actually help to prove your innocence - because you don't use NAT, and each machine has a unique address, it's easy to show that it wasn't your PCs that accessed the material, as the server will see the unique address, not a random single IPv4 address that only identifies the connection.

    Of course, there's nothing to stop the clever person from changing the IPv6 address they use when accessing dodgy things, but it should make it easier to clear people who obviously wouldn't know how to do that...

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


      "but it should make it easier to clear people who obviously wouldn't know how to do that"

      Nice idea, but you can't prove a negative.

      Still, it isn't like the cops need proof these days is it? Insinuation seems to be enough.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    I assume that the stupid plods will pay-off his mortgage

    If the moron plods had bothered to stop at the driveway, pull out a Smartphone, they could have confirmed that the WiFi hotspot was open. This would have taken all of 30 seconds. Then they would have had (even more) reasonable doubt, hopefully calmed down a bit, aimed their automatic weapons elsewhere, knocked on the door, presented the Search Warrant, and gently entered for further discussions.

    There really should be a huge lawsuit over this incident. These idiot police and their extremely unprofessional behaviour are a huge embarrassment to the law enforcement community. The fact that they will not face professional repercusssions is an indictment of the entire system. This sort of FAIL fuels the extreme rightwing nut-cases.

  6. Mark .

    three days

    "Within three days, investigators determined that the homeowner had been telling the truth"

    Despite the awful ordeal that this must have been (and the disgusting unprofessional comments made during the raid), at least this did get solved in that time.

    If this was the UK, based on some of the horror stories, all his Windows computers, tablets, phones would have been confiscated, left lying around for perhaps months, whilst they try to get round it. These days the Internet is becoming a necessity, and it's also required for some people's livelihoods. Same with computers. And mobile phones are the only way many people have to communicate. People still think of these as a "search" warrant, not a "steal" warrant. That's before we consider the stress of waiting for months, worrying if you'll be charged (not to mention that having Internet access is something that would be useful for looking up legal advice and information...)

    Not to mention that now that we have laws criminalising all kinds of pictures of legal acts, of cartoons and so on - even if he wasn't guilty, there's a chance they'd still find some kind of image buried in a cache, and try to get him for that instead.

    On another note, I'm curious what make and model of desktop PC the man had. I mean we get told he had an Ipad and Iphone, not tablet and phone, so why not the make of desktop? Obviously it can't have been a Mac, because we'd have been told. Seriously, do Apple pay for the product placement?

  7. ph0b0s

    Counter productive

    This approach is more than likely to let the real perpetrator get away. If it is an open hot spot being used by neighbours, for no good, what do you think their first reaction will be to seeing their neighbours being raided. That's right destroy the evidence....

    If they actually did a bit of investigation first to check if the wireless is open, and who actually uses it, they could be more targeted in their approach.

    But as long as the law have caught someone, even if not the real abusers, they seem to be happy.... That's my main problem with a lot of these CP stories.

  8. Tom 13

    I blame the ISPs that still distribute WEP enabled routers.

    Most people can't be bothered to change the settings, defaulting to weak is defaulting to Fail.

    1. Steve Evans

      @Tom 13

      It's actually worse than that. Most routers in the UK seem to turn up with a preconfigured wireless password, which is a step on from the always supplied open situation of the past.

      Unfortunately some manufacturers set the password to one which can be deduced from the MAC address!

      There's an app on Android called penetrate (cue 12 year old snigger) which knows these routers and preset password algorithms. It's quite worrying to walk about with it running and see the known ones pop up one by one. From my short test, it's above 1 in 20.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're never secure

    Even if your Wi-Fi is 100% secure, you are still not secure.

    If someone email's you porn, you might not even see it, but you might have it. Or you might visit a web page with porn embedded somewhere on it, which will be stored on your PC, and you might never see it.

    The problem is that you can't prove it, and it's jail for something you were not responsible for.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Mike 61

    I leave my wifi open

    I have done it all my life

    and if you d/l kiddie pr0n

    I will stab you with my knife.

    Actually, on a more serious note, I log everything, and will happily turn over the logs to the authorities if they come knocking. Your mac address your connect times, and any other data your computer decided to share via tcp/ip. And if you were war driving I can give them the pictures of your vehicle from my security cameras, complete with timestamps. I am not paranoid...much..

  11. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    WEP and unencrypted networks

    First off, I wonder how many of those 32% who admitted to trying to access networks that didn't belong to them were just using open access points? To me, if someone doesn't even bother to put WEP on, this suggests they are permitting people to use their network. Also, my Ubuntu system doesn't, but many machines seem to *automatically* connect to open wireless access points, so I bet far more than 32% have accessed "networks that didn't belong to them" without even realizing it.

    Secondly, so, yes WEP is weak. But, it does indicate that you don't want just anyone to use your network, and I think many people will respect that, especially given the preponderance of networks that are explicitly left open (no encryption whatsoever).

    That said, I've actually been surprised here in Iowa City, I keep hearing about all these open access points still all over the place, but around here it is probably only about 1 out of 20. For instance where I am now, I see 16 networks, 1 is open (and it's "fake open", even though it has "Guest" in the name if one connects to it pulls up a web page asking for a password!)

  12. JaitcH

    If more WiFi outlets were open Plod might finally figure the futility

    When we order in an InterNet connection here, one national ISP inquires whether it is for a hotspot. If the answer is yes, it kindly configures the USER as ftp and the PASSWORD as telecom.

    This is almost the standard set up right across the country in coffee shops, fast food outlets, restaurants, etc. It is hard to pinch WiFi time as downloads are unlimited and few locals even bother with WiFi security even in their homes.

    As a result the police have decided chasing pornography of any type is an exercise in futility and they simply ignore it.

    This way the perverts can do their thing in front of their computer screens and the rest of the world can get on with their pursuits. If there is physical child abuse, the courts are extremely hard on the adults - a case last year involving a man and wife resulted in them getting 20 years each - no time off for good behaviour, either. Convicted rapists are frequently shot - after trial - so there are few repeat offenders.

    Mind you, Facebook is blocked along with about 20 other sites.


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