Is it illegal to "PIGGYBACK" wireless signals...???

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by taylorleesa0, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. taylorleesa0

    taylorleesa0 Guest

    A friend of mine got a LAPTOP for Christmas and claims that virtually
    anywhere she goes... she is able to tap into the internet.

    Her apartment complex, the mall, etc... almost everywhere she's able
    to connect to the internet and, as she says, I am "PIGGYBACKING". I
    think only briefly was she unable to connect.

    My first question is, is this legal? And if it is legal, is it
    considered to be in bad taste to do this? After all... somebody is
    paying for this.

    And.. My last question. Is this really as widespread as she makes it
    seem. She cliams all of her family and friends do it and have done it
    for a few years now... and have never "had any problems".

    Thanks in advance

    LEESA (I)

    PS: Are there really wireless signals all over the place as she is
    suggeting?
     
    taylorleesa0, Dec 26, 2008
    #1
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  2. taylorleesa0

    richard Guest


    If the dumb idiots don't secure their system, that's to bad.
    Many places do offer free access and I can use those systems just as
    any one else can.
    Several national motel chains offer free access with no password
    needed.
    As do many fast food joints. So it is possible that "hot spots" are
    all over the place if you look for them.

    Legal? Yep. Until some jackass writes a law saying otherwise. Then
    how's it gonna get enforced?
     
    richard, Dec 26, 2008
    #2
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  3. taylorleesa0

    VanguardLH Guest

    If they're public, yes, it's legal. Unless your friend is very careful
    to ensure her communications are encrypted, everything she sends and
    receives can be sniffed by someone else, including her logins.

    If they're private regardless that the boob didn't secure their network,
    no, it's not legal. It's also illegal (in my area) to walk into
    someone's house to use whatever is inside just because they happen to
    leave their front door unlocked.

    All depends to WHAT she is connecting.

    Yep, someone is paying for it. Public libraries have wifi hotspots (and
    they even have computers). Your taxes pay for it. Restaurants, book
    stores, and cafes have them. Their overhead which they charge onto
    their sales pays for it. Some cities have them around. Again, your
    taxes pay for them.
    It's widespread in her area. She apparently lives in the center of a
    metropolis. If you live in suburbs or rural areas, you'll have to go
    hunting for them if they even exist. Depends on the area.

    Do your own research starting with wifi hotspots:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=+wifi++hotspot

    Some of those results will give you spots in your area with public wifi
    access.
    You already asked this. Already answered.
     
    VanguardLH, Dec 26, 2008
    #3
  4. taylorleesa0

    Mike Easter Guest

    wrote:
    User-Agent: G2/1.0

    Googlegroups is a bad way to read and post to usenet for a lot of reasons.
    The wikipedia article on piggybacking
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piggybacking_(internet_access)

    .... covers terminology issues: piggybacking vs wifi hotspotting vs
    wardriving. The article considers wireless piggybacking to be using some
    subscriber's wireless access without their knowledge or permission;
    whereas a wifi hotspot which is intended for anyone's use ie permitted,
    and wardriving sport is just to map and log the existence of hotspots.

    You can also piggyback off a hotspot which is (supposed to be) intended
    only for the use of an establishment's customers while/but you are not
    being their customer.

    The article also covers piggybacking for illegal activities, and covers
    the ethics or (im)morality of piggybacking by comparing it to stealing TV
    signal access, reading a newspaper over someone's shoulder, or walking
    into someone's unlocked home uninvited, as compared to reading under a
    public streetlight or sitting on a public bench.

    Unfortunately that article doesn't address the insecurity risks of
    piggybacking or hotspotting. but security concerns are addressed in the
    wiki article on hotspotting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotspot_(Wi-Fi)

    (Il)Legality of piggybacking considered by country for US, Canada,
    Australia, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_Piggybacking
     
    Mike Easter, Dec 26, 2008
    #4
  5. taylorleesa0

    chuckcar Guest

    wrote in

    It has been illegal in Canada and the US at least since the 1970's.
    Stealing of computer resources was possibly the first pure computer law
    written. You are stealing usage of that persons internet that *they* pay
    for. You can go to jail, can be found *very* easily without any warning
    and will loose all computer access at minimum once caught. To say nothing
    of having to replace a busted front door while in jail. There's stories
    all the time about "war drivers" being caught. And they are driving a car
    at the time. If you're sitting in a house, you're toast twice as easily.
     
    chuckcar, Dec 26, 2008
    #5
  6. taylorleesa0

    Pennywise Guest

    Yes, she is right. lot of people just don't take the time to secure
    their Wireless internet. And some of it is just free, coffee shops
    colleges whatever.
     
    Pennywise, Dec 26, 2008
    #6
  7. taylorleesa0

    Pennywise Guest

    Pennywise, Dec 26, 2008
    #7
  8. taylorleesa0

    Evan Platt Guest

    Not too sure on the difference between 'too' and 'to' are you?

    So by your logic, if you have a door that's easy to pick, and I break
    in and steal everything in your house, that's 'to' bad?
    Uhhh really? Thanks for sharing.
    Wow.. Still don't have a clue, do you?
     
    Evan Platt, Dec 27, 2008
    #8
  9. taylorleesa0

    Evan Platt Guest

    Seen a few too many movies. Not done that often, especially for non
    violent criminals.
     
    Evan Platt, Dec 27, 2008
    #9
  10. taylorleesa0

    richard Guest

    You didn't include "two".

    If you had to pick the lock then that is illegal.
    If you were stupid enough to leave your house unlocked, it is still
    considered theft but that's not the point here.

    The point is, if you're going to have a system and you don't want
    others using it, you secure it. If you don't secure it, you're fair
    game.

    Obviously you don't.
     
    richard, Dec 27, 2008
    #10
  11. taylorleesa0

    richard Guest

    You're mixing apples with spinach.

    That unsecure system has no idea that the computer connected to it
    isn't yours.
    Not necessarily. Problem is, wifi is radio so their airwaves have no
    restrictions. The airwaves can not be contained within the building.

    e.g. The cincinnati law library is "public" but you can't use it
    unless you're an attorney.

    there are many public libraries which are privately funded.
     
    richard, Dec 27, 2008
    #11
  12. taylorleesa0

    richard Guest


    Well according to NCIS and both CSI shows, they can track you down
    purely by your IP in a matter of seconds. Problem is, if you're
    piggybacking, guess who they're gonna find? You? Hardly.

    The computer law you speak of was written before their even was an
    internet, refers to "hacking". The art of getting by security measures
    and stealing stuff or doing damage.

    There is no law against driving around and finding the sources of
    radio signals. If those "wardrivers" were actually caught and busted,
    I'd be damned amazed.

    The wikipedia had a mention of a guy who had been busted for using a
    system simply because he was in his car near the "cafe" and not an
    actual customer. What these fools need to do is to issue a password to
    their actual customers when asked for one. The that guy in his car is
    SOL. Then who's to say the guy hadn't been a customer before the cop
    had seen him in his car?

    While some law enforcement may get away with using "unauthorized
    access" as a catch all, that migh not hold up in a higher court if
    challenged. It's not the same thing as me coupling a wire to your
    cable network and watching cable at your expense.
     
    richard, Dec 27, 2008
    #12
  13. taylorleesa0

    Evan Platt Guest

    No, didn't think I needed to. You obviously don't know the difference
    between to and too since you used to instead of too.

    I didn't want to throw in a third choice to confuse you.
    Oh ok, I'm sorry. So if you leave your house unlocked by accident, and
    I go in and steal everything, that's YOUR fault, and I should be given
    a free ride to not be charged with anything?
    The stupid trying to call someone else stupid. Classic.

    You make chucktard look smart sometimes.
     
    Evan Platt, Dec 27, 2008
    #13
  14. taylorleesa0

    G. Morgan Guest

    Well that settles it. Everybody take note-- RtS saw not *one*, but, *TWO* TV
    shows about it. That's good enough for me.
     
    G. Morgan, Dec 27, 2008
    #14
  15. taylorleesa0

    chuckcar Guest

    That applies to reception only. Not to encryped signals either. You can
    buy a satellite dish, set it up for reception as so long as you're only
    using un-encrypted satellites/channels, you're breaking no laws. Once you
    transmit one bit, you are using someone elses connection and hence stealing
    computer resources. That is the illegal part. All it takes is for the user
    to get dinged once for a surcharge for overuse and they're history.
     
    chuckcar, Dec 27, 2008
    #15
  16. taylorleesa0

    chuckcar Guest

    It has been illegal in Canada and the US at least since the 1970's.
    So what? a bad hollywood TV show got computer (and radio) shit wrong.
    Nothing new there. They track you *from* the house by your wireless
    signal. Less than 1/4 mile guaranteed. No problem. All it takes is a
    reciever and a field strength meter hooked up to it.
    No, it applies to using the system full stop. Theft was already a crime as
    was vandalism and copyright enfringment.
    The store for one. At his trial. They *would* be a witness.
    Of course it is. If they limit the number of TV's you can use in their
    contract. Some cable companies still do that to decrease signal loss I
    imagine. If you can pick it out of the air and never transmit, you're
    breaking no laws. Once you "log in" you've transmitted to them and have
    broken the law - if you aren't using a free wi-fi spot or have permission
    of the person who uses that IP address legally. That is why on the news
    stories about war driving, the "expert" never logs into the store computer
    as they cruise the parking lots. He displays the possible network
    connections but never opens one.
     
    chuckcar, Dec 27, 2008
    #16
  17. taylorleesa0

    Pennywise Guest

    I've read of at least two people who were arrested wardriving, both
    caught with their pants down (litterly), and both were downloading
    kiddy pr0n at the time.
     
    Pennywise, Dec 27, 2008
    #17
  18. taylorleesa0

    M.L. Guest

    Please explain how the piggybacker's wireless signal can be resolved
    from all the other wireless signals in the same area. And if possible,
    explain how such tracking can be cost effective for the tracker.
     
    M.L., Dec 27, 2008
    #18
  19. taylorleesa0

    richard Guest


    well duhh. the KP alone is enough to send them to jail.
    Now then mister matlock sir, can you advise the court exactly how it
    is that the officer could see into a moving vehicle and know for a
    fact that what he was witnessing was illegal child pornography?
    Specially when doing so could easily cause an accident?

    I've seen video monitors in other vehicles and I'll be damned if I can
    tell what they're watching. Then being in a moving vehicle, unless
    you're just cruising around at slow speeds in the area of the router,
    you'd probably not have a signal long enough to download anything.


    Hell, I've heard so many damn believable trucker stories I could write
    a book about them.
     
    richard, Dec 27, 2008
    #19
  20. taylorleesa0

    richard Guest

    He's watched all them CSI and NCIS crime shows and knows exactly how
    it's done. Why they're even so sophisticated now they can tell you
    your altitude right to the nearest foot.

    The big problem is, the bad guy has to be transmitting long enough to
    even find the signal. That is, ANY signal. Now if you're in the middle
    of downtown Los Angeles, ya think they're gonna find the bad guy in a
    matter of seconds?

    Get real people.
     
    richard, Dec 27, 2008
    #20
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