Tuesday, August 28, 2007

'Borrowing' Wi-Fi signal- is it theft?

In cities where free broadband is available,or for blackberry enthusiasts, this internet ethics dilemma about the honesty of logging onto someone else's bandwidth may seem ridiculous.
Whether you use a public network in a cafe or library rather than borrow your neighbors', it is important to be watch out for Wi-Fi hackers and to place some firewalls and passwords to protect info on your laptop. An enterprising rival reporter in a press room could get at your files or a thief could snatch your credit card details. When I was using free broadband in the business lounge of United Airlines at Narita airport, Japan, some opportunist made paid calls on my Skype account and depleted the balance. Skype had automatically logged in when I switched on my laptop, and this cheapskate caller just couldn't resist. Skype eventually refunded the money after a lot of correspondence back and forth. Now I take more care; Life is just too short for such hassles.

You frequently can get a free signal when parking in front of a cybercafe or business. One dead giveaway that others are using a broadband network are nerd-marks like the one pictured:
The rather lame name the hackers prefer is "warchalking", but then they come from a cybergaming background and have a distorted self-image leaning heavily on martial avatars.

Read more details and a flurry of comments from agitated or angst-ridden internet users on this BBC link:

No comments: