Wireless Security Revisited

Last year, I wrote an article for ComputorEdge about the dangers of leaving a wireless network unsecured. A reader, calling himself “Anonymous San Diego Criminal” responded to the article in a letter to the editor, complaining about how I was advocating wireless security and limiting the dispensation of free Internet access. He also said the article implied that anyone who used unsecured wireless networks without permission was committing a crime, hence the name he chose to identify himself with.

Today, I saw a news article (no longer online, from what I can tell) from a Portland, Oregon television station website, describing how a man had been arrested for persistent unauthorized use of a coffee shop’s wireless Internet connection. According to the story, the man was also a level 1 sex offender. Though the story doesn’t say what destinations his Internet packets visited, the fact that he is a sex offender and used someone else’s bandwidth for his Internet access seems suspect.

No, Mr. Anonymous San Diego Criminal, I don’t think most people intend to misuse unsecured wireless networks. But doesn’t it make sense to lock down the networks to keep out those who do misuse them?

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