Illinois WiFi piggybacker busted
Ars Technica‘s Eric Bangeman posted a pointer and commentary about a case in Illinois where a WiFi piggybacker got caught and fined. This is apparently the third conviction in the US (two in Florida and this one) in the last 9 months. The Rockford Register reports:
In a prepared statement, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Paul Logli said, “With the increasing use of wireless computer equipment, the people of Winnebago County need to know that their computer systems are at risk. They need to use encryption or what are known as firewalls to protect their data, much the same way locks protect their homes.”
Firewall? I guess they didn’t prepare the statement enough, but the intent is clear. Still, it seems that the focus is on the consumer’s responsibility to lock down their network, ignoring the fact that the equipment that’s churned out by manufacturers is far too difficult to secure in the best of circumstances, let alone when you have legacy gear that won’t support WPA. Eric seems to agree:
Personally, I keep my home network locked down, and with consumer-grade WAPs so easy to administer, there’s really no excuse for leaving them running with the default (open) settings.
“Easy” is very relative. It’s “easy” for guys like us, and probably a lot of the Ars audience, but try standing in the networking hardware aisle at Best Buy for about 15 minutes and listen to the questions most customers ask. As I’ve touched on before, expecting them to secure their setups is just asking for trouble.