back to article Police collar kid for Wi-Fi pinching

Lincolnshire police have arrested a 16-year-old suspected of hacking into next door's Wi-Fi after his neighbour complained the connection was running a bit slow. Police arrived at the lad's house after nine o'clock on Sunday October 5, and arrested him under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. The youngster was then questioned until …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    That's the annoying part

    It's OK to leave your connection wide open for abuse because basically if anyone dares to use it and you can prove it, they are in the wrong for unlawful usage.

    Let's try that with my car or house, when all my stuff gets nicked and I ask the insurance company to pay out for my stupidity?

  2. Chris Collins

    Channels

    Ah, so the spotty internet connection is nothing to do with four people on channel six and the other three on channel 11? Teh Haxx0Rz

  3. scott
    Paris Hilton

    Poor lad

    Teenage lad - laptop of his own. Oh, I wouldn't want that laptop sent to forensics if I was him....

    ...and I assume the forensics bods will be wearing latex gloves...

    Paris, cos she's almost definitely in the lad's IE cache....

  4. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Up

    Volunteers?

    Any El Reg readers going to volunteer as expert witnesses? I would if I thought my formal academic credentials would be taken at all seriously (a bit of BASIC programming at University and an OU level 1 course).

  5. N1AK

    @AC

    At least you were smart enough to post as AC, even though you weren't smart enough to notice how poor your analogy was.

    An insurance company has a contract with you, the terms of which would almost certainly require you to take certain actions to be able to claim payment. This is in no way related to any criminal matter or proceedings.

    If your car was left unlocked it would still be a crime if someone was to steal it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder is it a BT connection...

    Wow, those neighbours must really hate each other, any idea why the neighbour just didnt go round to their house and tell the father and get him to give him a cuff around the head for being a teenager and not do it again, maybe ask how to secure their Wifi since they seem to be a bunch of pricks?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Plodders

    Silly Plods. There's a *reason* you get in touch with your computer crime unit before you go meddling in things you don't have the merest whiff of a hope of understanding that you don't understand.

  8. Huw Davies

    @Neil Hoskins

    Why not, you're obviously more qualified that the bloke who speculated about "hackers"...

    I hate self appointed computer "experts"

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Massive overreaction

    All that was necessary was to enable encryption and MAC filtering, problem solved. If you leave your network open you deserve all that happens to you.

    Efros

  10. Steve
    IT Angle

    1st AC

    What's insurance got to do with it.

    If I leave my house unlocked and you steal my tele, it's still theft and the police will still prosecute you.

    From what I understand of the computer misuse act, like most other laws it doesn't allow ignorance as a defence, so mistakenly connecting to and using someone elses connection is technically an offence.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    lock out

    In my nefarious youth (not that long ago, hence anon.), me and a mate of mine were looking at the all the poorly secured wifi we could get in my flat. I had my own, but for a laugh got into someone else's. (WEP is easy to crack).

    To compound the issue, we were able to easily identify the model of router used (as the default SSIDs were helpful like that in the old days), then went online got the manual and tried to get into the router with the default password... sure enough in we go and completely change all the security on it to lock out the owner.

    I don't loose sleep over it the owner should have secured it, and we didn't use their connection for anything, it was the fun of getting in. Also a full factory restore would have sorted it, back it's insecure state.

    Poor lad, should have done his research first.

  12. Eponymous Cowherd
    Linux

    Clueless plods again?

    Yet again plod shows that he doesn't have the mental equipment to deal with tech crime.

    So we are supposed to believe that this 'hacker' was smart enough to crack into his neighbour's router and "remove the encryption", but didn't have the smarts to hide his computer's ID or clear the router's DHCP table.

    As to why would you bother to remove an already cracked encryption?

    Well, if you were really devious I suppose you could then claim that the router was 'open' anyway, and you connected accidentally. If you left the 'encryption' in place then you'd have no excuses.

    Icon has nothing to do with Linux. Its the top of a comedy policeman's helmet.

  13. Dennis
    Alert

    Terriost!

    Clearly this young lad was trying to circumvent his own Phorm infested connection. Sounds like a case for the Anti-terrorist police.

    Right me lad'o 40 days detention for you which we try and figure all this out.

    Clearly this is a very serious offence. Mug a granny and they don't even send somebody after you. Steal Wi-Fi. Now that's hardcore

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    If its locked its private

    If its locked with any form of encryption (however weak or strong) its private and any access is against the law, if it is left open then its public it is up to the owner to secure it.

    Seems pretty clear to me that that is the way the law should go. Why does it seem the authorities cant get their heads around it.

    If you dont want anyone piggy-backing your connection lock it.

    Paris : Well you would wouldn't you...

  15. Jolyon Ralph

    Expert Witnessing

    I did quite a lot of work in the mid 90s as an IT expert witness for various police forces and private bodies, and I have to say it was some of the most interesting and enjoyable work I did. Some of my work involved accopanying police on actual raids where my advice was taken as to what items should be siezed or not. I took particular pride in trying to make sure that the police didn't just take everything, lock it away for months and then return it if there was nothing incriminating - for example in one raid on a home-office, there were several computers, one in the kid's bedroom I decided to examine in situ (with a boot floppy - things were easier back then) - determined pretty quickly that geography homework was unlikely related to the case, so advised they leave that computer behind.

    Now, this is a decade later, the police do most of this now in-house, and I find it quite shocking that they don't have enough experience now to figure out that accidential connection to an insecure wireless network is perfectly understandable.

    How can they be sending officers to deal with a computer crime who do not understand the basics? Even back in the 90s when I was working, the police I were working with all had a pretty good understanding of IT (I remember one of them wanted to register 'thefilth.com' to use for his email address, but domains cost a fortune back then!). The police do have the right people to deal with these things (and in cases like this, explain calmly and carefully to the complainant that there is no offence taking place), it seems in this case the case was put on to the wrong people, and that's where the real fault lies.

    Jolyon

  16. Graham Marsden
    Black Helicopters

    Cautions...

    Kudos to the Dad for refusing the Caution because that would have been an admission of guilt, even though the Police seemingly try to convince people that it's not a big deal.

    Of course what it really means is "we don't have to do any more investigation and chalk up another successfully resolved crime to make our figures look better..."

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Annoying, but not entirely silly

    As for the car: My car drives itself, and accidentally gets on the wrong lane. I'd much prefer if people tried to tell me something's not right before the police pulled me over and yelled at me to hold my hands above my head.

    This is assuming he did in fact accidentally connect to the wrong network (plenty of setups just look for the strongest open connection) - of course you're responsible for the actions of your system, but $neighbour could've been less of an ass and more human about it by trying to ask nicely. A complex feat, but it's been known to help.

  18. MarmiteToast
    Thumb Up

    @Neil Hoskins

    And now, thanks to the reg, we all know OU computing certificates aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Think first, act later

    An investigation might be justified if, having explained the problem, a person deliberately continues using the wrong connection. But its just wasting police time to put in a complaint if the person hasn't yet even been requested to stop.

    The police ought to recognise this, and their first question on receiving such a report should be "have you asked them to stop".

    This was not a matter of life or deat, just an easy excuse for not doing one of the thousand and one far more important things that police officers SHOULD be doing but usually don't.

    The police need to rethink their priorities and start dealing with the REAL problems.

  20. Andre Carneiro
    Thumb Down

    Whatever happened to...

    Realising next door's teenage lad has connected to your network, going next door, politely knocking on the door, inform lad or his parent of what happened and ask him to stop?

    And then maybe, just maybe, turning on the encryption on your Router?

    Have people utterly lost the ability to behave as civilised adults and communicating as such?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Credible

    Last time I did a site survey I saw two unsecured wifi networks and three using WEP. I'm in Lincoln.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A slow night for crime in Lincs

    Sadly, I suspect that if the neighbour had been subject to vandalism & burglary the police may not have been as active in their nocturnal exploits. The police have a dificult enough job maintaining public confidence - they don't need to do this to themselves.

    Sounds like the father was a bit too sharp for the Police - but let's see how it all resolves rather than jumping to conclusions. I'd like to think I'd have the confidence to support my son in the reported circumstances.

  23. Michael
    Gates Horns

    Just being good to thy neighbour

    I live in a similar spot. 7 networks on display and 2 of them not secure. So I popped around and advised them to secure it and if they werent sure.. set it up for them : ) But then he should have checked with Daddy first if he set-up the laptop. But let me guess was this Vista?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lazy rozzers

    If Plod has a suspicion of anything at all, they like to cart you off to the nick in the hope that you will confess your guilt to Big Daddy regardless of the situation. A bonus is they filch your DNA and fingerprints to feed the Computer. Wrongful arrest? They don't give a fk, it costs them far more to pay for rozzers on long-term sick.

    They really ought to read more widely. Saturday night before throwing-out time is a good time.

  25. Dunstan Vavasour
    Thumb Down

    DNA Database

    More to the point, will the father be able to get his DNA removed from the Ministry of Truth's database?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The caution should not have been asked for

    It's a good job his dad refused to let him take the caution. That would show up on these Wacki Jacqui background checks for many jobs and he'd be refused employment.

    So he thinks caution as in a warning, but it's not, it's admission of the crime obtained in the absence of legal advice. Given how Wacki Jacqui has added in the extended background check which shows cautions to potential employers, nobody should accept a caution just for an easy life.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    "Well, if you were really devious I suppose you could then claim that the router was 'open' anyway"

    But if you removed the encryption any devices the neighbour already had setup with encryption would all stop working, no?

    Wouldnt exactly be inconspicuous, would it.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great Police Work

    I suppose not many speeding motorists doing 32 in a 30 zone on a Sunday night, so the police can pat themselves on the back for some more great police work.

  29. Riscyrich
    Pirate

    Router meltdown ?

    Of course we could not condone purchasing a nice powerful wireless router, preferably one that allows more than the 10mW EIRP limit, popping it on the same channel as his neighbours router and spamming the nuts of the wireless by creating a lot of broadcast traffic (arp?) on that network.

    Not sure if it would work, but it's a start down the revenge path and perhaps a step on to the BOFH learning curve for our young Padawan.

    Or just take this snips to next doors broadband feed, what ever works for you... Of course this would be illegal but 4th Nov is coming up, I'm sure the filth will be far too busy that night to be concerned about it.

    But...

    Flaming bag of dog poop FTW !

  30. Matthew Robinson
    Flame

    Surely he asked permission....

    Since DHCP is a request for an address...

    Laptop: "Hello base station can I play?"

    Base: "Certainly, here's an address and here's a dns server and here's how to get to the world."

    So, this is like finding a pie cooling on a widow ledge and asking "Can I have a slice?" to which the owner replies "sure, help yourself!" So NO CRIME HAS BEEN COMMITTED!!!

    Any half decent lawyer could argue this out of court.

    It's simple. If you leave a base station un-encrypted with dhcp enabled then surely you are inviting people to use your connection?

  31. David
    Coat

    whats wifi?

    Is that how i can access facebook without those wire thingies

  32. Slik Fandango
    Black Helicopters

    Easy enough...

    A few weeks ago I couldn't see part of my network. Found out that I needed to reset my wifi. BUT it took time to notice because my machine had automatically logged me into a neighbours totally insecure connection. So it can happen.

    And as for the caution - right - never accept one unless you are guilty. Once got road raged, ID'd the car and a copper said he would go and issue a caution. Then a much wiser plod told me that in that case it would be just as much work as making an arrest, etc as the guy can just deny it. Cos if he accepted it it goes on his record...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Hat's off to the dad

    Despite what they may say, a caution, due to Jaqui "Goosestepper" Smith, now means that you are pretty much shaffted for life, foever appearing on the all seeing .gov.uk database. Your life forever to be blighted by a double click to far....

  34. Steve
    Flame

    Another of the ultra paranoid nearly gets their wet dream!

    Just like the guy who complained to IT that his computer was bugged (by a USB to PS2 adapter it turned out) while not wanting anti-spyware to remove his Smiley toolbar! This guy nearly got that kid next door a criminal record for clicking the wrong network.

    Remember you only have to connect to get a DHCP lease, he may have never downloaded a byte of Internet routed data let alone any from other devices on the WLAN.

  35. ratfox Silver badge
    Stop

    Aren't cautions for 18+ years-old?

    ...At least that's what some unreliable do-it-yourself encyclopedia tells me...

    Oh, here's an official website giving the same info:

    http://tinyurl.com/6coxf4

    Criteria for a simple caution

    9. When deciding if a simple caution is appropriate, a police officer must answer the following questions: [...]

    *Is the suspect 18 years of age or older at the time the caution is to be administered[4]? Where a suspect is under 18, a Reprimand or Warning would be the equivalent disposal, as per the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

  36. Bad Beaver
    Coat

    FIVE TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!

    He clearly had it coming when he sniffed around other's networks to download his paedo-porn, the little terrorist-scum.

  37. Igor Mozolevsky

    RE: Volunteers?

    I have a GCFA, would that do? :-D I wonder where the laptop was actually sent though...

  38. Torben Mogensen

    Unsecured == invitation

    If you look at the details of WiFi, you will see that the standard unsecured protocol is equivalent to putting up a sign saying: "Free access to pool. Please come in and swim, we will even provide swimwear and towel".

    Also, wifi access points rarely tell you beforehand if they are private, public or public but not free (i.e., will take you to a screen that asks for your credit card number). At best, you will be told if a key is required and if encryption is used, but that is not the same as telling you if it is legal to access it without prior permission.

  39. Ian Todd
    Alert

    Idiot

    If the idiot cannot set up his wireless network, that's his problem. It's not rocket science. It is possible to accidentally connect of course to open networks (it's happened to me), but if he leaves it wide open when it should be private, he's asking for trouble.

  40. Stewart MacDuff

    Here's an idea

    All the Router/modem manufacturers could make the dafault WAP name "Use Freely If Not Encrypted"

    It's only greedy mass market ISP's who object to connection sharing.

  41. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Analogies

    It is very easy to mix up analogies when discussing this topic. Some are completely wrong, some are close to the mark.

    @The first comment, comparing it to leaving your house/car unlocked: This is actually quite close. Its is still a crime if someone nicks the car/your telly. Its your own stupid fault, but it's still a crime and the theif (if caught, something the police aren't so good at... whats their job description again?) would be prosecuted. Your insurance would not pay out because you were a dumb f**k, but a crime has still been committed.

    Same applies to wifi: Leave your router open, and you desrve to have it piggybacked. Leave it open, and leave unsecured shares on your network, with files containing all your personal details etc... you deserve to have your identity stolen, your important documents deleted etc.

    However I also agree with Matthew Robinson' comment: The DHCP server was asked for an address, it granted it. It sould be argued that this constitutes an agreement that you may use the network. If a gateway is included, it could be argued you are being invited to use their internet connection. I doubt a court would see it that way.

    Bottom line: If you don't want people on your wifi, don't leave it unsecured, and don't use DHCP without MAC filtering. If you're stupid enough to leave the door to your house open and a note on the dorr telling people where all your decent stuff is (equivalent of open wifi and open DHCP) you are an eejit who desrves all he gets.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Steve

    >>If I leave my house unlocked and you steal my tele, it's still theft and the police will still prosecute you.

    Actually they'll more likely give you a letter saying "Sorry your telly was stolen, please contact your insurer." Unless it was their turn to be on Channel 4's "Plods in Action", in which they'd rush off to arrest the actor they sent to nick it.

  43. Steve

    Standard police procedure

    I remember a kid at school claiming that I'd damaged his blazer/bag or something and his parents calling the police.

    An officer came round to our house and just sat there for an hour trying to pressure me into confessing to it. After the third time he told me that it would be "easier for everyone if I just admitted it" even my Daily Mail reading father decided that maybe the police weren't always right and asked him to leave.

    They always think they can push kids into accepting a caution so that they don't have to bother with the more tedious task of actually making a case.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Something doesn't add up...

    The article says the boy wasn't techie enough to change his computer name, but apparently he can hack an encrypted router and disable it's protection????

  45. Maty

    so what's my redress if ...

    I didn't want to log onto his network? However his router logged my comp in without my consent and gave me a IP number I didn't want or need. It exposed my computer to internet hackers and malware when I just turned on my laptop to play a game of offline Civ. Does this computer misuse stuff work both ways?

  46. Jack

    @Steve

    Ignorance of the existence of the law is not a defence, ignorance that what you are doing is against the law sometimes is. e.g., handling stolen goods, if you are unaware that the goods are stolen then that is a defence. I haven't read the Computer Misuse Act so I don't know, but it is possible that being unaware that you have connected to someone else's network is a defence.

  47. Mark

    @N1AK

    No, the analogy was excellent.

    Someone really has stolen your stuff. They cannot have done it accidentally. But this case the kid doesn't know which net he's on. In this case too, nothing has been stolen. If you want to consider "reduced capability" "stealing" then please get the plod squad onto the ISP for caps, downtime and all other forms of "stealing" of your connection.

    So why is it that if you're burgled, your insurance won't pay a dime if you left the door open? Because you should have secured it.

    Same with your WiFi.

  48. Mike

    Check the router instructions [the ones that nobody reads]

    At least one I read said something like "enabling encryption will ensure only specific users are allowed to connect" i.e. if you don't enable encryption you are allowing anyone to connect, this would indicate implicit permission for anyone to connect, obviously the wording would have to imply permission, but that's a test case I'd love to see.

    Interestingly enough, if you allow a user to use your network you are responsible for what they do, downloading porn, hacking etc. (computer misuse act, vicarious liability), but what if they have implicit use? there's more 'interesting' test cases out there which I'm sure we'll see eventually, and the law just ain't up to speed yet.

  49. Mark

    @Steve

    "If I leave my house unlocked and you steal my tele, it's still theft and the police will still prosecute you."

    What if the house has the same number, same street and same furniture and appearance as their own house? What if they thought because of this it WAS their house. And they went and ate some food and had a bath (food like they would buy and a bathroom with the same sort of stuff in). Is that stealing?

    NO.

  50. Igor Mozolevsky
    Thumb Up

    RE: so what's my redress if ...

    Don't know if you're actually being serious or joking... I certainly hope the latter!

  51. Mark

    @Dr Mouse

    "Leave it open, and leave unsecured shares on your network, with files containing all your personal details etc... you deserve to have your identity stolen, your important documents deleted etc."

    No, it's still a crime to steal documents. However, you can't be accused of computer trespass.

    If you left your car unlocked I sat in it and waited out of the rain, I have not stolen your car. You can claim civil issue over it, but the case will be thrown out because there's no damage. And any small amount that could be said ("He wore the seat out and listened to the radio!") were your own damn fault.

    But the kid didn't steal any data, didn't delete anything and the 1's and 0's were unused and your own damn fault for making available.

  52. Igor Mozolevsky
    Thumb Down

    RE: @N1AK 16:24 GMT

    > So why is it that if you're burgled, your insurance won't pay a dime

    > if you left the door open? Because you should have secured it.

    So the guy who nicked your stuff should get off too then?.. Think about it!

  53. James Taylor
    Alert

    Disabled the security?

    If he did that, wouldn't the owners connection die? It would be expecting to connect via wep, with a password...

    Methinks the owner maybe telling porkies to cover their ass.

  54. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down

    Surely.

    The plonker neighbour was a trespassing little slimeball for broadcasting his honeypot unsecured network into little Johnny's bedroom.

  55. Mark

    @Igor Mozolevsky

    "So the guy who nicked your stuff should get off too then?"

    No.

    Please show me where I said that.

    The reason why that nicking stuff is irrelevant is because nothing was stolen. Nothing that could be told as yours and not the kids. The network shows the same internet and there's no nametag on the 1's and 0's.

    So the "theft" part of real theft from your car or home is irrelevant.

  56. Mark

    re: so what's my redress if ...

    A right and proper question.

    What if the router logs what goes through. That's personal information there that this devious AP user has engineered to steal from him!

    After all, if you site an AP closer to them than their own, use the same identifier, the computer will log in through YOUR AP. This is called "interception of telecommunications" and is illegal.

    Then, having taken all the personal and private information needed, the nefarious AP owner then sets the ID back to the default and then claims the victim of theft and fraud (pretending to be your router so as to take your information) is illegally entering your system. Thereby ensuring that the victim cannot persue redress for the wrong done them!

    A genius plan!

  57. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    @AC - Something Doesn't Add Up

    "The article says the boy wasn't techie enough to change his computer name, but apparently he can hack an encrypted router and disable it's protection????"

    Exactly! Kid's innocent. Father wins his complaint.

  58. Stewart Haywood

    Primary job of the police.

    I always thought that the primary job of the police was to prevent crime. Detecting crime is a secodary activity when they have failed.

    I remember, many years ago, plod used to go around and check that shop doors and so on were locked at night. Maybe they could move with the times and have a number of cars outfitted with unsecured wifi detectors (not really very difficult to do). They could then track them down and tell the owners.

  59. Nano nano

    So that's why they say they need 42 days

    As the 'expert witness' above says, they must have de-skilled considerably ...

    But in the old series of Morse, Lewis could just walk over to a green-screen PC, clack on a few keys and locate hidden gold !

  60. Anonymous John

    @ @Eponymous Cowherd

    " But if you removed the encryption any devices the neighbour already had setup with encryption would all stop working, no?"

    No. If you view the available WiFi networks on the laptop it will show as unencrypted, but it will still connect.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Igor Mozolevsky

    The reason most insurance wouldn't pay out if you left your door unlocked is simply because it is a condition of the insurance. If you read the fine print of any home and contents you will find that theft will only be covered if the property was properly secured at the time of the theft. Furthermore, if you say you have an alarm to get lower premiums, then the alarm will have to have been enabled as well.

    Taking someone's property without permission (and without intention to return it) however is defined in the law as being theft. It is all to do with the definitions of these things. Any analogy between war driving and plain theft always falls down simply because we are dealing with different laws. If you disagree with the law then you should write to your MP, otherwise, deal with it.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    re: Analogies

    It's like your neighbour left his lawn furniture in your garden and you accidentally sat on it because it looks like your own.... ok that's a bad one.

    I bet this kids neighbour owns binoculars - in which case it's probably time to call the pedo police.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Oh come on

    Comparing accidental misconnects to walking into someone's house? In my head El Reg isn't anything like Slashdot - one of the reasons I like El Reg. Please keep it that way :)

  64. Pierre

    Burglar analogies wrong

    But still from what we're told it's almost impossible that the yoof be guilty of anything. Three and only 3 possibilities:

    -the wifi wasn't encrypted, and the router was broadcasting its name. In that case, the yoof axed permission and got the green light (that's how dhcp works). That's a no-case.

    -the wifi was protected somehow (but still presumably broadcasting its ID, how stupid can you get?). Then we must assume that the lad was savvy enough to crack the encryption, and _disabled it_. We also then admit that he gained admin access. So he choosed to disable the encryption, knowing that it was completely useless at that point and that he'd lock the owner out of the wifi and thus be spotted right away. And he didn't attempt to cover his tracks or to completely lock the owner out as a prank. Who's going to believe that? Seriously?

    -someone else cracked the neighbour's connection and disabled the security features, prior to the teen's "intrusion". Back to case one.

    In any case, the fact that the connection owner needed the neighbour to tell him that an alien computer had connected to the wifi tends to indicate that he was not tech savvy enough to even check the router status on the web interface, let alone set up the security. This is consistent with him being stoopid enough to tell a load of incoherent lies and think it'll go unnoticed.

    Also, remember that the yoof had his own connexion (I must admit it's not a valid point, as "illegal" downloading is so much safer when done from someone else's IP, but still.)

    As a final note, I must say "teen+laptop+intarwebs" is a pretty explosive combination. Glad I don't have to analyse the laptop.

  65. Pierre

    Also...

    First, @ Anonymous John (@ @Eponymous Cowherd )

    "No. If you view the available WiFi networks on the laptop it will show as unencrypted, but it will still connect."

    Yours may, ta very much to the Fine Folks in Redmond. Mine will tell me that something smells fishy, and won't connect until I give it the green light (possibly after a wee bit of investigation). Think of it. It makes a lot of sense. Say I am the bad guy next door, I name my router as yours, tells it to broadcast the same essid, and spoof your AP's MAC (I reckon it would take 30 seconds)... now the odds are all your traffic will go through hardware I own. Hope you're not into Internet banking...

    Second, @ all the burglary analogists, will you please go clue-picking on the icebanks in the nude (preferably with a couple rabid wolves gnawing on your genitals)? If your neighbour forcibly broadcasts his open network into YOUR house, you hardly need to break into HIS house to connect I suppose. I have a much better analogy: if the neighbour turns the TV sound all the way up, can he prosecute you for illegally listening to his pricey sports channel? I thought not.

  66. Igor Mozolevsky
    Coat

    @ various...

    This is upside down, because it's easier for me:-

    RE: Oh come on

    > Comparing accidental misconnects to walking into someone's house?

    How do you know they were accidental? Given the story, either version is plausible.

    RE: @Igor Mozolevsky @18:47 GMT

    > The reason most insurance...

    I suggest you revisit the definition of 'burglary' - you can easily draw parallels between that and hooking into someone else's WLAN.

    > Any analogy between war driving and plain theft...

    War driving is like walking up to a door and trying to open it, *but* this article is not about war driving.

    RE: @AC - Something Doesn't Add Up

    If you didn't know this - most perpetrators get caught because they've done something stupid

    RE: @Igor Mozolevsky @17:28 GMT

    > The network shows the same internet and there's no nametag on the 1's and 0's...

    Accessing someone else's network is still an offence! AFAIK, recklessness is not a defence in court... Incidcentally: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4721723.stm

    @ Everyone:

    There's so little detail here to actually form any conclusion so we can speculate as much as we can and we may be way off target!..

    @ El Reg:

    Time to get thread-capable feedback mechanism guys!

  67. Igor Mozolevsky
    Coat

    RE: That's the annoying part

    > It's OK to leave your connection wide open for abuse

    > because basically if anyone dares to use it and you

    > can prove it, they are in the wrong for unlawful usage.

    > Let's try that with my car or house, when all my stuff

    > gets nicked and I ask the insurance company to pay

    > out for my stupidity?

    So you'll be happy for anyone to use your land line, your electricity line, your gas supply, let anyone dump their cr*p into your sewer, gladly watch them put their rubbish into your bins?..

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    not just laptops

    My son has a PSP and on one occasion I wondered how he was online when our wi-fi wasn't even powered up to find out when it couldn't find the network for which it had an key it just defaulted to the nearest unsecured one. There was no way for him to know and as more and more devices are net enabled you have to wonder how often this happens and where it's going.

    Personally given how most of this happens behind the scenes for the average user I like the argument that permission is requested by a machine (which you are responsible for) and given by another machine (someone else is responsible for) and if ignorance is no excuse in law for committing a crime then it's no excuse for lack of responsibility in giving permission.

    As for the police actions you have to wonder how determined the police are to alienate the population and the joke is how much the police complain people have no respect for them any more. They like a lot of people (politicians spring to mind) need to remember respect has to be earned and isn't just automatically conferred.

  69. damian fell
    Linux

    Experiment

    Did a quick test,

    Turned off my router,

    Rebooted into Windows XP (Wow looks dated compared to KDE 4.1!),

    XP has miraculously found a BT Openworld conection and been issued an IP address!

    Lets face it if you're a teenage lad moving betwen college, home, mcdonalds, starbucks etc, you're going to have the "any available network" / "automatically connect to non-preferred networks" combination set if only to make your life easier (strangely worded settings - must be American!).

    If any of my neighbours had open connections, no doubt Windoze would have connected to the stronger signal.

    If the most common OS in use across the world at the moment currently connects you automatically, I doubt if even the best in the CPS could claim you'd broken the computer misue act just by being connected to the router.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another anonymous

    Well, this guy can allow his wifi transmission to bleed into his neighbors house and the father can't do anything. Too bad the father can't sue him for trespassing. Wish they would get this right. Someones unencrypted signal can come into my house and I can't tap into it? If my neighbors water hose leaked into my yard I could do what I wanted with it. Sounds like the neighbor had it out for him in the first place. What kind of neighbor is that!

  71. KarlTh

    @Steve

    Ignorance as to the law - that using someone else's Wifi is illegal - is indeed no defence. Ignorance as to *fact* - i.e. thinking the icon one is clicking is for one's own network, is. Moreover, as well as _actus rea_ a criminal offense requires _mens rea_ - the conscious intent to commit an offence.

  72. Steve Roper
    Go

    Another bad analogy

    Seeing all the analogies on this story reminded me of a similar case I remember from my own childhood, back in the early 80's.

    Next to my old school was a park, which in turn backed onto an empty lot. Kids used to cross this lot and the park on their way to and from school each day - so much so that the council eventually gravelled the rut the kids wore through the grass, effectively delineating it as a public thoroughfare.

    Nearly 2 years later, the lot was finally sold, but the gravel path stayed for several more weeks. Then one day the new owner, who happened to be a cop, was on the site with the surveyor marking out where his new house was to be built. When he saw some kids crossing the lot, he tried to prosecute them for trespassing. Granted, a couple of the boys had gotten a bit mouthy when he first told them to get off the land and go around, but still...

    Fortunately the local magistrate dismissed the case, since the owner had not removed the path at that stage, nor had he erected any fencing or signage to advise the public that the situation had changed. A couple of days later, that was fixed; the fence went up, the path vanished, and the kids found a new way across the estate.

    It seems to me that having an open network accessible to the public is a bit like this path. It's accessible from a public area, and there's no fencing or signage to advise the public that this is a private network. If you don't want the public using your network, put up a fence - encrypt it. THEN you can talk trespassing!

    Go sign because unfenced and unsigned land is a public thoroughfare...

  73. David Wilkinson

    you can hack stuff without understanding it

    You don't have to know anything to hack a router. There are computer enthusiast websites with detailed step by step instructions, youtube video's ......

    I read several of these tutorials and none of them mentioned anything about what types of evidence gets left behind on the Router or your own computer or how to remove it.

    I still think more likely than not the router was just accidentally left unprotected.

    Just saying breaking is a lot easier than understanding the technology enough to cover your tracks.

  74. This post has been deleted by its author

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    wifi?

    You mean the intertubes have no wires!

  76. Pierre
    Thumb Up

    take 2, because there is no such thing as too much sense

    @ all the burglary analogists, will you please go clue-picking on the icebanks in the nude (preferably with a couple rabid wolves gnawing on your genitals)? If your neighbour forcibly broadcasts his open network into YOUR house, you hardly need to break into HIS house to connect I suppose. I have a much better analogy: if the neighbour turns the TV sound all the way up, can he prosecute you for illegally listening to his pricey sports channel? I thought not.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can understand the neighbor.

    I can understand why the neighbor called in the coppers. Imagine yourself unable to secure your own wireless network and unable to determine where the bandwidth is going. Next imagine your tech-savvy friend alerts you that someone has hacked into your network. You might have sensitive documents, credit card numbers, private pictures and who knows what else that the neighbor boy now has. Remember that someone who can't secure their own network may also have lax security protecting their sensitive data so the fellow may've wanted police to investigate whether the lad had any data and examine the laptop, not just give the lad's father a warning and ask him to stop without knowing to what extent he had been compromised.

    Lastly, consider that if the internet connection had enough traffic that the slowness was noticable, perhaps the lad had been using P2P filesharing and the account owner did not want that traced back to his account if anti-piracy agents took notice, the account owner would then want a record of the fact that the lad had been using his account which isn't going to happen if it merely notifies the lad's father without getting police involved.

  78. ShaggyDoggy

    Couple of questions please ...

    - how do you refuse a caution ?

    - since he accessed the router, which last time I looked isn't a computer, how come it's "computer misuse"

    Next thing is ringing a wrong number is computer misuse because some phones are about as clever as routers these days

  79. FreeTard
    Thumb Down

    @1st AC @KarITH

    Plod next door should be arrested because his (and my) itouch automagically joins ANY open available wifi it can connect to. This obviously is an offence. Plod, arrest plod please.

    How many devices do this be default?

  80. This post has been deleted by its author

  81. Adam Oellermann
    Thumb Down

    Is it really stealing?

    To all those who say "if I leave my house unlocked and you steal my telly, it's still stealing" I say that's the wrong analogy. He didn't enter their house, for example, nor did he steal anything. A better analogy would be "if I put my TV into your living room, and you watch it, it's stealing" - which seems a bit silly. Honestly, if you're going to beam your wifi all over my property, it should really be up to you to secure it if you don't want me to use it.

    If I were the lad, I'd call the police and tell them that my neighbours were trespassing with their WIFI - see, officer, they've put it all over my house and I haven't given permission - and get them arrested back. Turn-about is fair play, as they say.

  82. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Boffin

    On every street in the UK

    In any built up area you can see between 3 to 15 access points. There are usually two or three open. It seems that when you have very few access points the owners leave them open feeling the risk is low. When there are a lot then owners tend to secure them because they feel the risk is higher. Oddly this tends to leave two or three open in any area.

    I sold a Vista laptop and connected it to the customers existing router. However Vista always seemed to prefer hooking into the unsecured connection of a neighbour. This was not really a problem for the customer until they bought a networked printer. Once I managed to lock it onto their own AP they were pleased with the increased speed. I showed them how to check that they are on their own AP.

    This is typical Microsoft, they try to dumb it down and make it easy for dumb people to get online. As a result they make it almost impossible for smart people to be sure that they have set it up securely.

    I regard an open access point as an invitation to borrow the Internet. Not to slow it to a crawl or to snoop. I expect this lad had no idea how full of holes Vista is. His computer is probably full of viruses since Norton runs out after 3 months. And that's another thing, Norton is like a target to viruses saying Hack Me.

  83. Mark

    @Igor Mozolevsky

    "So you'll be happy for anyone to use your land line, your electricity line, your gas supply, let anyone dump their cr*p into your sewer, gladly watch them put their rubbish into your bins?.."

    No, but they wouldn't call it computer trespass either.

    They'd also be happy to change their ways if their wireless access point was being used and they didn't know.

  84. Mark

    @Igor Mozolevsky

    "I suggest you revisit the definition of 'burglary' - you can easily draw parallels between that and hooking into someone else's WLAN."

    I suggest you look at the laws against trespass. You can draw parallels between that and sending wireless signals into someone else's property.

    I suggest you look at the noise abatement laws. You can draw parallels between that and sending wireless signals into someone else's property.

    (Which the WAP is doing)

    I suggest you stop taking "analogy" and making it mean "equals".

    Retard.

  85. Ian Griffiths

    But...

    He could of stolen the neighbours usage allowance???

    If neighbour gets upto 20GB a month and teenager used 15GB, then as the neighbour can no longer use his full 20, then it could be classed as theft? Couldn't it?

  86. Nameless Faceless Computer User
    Thumb Down

    petty

    Some readers may remember a time when all computers connected to the Internet were available to be used as a router or mail server by anyone else. At one time there was a spirit of cooperation which existed among people on-line, similar to those who use amateur (ham) radio. Personally, I check my wireless connections from time to time and simply boot anyone who may have connected for some reason. It's hardly an act which requires the police to be called.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    tresspass

    Tresspass is a civil offence.

    So would the like of Mark and Adam Oellermann put their money where their mouths are and try prosecute their neighbours for this.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    open wifi

    AC wrote:

    "If its locked with any form of encryption (however weak or strong) its private and any access is against the law, if it is left open then its public it is up to the owner to secure it."

    But let's not misunderstand that accessing an unsecured wifi intentionally is illegal.

    My mother lives in a old people's town (predominantly old people anyway!), and there are no internet cafes there, when I went to visit her, I drove around the town looking for an unsecured wifi, I found one, pulled up and checked my emails. Shortly after that came the prosecution of the guy that was using his laptop sitting on a wall, piggybacking of someone's wi-fi, noticed by a couple of dumb plastic PCSOs.

    The town still suffers from a lack of public internet access so when I go on holiday there, I'm screwed.

    I must admit it felt quite satisfying to jump on to someone else's connection, but in reality, checking a few emails isn't going to have any adverse affect on the owner's use of their data connection and it's certainly not costing the owner any extra money. Perfectly harmless.

    The law should be changed to permit access to open wifi connections if the duration of access is limited to say 1 hour and the volume of traffic is limited to say 5MB, or rather, not prosecute if someone piggy backs off an open wifi with these conditions.

    You've got a law that results in prosecuting people when there is no harmful effect whatsoever.

    And any muppet that doesn't have a secure wifi, well, tough mate.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nameless Faceless Computer User

    "Personally, I check my wireless connections from time to time and simply boot anyone who may have connected for some reason. It's hardly an act which requires the police to be called."

    The guy managed to figure out that another address had been assigned by the DHCP server? Sounds fairly computer literate to me. Yet, he discovers his connection is being used by someone else, simply secure it and leave it at that, recognise he made a balls up by not activating the encryption in the first place.

    Makes me wonder why he really did call the police, just to cause trouble for someone else I wonder? Revenge? if you ask me, he's wasting their time.

    Makes me wonder what a bunch of muppets the coppers are, they should have used their descretion and say to him "silly boy, you should have activated encryption in the first place, activate it, and the problem is solved, no need to for us to spend (waste) our time investigating this". And a little clip around the ear.

    I don't know, the coppers these days, discretion seems to have gone out the window. It all seems to be about investigating, criminalising anything just so they can claim they've solved another crime for the crime stats.

    The father was right not to accept the caution, that would be an admission the boy did something wrong.

  90. William Old
    Flame

    @Steve Roper

    Steve, either you have a bad memory, or you are making it up.

    Tespass is a civil tort, not a criminal offence, and there's simply no way that it would ever get within a mile of a Magistrates' Court, unless the County Court happened to be built that near, because if you did decide to sue someone for damages for trespass, that's where the claim would be dealt with - and in a Small Claims arbitration by a District Judge, if the claim was under £5,000.

    The only other possibility is that you are posting from the United States, but I've never heard of an American magistrate before...?

  91. Mark

    @William Old

    Well, the US just told the UK government that McKinnon did $5,000 damage to each of the 98 computers he logged on, where all they had proof of was that he'd got on there. That's trespass.

    And it was enough to kick the "he has to be extradited for his crimes" meme. Note the "crimes".

    And to the AC who said

    "But let's not misunderstand that accessing an unsecured wifi intentionally is illegal."

    No, it is not necessarily legal.

    Like riding on a pavement on a bike. Not illegal but you have no right to cycle there.

    And then you have to prove the kid DID intentionally access the WAP.

    Which hasn't been done.

  92. Mark

    re: But...

    And if the end of the month comes around and the 250GB limit has not been reached, nothing is lost.

    What about when a system problem at the DSLAM causes the connection to be lost. Is the ISP now stealing his access? My ISP refuses to pay back any money whatsoever for their inability to keep a network going 100% yet get REALLY shirty if I don't pay 100% of the time.

  93. Arclight
    Coat

    Why the abuse?

    "inform lad or his parent of what happened and ask him to stop?"

    Why is everyone assuming that the neighbour hadn't gone round to complain, and that the father told me fug off?

    It is illegal, in the uk, to intercept a message not intended for use by you. I'm not sure of the exact wording, but it basically covers mobile phone, emergency services and air traffic transimissions. It could also be used to cover Wi-fi connections.

    Whether or not the person is dumb for leaving the connection open, is beside the point. Your all forgetting that your experienced PC's users, and that PC's and the internet is now open to the masses more than ever.

    To me this story smacks more of the manufacturers needing to make this stuff easier for the masses to set up. How many on here have family that have no idea about networks or PC's in general, but want to use the internet? Just because they're 'stupid' for not knowing exactly how to lock down their network, it does not give every spotty porn surfer the right to access their network, in the same way an unlocked car gives chav's the right go for a joyride in it.

  94. steogede

    Car analogies

    I wonder, what analogy would we use if the neighbour left the wifi open with DHCP enabled, and configured the router such that all the HTTP requests were redirected to some dodgy site?

    Perhaps it is a little like leaving the car unlocked with the engine running and the brakes cut.

    @mark - I like your noise abatement analogy

    >> I suggest you stop taking "analogy" and making it mean "equals".

    That is a very valid point, analogies are just that - i.e. similar in some respects, not identical in all.

    Finally, I have to say that the father in this case was the hero of the hour. Many parents would be tricked by the police into taking the (seemingly) easy option. I think you could probably draw many parallels between a police caution and a forced confession.

  95. Mark

    @Arclight

    "Why is everyone assuming that the neighbour hadn't gone round to complain, and that the father told me fug off?"

    And why did you just make that accusation?

    Why are you not assuming that this fellow is a KP enthusiast and setting himself up to be pardoned "'cos that horny teenager done it"? If we're going to make shit up, why not go hog wild?

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Not just Windows that autoconnects

    This problem doesn't just affect Windows users; I believe MacOS will also join an unsecured network if that is what's available. My Linux machine did exactly that the other night; It was unable to join my own network due to an encryption problem and it merrily latched on to an unsecured network called "DEFAULT" belonging to my neighbour. Fortunately KNetworkManager thought to pop up a little bubble from the system tray saying "Now connected to wireless network 'DEFAULT'" and I promptly reconnected to the right network.

    If I'd not been watching the screen while everything logged in I'd not have noticed until I tried to access one of my network resources and couldn't. Since most people don't have shared drives or network printing in their house they probably wouldn't notice.

    I wonder if there was already some animosity between the two parties involved here. Great way to get your neighbour's house hacker/pedo raided. Turn off your encryption, wait for your neighbour to connect by accident then call the plod.

    Most of the domestic APs I know don't keep their DHCP tables when shut down. As a first try, if someone had the password for an access point I would imagine logging in and hitting the "restart" button after doing something naughty would get rid of the evidence as long as they made sure their laptop didn't reconnect after the AP came back up.

  97. Pierre

    Arclight, please engage brain.

    "To me this story smacks more of the manufacturers needing to make this stuff easier for the masses to set up."

    You mean, like a self-explanatory web interface? Plus a bundled wiz-on-a-disk? There's no way to make it easier without implanting probes directly in the user's brain (provided you can find it). No, the guy was just dumb as fuck. Just like about half the comments on this story.

    I'm off, need to crank the volume up and sue my neighbour for eavesdropping.

  98. Bob. Hitchen
    Boffin

    Plodding is usually best

    I suspect there's more to this story but we's never going to know. Anybody who uses wireless is open season give me ethernet or ethernet over mains everytime. Last time I looked with a laptop(some time back) there were about 10 wireless networks available only one of which was encrypted and it wasn't the three commercial ones - go figure. Police obviously decided that they had leapt before they looked and that Brazilian case is topical at the moment. It ain't like it's the crime of the century.

  99. Igor Mozolevsky
    Paris Hilton

    @Mark

    Unauthorised access to computer networks, or any other network for that matter, is still illegal. The idea that you propose of 'forceful' transmission into the neighbour's airspace is plain risible! Seriously, stop clutching at straws!

    Also,

    > Like riding on a pavement on a bike. Not illegal...

    Actually it is!

  100. Joe Blogs

    Not sure now..

    I was reading this thinking, if something like that happened I would just go round to the neighbours and say stop it please. However, thinking about it, getting the cops involved isn't such a bad idea. What if the neighbour had been surfing kiddie porn, you go round and say stop it, They stop it. Next week plod comes and arrests you for viewing kiddie porn on-line. You say it was next door, they ask next door who say - no - not me - got my own WiFi here. At least this way, if the someone has been surfing for KP on your connection, then you have a police record that peeps next door have also been using the Wifi.

    Just me 2p

  101. Mark

    re Not sure now...

    What if the owner of the AP had been surfing KP? Good way to ensure he can't be done for it. Even if found on his computer, he could just say "the kid hacked my machine and put his filth on it! He'd already hacked by AP!!!".

  102. Mark

    Clueless Igor

    > > Like riding on a pavement on a bike. Not illegal...

    >

    > Actually it is!

    Nope. A bylaw can attempt to make it illegal. It isn't a law, however.

    Read up on it.

  103. Peter Lawrence
    Stop

    @ Arclight

    My family may not be as computer literate as I, but they do have the good sense to ask me when something they don't understand arises. Ignorance is not a defense.

    Plus, if the teen's father had been approached before, would the complainant not have had the opportunity to properly secure the network to avoid any further problems? At any rate, it appears that the complainant has not taken due diligence in securing his property. It reminds me of the blokes who are too cheap to pay for someone like myself to come and set up their wireless APs properly, yet completely freak out when they find that someone's been using their AP to send out mass amounts of crud which the owner is now responsible for.

  104. Igor Mozolevsky
    Paris Hilton

    @Clueless Igor

    When did this become an ad hominem debate?

    Even a school kid should be able to digest the text below:

    http://www.bikeforall.net/content/cycling_and_the_law.php

  105. Igor Mozolevsky

    @re Not sure now...

    "the kid hacked my machine and put his filth on it! He'd already hacked by AP!!!".

    True, the trojan defence has often been used in courts and, worryingly, often successfully...

  106. KarlTh

    @Mark

    The bylaw thing is irrelevant. Bicycles on pavements are illegal under English Law. Bicycles are, in law, carriages (as a consequence of the Taylor v Goodwin judgment in 1879) and should be on the highway not footpaths.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    analogies

    It seems a lot of the arguement is

    "He left the wifi open, therefore he was saying its ok".

    Which sounds a lot like

    "She was wearing a short skirt, she was asking to be raped."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    People who leave their wifi open are making an error, but do we as a society condone the ripping off of those unable to understand? So its ok for a builder to con an old lady, after all, she was too stupid to see his ploy.

    The Skull and Crossbones, just because

  108. Pierre
    Stop

    An open wifi IS an invitation

    An open wifi that broadcasts its ID and gives away IPs _is actually_ a connection invitation. And I mean it in the most litteral sense. This is not an analogy. The router IS ACTUALLY inviting the world to freely connect. If you fail to understand that you shouldn't be allowed to even look at a networked computer or a router.

    If you want to run a private network, disable or limit the DHCP server, disable the ESSID broadcasting, and encrypt the flux (all three should be done, however any one taken separately should suffice to indicate that you do not mean to share, and thus would entitle you to engage and destroy any trespasser). If you don't do that, it's like inviting your neighbour for tea and then getting him arrested for burglary (this is an analogy. The first paragraph, however, IS NOT. I insist because some posters here seem to be particularly clueproof).

    @ Igor: "The idea that you propose of 'forceful' transmission into the neighbour's airspace is plain risible! Seriously, stop clutching at straws!" No it's not risible, yes it is how it works, and yes you just lost your computing licence.

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Again...

    Who cares? If you're that bothered and unable to protect yourself - don't use Wireless, anyone who knows anything knows it's vulnerable as f*ck, even with WEP/WPA... and the whole story is just weird...so what, the guy made a call to 999 saying that his broadband was slow?? and they sent regular p*gs around to investigate a `computer crime`....the same evening?? LOL.....what a f*ckin joke...is this serious? If so then frankly I'm surprised they managed to identify the computer and didn't take the set-top box or DVD player by mistake. Surely the coppers are busy enough dealing with the knife crime "epidemic".

    What is wrong with people? Does anyone actually need wireless in their house? I mean, really? FFS...just use a long ethernet cable...it avoids all of these problems. Still I suppose the kind of people who use wireless in their houses are the same kind of people who would trip over aforementioned network cables and take a tumble down the stairs!

    And as for the short skirt / raped comment/analogy, well, hate to say it, but there is something about taking responsibility for yourself, and your actions, and the resultant outcomes. Yes that applies to women and skirts too. Whilst the truth may seem distasteful to the weaker amongst you, it's makes it no less true. A woman who goes out amongst drunken (or even not so drunken) men in revealing clothing increases her chances of attracting sexual attention, and that's that. It's life, deal with it. You can bitch and moan about it all you like, but it won't change the way a large number of men will react if they see an undercarriage on full display. The same is true for everything else. If you can't secure yourself (in any given way) then YES, you are vulnerable, which is ostensibly why in modern society we have police farces, to stand up for those who can't /won't look after themselves, (and increasingly to ensure we are ALL that way).

    As for right and wrong, it simply doesn't exist. There is only the Golden Rule, with caveats.

  110. Mark

    Bikes on pathways

    It's not illegal. You have no right to use a bike on a pedestrian pathway.

    Check the text of the law and the punishment thereof (none if there's no accident).

  111. Igor Mozolevsky
    Paris Hilton

    @An open wifi IS an invitation

    > @ Igor: "The idea that you propose of 'forceful' transmission into the

    > neighbour's airspace is plain risible! Seriously, stop clutching at

    > straws!" No it's not risible, yes it is how it works, and yes you just

    > lost your computing licence.

    So if I live near the airport, the ATC/NDB and other signals are intruding into my airspace? I'm glad to know that I can, by the same logic, take any TV/radio broadcaster for forcing their signal onto me to court, the same goes for the GSM providers, the US gov't for forcing GSM, BT for their intrusion with OpenZone, T-Mobile for their intrusion with this HotSpot interference, police/fire/ambulance service that drive past my residence and whoever else I can pick up with radio equipment... Who needs to work; I'll get busy drawing up a list!

  112. Igor Mozolevsky
    Paris Hilton

    RE: An open wifi IS an invitation

    >@ Igor: ...

    ... oh and, of course, the council for putting all these street lights that are emitting the electro-magnetic signal in the visible spectrum right through my windows!

  113. Igor Mozolevsky
    Paris Hilton

    RE: Bikes on pathways

    Did you even read the link I posted?

  114. Pierre
    Thumb Down

    Igor, are you really that daft or are you faking it?

    I never said that you should prosecute for invasion of your airspace. Though actually some people have tried to sue over GSM "nocive" radiations. The counsil doesn't sue you for looking at their traffick light I think.

    If you broadcast a signal that says "Hi, my name is [ESSID, I'm an open unencrypted network, please come and I'll give you an IP to access the tarwub", it's a bit stupid to sue people who accept the invite. And an open wifi with ESSID broadcast and unrestricted DHCP service is saying exactly that, repeatedly, to every computer in range.

    Now that you proved without any possible doubt that you are network-illiterate, you can stop digging.

  115. Pierre

    Also, Igor,

    If your neighbour emits strong sound waves that invade your house, I believe you can get the plods to act against him. So, provided you suffer from your neighbour's careless wifi broadcasting, the idea of asking the plods to make him stop isn't risible. Futile, still.

    In any case, the idea of HIM unleashing the pigs on your track for listening to his racket is the risible one. And that's what the current situation looks like (provided the lad did not crack the encryption. In that case, the case would be debatable).

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    WRT54G

    Is that guy's neighbour running a Linksys WRT54G by any chance?

    Piece of crap, that router. It disabled WEP security after I installed a firmware upgrade (it was having problems with DynDNS, which we use for the company's internet-enabled CCTV system). Good thing an eagle-eyed staff from publishing noticed that the connection was unsecured shortly after the upgrade.

    Black helicopter, because it's Linksys' firmware upgrade that is at fault.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    stupid 'analogies'

    "connecting to the wrong network by mistake is not a crime, and the fact that the lad had his own Wi-Fi connection available would lend credence to that argument."

    No that makes no sense. Not knowing you committed a crime/ committing a crime by accident does not get you off the hook the last time anyone who did it checked..

    Also, what does 9 o'clock and quarter to 12 mean exactly??

    9 am to 12 pm ??? 9pm to 12pm ??

    You all need to stop with the stupid 'analogies'. Almost none of them can be compared.

    Yes, leaving your car unlocked is stupid. But the person breaking into it/''gaining access''(without permission?) and stealing your radio is still committing a crime. GET IT ? Bloody hell...

  118. Arclight
    Flame

    @Mark

    What accusation? Your missing my point entirely, I pointed out that no-one on here knows the sequence of events leading upto this. The only facts in the story are that the kid was questioned over the illegal use of his neighbours wifi, and his dad is a bit annoyed.

    Everyone on here is making the assumptions that:

    A) the guy didn't complain to the neighbour

    B) he must have some knowledge of IT to figure out who was hacking the network, therefore its his own fault. When it could have been a friend, or the even the police that worked out who it was.

    Such comments as ".so what, the guy made a call to 999 saying that his broadband was slow?? and they sent regular p*gs around to investigate a `computer crime`....the same evening?? LOL.....what a f*ckin joke...is this serious?" prove my point

    At what point is any of the above even hinted at in the story. For a start, anybody with any idea as to how slow Lincs police take to respond would just laugh at that.

    TBH the reaction here makes me wonder how many people knowingly use their neighbours open wi-fi network

  119. Pierre

    Arclight, AC

    "Everyone on here is making the assumptions that: B) he must have some knowledge of IT to figure out who was hacking the network, therefore its his own fault. When it could have been a friend, or the even the police that worked out who it was."

    Everyone is is assuming the contrary. Re-read the articles and the comments.

    But you and a few ACs are making the assumption that the young lad could have had any clue that the neighbour didn't want him to leech on the connection. Which is very probably wrong. Y'all go learn what wifi devices tell each other when an AP broadcasts its ID with no encryption and a DHCP server giving away local IPs. The AP repeatedly yell "all welcome, come connect" to every wifi-enabled device in range. Combined with the fact that there ARE people around who willingly share their connexion via wifi, plus the existence of numerous public open wifi networks, makes it impossible to know that this open wifi you see is not meant to be open.

    All that assuming that the yoof connected there willingly, which is less than certain.

    And before you smuggily jumped to the wrong conclusion, I do allow some of my neighbours into my wifi network. Not the other way round.

  120. Mark

    re: stupid 'analogies'

    "No that makes no sense. Not knowing you committed a crime/ committing a crime by accident does not get you off the hook the last time anyone who did it checked.."

    Several times, actually.

    Ollie North.

    WMDs.

    BAE bribes.

    etc.

    It is also not a criminal act to trespass if you don't know you're trespassing. It isn't hacking because no hacking was needed.

  121. Mark

    @Arclight

    The accusation is

    "Why is everyone assuming that the neighbour hadn't gone round to complain, and that the father told me fug off?"

    Accusation because otherwise the answer to this question would be the HUGELY obvious "because we don't know he did".

  122. Mark

    @analogies

    "So its ok for a builder to con an old lady, after all, she was too stupid to see his ploy."

    This isn't fraud. It isn't a con.

    If the kid had said to the neighbour "you have to turn off the WEP protocol else your windows machine won't be able to connect" would be fraud.

    Now, how about slander and libel (if the neighbour has written down the accusation that the kid hacked in)? That's a crime too. Is it OK to allow that just because the dimwit writing it didn't know any better?

    What about barratry? The dimwit is trying to (ab)use the court system instead of operating his equipment safely. That's barratry.

    Waste of police time.

    All OK just because the dimwitted little moron doesn't understand (or WANT to understand) about wireless access.

    Fuck him.

  123. Jason Clery

    neighbours

    It seems people think this happened in Ramsey Street, full of good neighbours.

    The people next door could have been troublemakers, so the last thing you want to do is approach them.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Defence

    "e.g., handling stolen goods, if you are unaware that the goods are stolen then that is a defence."

    Not necessarilly a defence. It is a plea in mitigation. If the prosecution could prove beyond doubt that you handled stolen goods then you comitted the offence. It would be up to you to prove that you didn't know you were handling stolen goods in order to mitigate.

    </PEDANT>

  125. Mark
    Stop

    re: neighbours

    And the complaining one could be a neighbour from hell.

    So either pull assumptions for EITHER side or just go with what we know here.

    1) Unsecured WAP

    2) Unsecured WAP can be automatically connected by LOTS of things with no evidence

    3) Jump straight to "hacked my wireless" and runs to the police

  126. Mark
    Stop

    went to Igor's link and no, doesn't prove his point

    from the link:

    "Cyclists have no right to cycle on a footpath away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence."

    Which is what I said.

    And in those cases, it is almost always (I know of no borough that does otherwise) that any offense committed is a criminal one on the cyclist. There's NO PUNISHMENT no fine or anything for the act of cycling, but if you bump,scrape or hit someone while there it is considered automatically your fault. Just like rear-ending a car. Considered your fault. And in the sake of the bylaw turns what could be a solely civil issue into a criminal one (though maybe still a misdemeanour).

    So Igor's link doesn't disagree with me and doesn't prove Igor right.

    NOTE: you have to know how to read the laws. If there's no fine or punishment against a law, it is against the law but only turns any incident into a criminal one. I only found that out when trying to explain to the police how what the plumber did was fraud. Now the police COULD have been lying to me, but they shouldn't have, so I will take their explanation as correct.

  127. RaelianWingnut
    IT Angle

    @Bob. Hitchen...

    > or ethernet over mains everytime.

    Domestic electrical systems often group several houses together on one main circuit. Years back, a suggestible friend was convinced she was hearing ghosts when she consistently heard (infant) breating on a mains-connected audio baby monitor.

    So, 1337, yeah, cool. Totally. Do this...

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