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Nebraska Sheriff Wardriving, Sending Letters About Unsecured Wi-Fi

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the after-they-torrent-the-latest-episode-of-cops dept.

Wireless Networking 248

An anonymous reader sends this quote from JournalStar.com: "The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in scammers using unsecured Wi-Fi connections to steal identities and mask their crimes during the past six months, Sheriff Terry Wagner said. ... So deputies spent the past few weeks finding unsecure connections and sending 40 to 50 letters to let people know about the potential dangers of strangers accessing their network connections. 'You're just opening yourself up for a series of potential pitfalls,' Chief Deputy Jeff Bliemeister said. ... Bliemeister said only businesses like coffee shops that offer Internet connections to customers need unsecured Internet connections.

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Law Enforcement at Work (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41493385)

Applause!

Much better than that goofball sheriff in Aridzona.

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (2, Insightful)

mpoulton (689851) | about 2 years ago | (#41493501)

Applause!

Much better than that goofball sheriff in Aridzona.

Those of us in Maricopa County can worry about our sheriff; the rest of the country can worry about theirs. It's a local elected office. I do not understand the national media attention.

With that said, I do not support Arpaio or his policies and do not vote for him.

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493583)

Those of us in Maricopa County can worry about our sheriff; the rest of the country can worry about theirs. It's a local elected office. I do not understand the national media attention.

When he started wasting taxpayer time and money, crossing state lines on a witch hunt for information to be used to attack the president of the country, he suddenly stopped being a local concern and started becoming a national nuisance.

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (4, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#41494043)

To be fair though the administration started attacking him first.

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (-1, Flamebait)

shiftless (410350) | about 2 years ago | (#41494157)

And also, the Administration is full of corrupt would-be fascists. I don't much like Sheriff Arpaio, but I support him in trying to discover politicians' lies. Barack Obama is a fucking liar and piece of shit.

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (1, Flamebait)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#41493619)

Those of us in Maricopa County can worry about our sheriff; the rest of the country can worry about theirs. It's a local elected office. I do not understand the national media attention.

With that said, I do not support Arpaio or his policies and do not vote for him.

Hey, I feel for ya'll out in AZ....and I did live out there awhile back too.

With the federal govt giving absolutely no assistance in trying to help with the porous border there, well, I applaud ya'll doing whatever you have to to try to curb the problems with being for all purposes, invaded by foreign natiionals.

The problems with crime and the weight on schools and other social services is massive.

Good luck out there....whether you agree with everything Arpaio does or not...at least you can say he's trying to do "something" about the problems....the feds aren't doing their job, so ya'll have to try to do it yourselves.

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (5, Insightful)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | about 2 years ago | (#41493665)

Those of us in Maricopa County can worry about our sheriff; the rest of the country can worry about theirs. It's a local elected office. I do not understand the national media attention.

As a former Phoenix resident, I have to say maybe it's because of things like this [go.com] and this [wikipedia.org] ?

Sorry, but once you step over the line and nobody else is reigning it in, it becomes a federal problem.

Because of racsim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493759)

...and he along w/ the state of Arizona deserve to be shamed for it. Not that it's going have any effect giving the history of that state.

Re:Because of racsim (0)

Aardpig (622459) | about 2 years ago | (#41493941)

Racsim? That's the new medieval torture virtual reality device, right?

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41493831)

Criminal behavior by public officials anywhere in the country affects everyone. The Feds need to make an example of Arpaio, lest his corrupting influence spread.

They've tried (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#41494081)

A federal grand jury wouldn't return an indictment.

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493835)

One has to worry about your sheriff because one worries when other idiots might start doing something similarly stupid (monkey see monkey do).

I can understand the resentment for being put under an unflattering spotlight but rest assured everyone has a blundering public official or two to be ashamed about. I hope you folks get rid of him soon :)

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | about 2 years ago | (#41494019)

Those of us in Maricopa County can worry about our sheriff; the rest of the country can worry about theirs. It's a local elected office. I do not understand the national media attention.

American citizens don't deserve to loose the fundamental constitutionally guaranteed rights when they travel through another county. Nor do prisoners deserve to be loose their (more limited) rights because they are transferred into your county. It's essential that his abuses get national media attention, so the rest of us can know to stay out of Maricopa county until you guys (or the feds) finally get around to doing something about it.

Re:Law Enforcement at Work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41494101)

Those of us in Maricopa County can worry about our sheriff; the rest of the country can worry about theirs.

Violations of people's first and fourth amendment rights is everybody's business.

First post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493387)

Is it?!

How do they know exactlywhere to send the letters? (3, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 2 years ago | (#41493393)

In a dense area you might pick up 15 different access points, 2-3 of them open. Unless they have sophisticated RF locating equipment the letters are just going to be out based on a best guess scenario.

The only place I can see this working is suburbs with wide spacing between homes, or rural areas.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#41493417)

Are there many cities (I mean, real ones, not "A disparate group of buildings, divided by excessive zoning, spread over a wide area, connected legally purely for political organizational, and taxation purposes" Anytown USA type places) in Nebraska? I always thought it was mostly rural.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493683)

Lancaster County has Lincoln, NE - a city of about a quarter of a million people. The other dot on the map is Omaha, which if you count the whole metro area is close to a million.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493867)

As a Nebraskan... yes.

I'm regularly shocked by perceptions people from the larger cities, or from the coasts have. Yes, by land area, Nebraska is mostly rural, but it does have cities that typically have malls, movie theaters, and at least 10 square miles of urban/suburban space.

Lancaster County, in particular, averages 311 people/sq mi, and has Lincoln in the center, which even has some buildings with more than one story. Evidence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lincoln_DT.jpg

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41493917)

We in NY feel your pain, but in reverse. A chunk of NY larger than several nearby states is designated "Forever Wild" and is the largest state park in the Lower 48. Several townships near where I grew up measure population density in fractions of a person per square mile.

northern NY state is awesome (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#41493993)

I was living up in Ottawa, and it was quicker/easier to cross the border down into the Adirondacks than to drive up to Algonquin park. Fewer people, fewer fees, less traffic. I'm surprised more people don't do it.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493449)

There is 1 city in that county, and it ain't exactly NYC.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493597)

Lancaster county does hold the second largest city in Nebraska, which happens to be the state capitol. Sure we aint NYC, but there are a couple hundred thousand people here at least. Ohh BTW there are more then one cities in the county.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (0, Troll)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41493725)

Ohh BTW there are more then one cities in the county.

How about "There is more than one city in the county." You must be from Nebraska or something.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (2)

cffrost (885375) | about 2 years ago | (#41493827)

There is 1 city in that county, and it ain't exactly NYC.

Well, there's only 1/5th of one city in New York County. :o)

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (4, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41493455)

2 deputies with directional antennas.

If you can find warships that way, you can find wifi hotspots.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (4, Informative)

taustin (171655) | about 2 years ago | (#41493459)

You've never been to Nebraska, have you? Google says the population of Lincoln is about 260,000 total. There are apartment complexes in Los Angeles with nearly that many people. Houses have yards, there aren't many multi-story buildings (especially residential). The only "sophisticated RF locating equipment" is the number of bars on the signal idicator in the system tray in Windows, which will vary visible from one house to the next.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (1, Flamebait)

segin (883667) | about 2 years ago | (#41493581)

Google says the population of Lincoln is about 260,000 total. There are apartment complexes in Los Angeles with nearly that many people.

There are conversion vans in Los Angeles with that many Mexicans in them

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493481)

In a dense city...

That isn't applicable here. This is nebraska.

It depends on how you're using the word "dense" (4, Funny)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#41493645)

There are some very dense areas in Nebraska. Some of them are even well populated.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41493523)

How about some id on each wireless access point, which can be tracked through the service providers in the region? Doesn't sound unreasonable, particularly if law enforcement is provided with the necessary tools and training.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493733)

Windstream here in Lincoln does have a universal naming scheme for their routers where the SSIDs are unique. You see these SSIDs everywhere you look in the city. IF Windstream keeps records, they may have found out that way as well.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (2, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41493595)

In a dense area...

We're talking about Nebraska here.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (2)

HangingChad (677530) | about 2 years ago | (#41493789)

The only place I can see this working is suburbs with wide spacing between homes, or rural areas.

Or Nebraska.

Re:How do they know exactlywhere to send the lette (1)

slapout (93640) | about 2 years ago | (#41494051)

If the SSID is broadcasting, "Smith" and the name on the mailbox is "Smith", you can probably take a guess about it.

I'd leave my wifi open (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41493397)

However, the ISP's TOS forbids it. Nobody's going to break into the computer unless it has no password. But as I've gotten free wifi from unsecured hotspots, I see no reason not to repay by doing the same.

Re:I'd leave my wifi open (2)

joaosantos (1519241) | about 2 years ago | (#41493537)

In some places you are legally responsible for what people do with your internet connection.

Re:I'd leave my wifi open (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493673)

In some places you are legally responsible for what people do with your internet connection.

In all places in the US at least you are assumed responsible for what others do until you prove otherwise (sort of a "your connection did it so you are guilty" type of thing). You really don't want to risk getting dragged through court, losing your job, having your reputation smeared in the papers, etc. just because some pedo van parks outside you house while you are at work and uses your connection. Or a neighbor downloads a bunch of movies... It isn't worth the risk to allow others on your network. Those damn others - you just can't trust a high enough percentage of them...

Re:I'd leave my wifi open (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493711)

In some places you are legally responsible for what people do with your internet connection.

R... Res... Ress-pahn-sib-uhl? That's a weird word. Certainly not one I've heard on Slashdot in regards to internet connectivity. Is that the injustice when we altruistically offer our internet connections to the downtrodden, weary masses who want to do nothing more than overthrow all the harmful regimes you've heard about in suburban San Jose, and then government thugs yell at us because somebody used that connection to do things that are against the laws that WE certainly didn't vote for, things like "copyright violation", "posting child pornography", "issuing death threats", or other bullshit things like that?

It's not? Huh. "Ress-pahn-sib-uhl", then, you say? I'll have to try that with my LUG later tonight, see if any of them heard of it.

Re:I'd leave my wifi open (0)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41493763)

There are very few of those in the world, none of them in the US, yet. The biggest worry is the harassment from suspicion, not fear of conviction. Didn't the Constitution previously protect from the massive harm that befalls accused who are never convicted?

Re:I'd leave my wifi open (1)

Crasoose (1621969) | about 2 years ago | (#41493591)

They don't need to break into your computer if you leave it unsecured, everything you are transmitting via wifi is open. Unless you never use wifi, I'd shoot for a dual band router if you are trying to help random people and leave some quality of service on that connection while you're at it. If they need internet so badly at that point they can always knock on your door and ask nicely.

Re:I'd leave my wifi open (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 years ago | (#41493991)

That's what I do with mine - a hidden wpa2 network for private use and an unsecured public one (that only has internet access) for friends/neighbours/passer-bys to use. I hate the way people are trying to scare people away from altruistic behaviour - it's kind of like warning people against giving away free water in case someone drowns someone in it.

unsecured wifi? (1)

clemdoc (624639) | about 2 years ago | (#41493431)

While I think this action is quite cool, I would argue that not even coffee shops and businesses like that need open wireless connections.
They could just as well make the WPA2 key easy to remember and put it in some obvious place, enabling their clients to use encrypted connections and avoid all that Firesheep stuff as well.

Re:unsecured wifi? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493451)

Um, firesheep works in that scenario.

You're confusing L2 security with transport security for http traffic, very different things

Re:unsecured wifi? (2)

cluedweasel (832743) | about 2 years ago | (#41493505)

We tried this where I work. You would think it would be easy. Just set a key and put a notice up with the key on it. Forget it. It was way beyond the ability of most of our visitors to input a simple key, just a simple pass phrase. After a week of people complaining, the boss decided we should go back to fully open guest wireless access.

Re:unsecured wifi? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493547)

set BSSID to: the password is McDonald's

Re:unsecured wifi? (2)

Nikker (749551) | about 2 years ago | (#41493721)

Just wait till they type in as the password "the password is McDonald's", allow hilarity to ensue.

Re:unsecured wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493853)

A BSSID is in hex only. I guess at the most you could set it to 00:04:07:C0:FF:EE

Re:unsecured wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493933)

Dammit. I was thinking of the ESSID maybe, or just the SSID. You know the one that can be 31 characters long.

Re:unsecured wifi? (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41493643)

I am not opposed to shops printing a code at the bottom of a receipt to get into the Wifi for a number of hours. If the WiFi is close, that is the only thing that makes sense. On the key is known, then anyone can use it and it might as well be open. Even the individual key is not going to stop snooping.

Honestly, if I were going to snoop traffic, I would do it at a public place where the acces was open. People are crazy and wil do all sorts of confidential stuff over an open line. At home you feel safer, but may not be. Even with a 'protected' connection it is not going to stop the dedicated wardriver. Passwords can be cracked. Much better to lower the power of your access point so that no one can get a good connection on the street.

BTW, are cable modems still party lines?

Re:unsecured wifi? (4, Interesting)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41493913)

On the key is known, then anyone can use it and it might as well be open. Even the individual key is not going to stop snooping.

You obviously don't understand anything about wireless security. If a connection is open (no encryption), anyone (even those not connected to the router) can stniff EVERYTHING sent over the connection (barring https and the like). With a password, even if every person in the world knows the password, nobody can sniff anyone else's packets. The passwords intiates a transaction where the router and your computer set up their own sessions keys which are used to encrypt everything else. so even though everyone used the same password, everyone is using different encryption keys, so everyone is protected (at the wireless level at least).

Re:unsecured wifi? (3, Insightful)

PTBarnum (233319) | about 2 years ago | (#41493693)

I thought that using a PSK still allowed people to decrypt your packets, as long as they knew the PSK and were able to capture the beginning of your session. So while having a PSK is slightly better than not having one, it doesn't really guarantee a secure connection.

Does anyone make an easy-to-use 802.1x appliance for coffee shop type uses?

Re:unsecured wifi? (1)

MrKevvy (85565) | about 2 years ago | (#41493939)

Only if you use a weak password. There's no known attacks against WPA other than dictionary and brute-force which will work on anything. It allows a 63-character password, so for all practical purposes a 63-character WPA password of random mixed-case letters, numbers and punctuation is unbreakable (currently.)

WEP, of course, is cryptographically weak and crackable

If a Business can do it, why can't I. (0)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 2 years ago | (#41493447)

If it is legal and not unreasonably dangerous for a business to use an open wifi connection, then why can't I? If I get incorporated, does that make it safe? The only 'danger' you expose yourself to by keeping an open wifi is that a moronic lawyer claims it must have been you and decides to sue you for things you didn't do. The proper response to that is to counter sue the lawyer and to educate the public, judges and jury that an IP address does not prove identity. I have the right to keep an open WIFI connection and if someone else uses it for bad purposes that does NOT expose me to any reasonable danger or risk. People have the right to anonymity and that means government and lawyers do not have the right to intimidate people into making anonymity harder to obtain.

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (1)

fak3r (917687) | about 2 years ago | (#41493515)

well said!

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493527)

There is so much retardation in your post

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41493553)

Their guns give them the right to do what they want. These actions are designed to prevent ad hoc networks that are outside 'authorized channels' from springing up.

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41493859)

Their guns give them the right to do what they want.

Really? That's how it works??

* looks at the 1911 strapped to his own hip

Oh, FUCK yea

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41493559)

If it is legal and not unreasonably dangerous for a business to use an open wifi connection, then why can't I?

You can. This sheriff isn't arresting people for having hotspots, he's simply mailing them FUD.

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#41493747)

It's not strictly FUD. For people who leave an AP open because they don't know better, this is a good service. For people who leave a WAP open because of some kind of principled and conscentious decsion, there's nothing there they're not already familiar with and willing to risk.

And let's face it. There is risk. If some random bad actor uses your unsecured WAP for random badness, it will inconvenience you. You will be a "person of interest" until they find a better suspect. Again, this might be a risk worth taking if you decide it is, but for a clueless schlub who just bought the router and plugged it in? Not so much.

Who says you can't? (5, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | about 2 years ago | (#41493561)

I don't see anything in the article that said it was illegal to have open wifi, or that you couldn't.
It said that open wifi was being used for identity theft, and that notices of potential dangers (I'd imagine such as possible repercussions for the wifi owner if fraud is traced back to their internet connection) were sent out.

For a couple of older folks or just generally non-technical people who potentially just plugged in an unsecured D-link, not a terrible thing to be given information about, and somewhat pro-active of the Sheriff. It seems little different from the notices given to people who leave their cars unlocked in neighbourhoods experiencing an increase of car thefts...

Re:Who says you can't? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#41493951)

So the Sheriff laughs at visitors for locking their cars, but tell the locals to lock their internet?

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493593)

You (and they) can. This office just sent a letter detailing the potential risk.

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41493609)

The only 'danger' you expose yourself to by keeping an open wifi is that a moronic lawyer claims it must have been you and decides to sue you for things you didn't do.

Or if a moronic judge issues a search warrant for your home.

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#41493629)

I have the right to keep an open WIFI connection and if someone else uses it for bad purposes that does NOT expose me to any reasonable danger or risk.

It does make you the initial point of contact/suspicion until they (maybe) figure out it wasn't you. But by then, your PC's have been confiscated, your name in the news, and possibly dragged through the courts.
I get your point, but if someone does use your open connection for illegal purposes, you are where the investigation will start.

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493669)

100% correct! We should all cry and moan about public servents serving the public and make up crap to make it sound like people are being fined or jailed... Welcome to Slashdork. Herp!

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (3, Informative)

Liquidretro (1590189) | about 2 years ago | (#41493687)

They are not mandating you close your wifi, they are just suggesting you do. Making you aware of something you were unsure of maybe. Very much the same as if they were to wring your door bell to tell you your garage door is open at midnight, etc.

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (2)

mpoulton (689851) | about 2 years ago | (#41493779)

If it is legal and not unreasonably dangerous for a business to use an open wifi connection, then why can't I? If I get incorporated, does that make it safe?

No, but there's a general presumption that it's intentional when a business does it and that they understand the risks and decided to accept them. There's a (well justified) presumption that when a random house has an open AP called "Linksys" it's an accidental result of cluelessness. The sheriff isn't shutting peoples' netowrks down or threatening them with any sort of law enforcement action, they're just informing people that it's a security risk.

The only 'danger' you expose yourself to by keeping an open wifi is that a moronic lawyer claims it must have been you and decides to sue you for things you didn't do. The proper response to that is to counter sue the lawyer and to educate the public, judges and jury that an IP address does not prove identity. I have the right to keep an open WIFI connection and if someone else uses it for bad purposes that does NOT expose me to any reasonable danger or risk. People have the right to anonymity and that means government and lawyers do not have the right to intimidate people into making anonymity harder to obtain.

If you want to play lawyer for yourself without being one, consulting with one, or actually studying the law, you're welcome to do so. But the legal system is no place for the blindfold-and-shotgun approach.
1: Lawyers sue people on behalf of clients, not on their own. It's some other party (like a copyright holder, perhaps) that would be suing you. They are the party initiating the action, and it's up to them to decide whether to spend their hard earned money on the expensive process of suing you for something that may or may not be stupid. Their attorney may or may not be a moron or a dick, but it always takes a moronic/dick client to generate a moronic/dick lawsuit.
2: Countersuing the other party's lawyer is a good way to rapidly generate a large judgment for the other lawyer's fees, which you will have to pay if you initiate such a misguided action.
3: You may be contractually liable for other peoples' use of your open network in some circumstances. If the terms of service for your ISP so state, and the cause of action arises in a way that those terms are relevant, you could find yourself in a bad position. And while IP addresses are not proof of identity, they are evidence, and it would put you in a compromised defensive position to have your IP associated with "bad stuff".
4: The implied right of anonymous speech within the 1st Amendment is not relevant to any issues at play here. There's a misinterpretation of something going on if that seems important in this context.

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (1)

hillbluffer (1684134) | about 2 years ago | (#41493971)

Sure you've got the right to it NOW. How soon before a "sponsored" law gets submitted making it illegal to leave your wifi open... you know, "to protect the children"?....

Re:If a Business can do it, why can't I. (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41494003)

Others have already explained why you can, so I'll explain why you shouldn't

  • Unless you have 2 wireless connections, everything you do is ALSO transmitted unsecured over the air exposing you to packet sniffing. Even your internet connections (from one computer to the other over samba/shared folders/etc). BAD
  • Coffee shops typically have surveillance cameras in and round their building, so if someone uses the connection to steal CC numbers or upload child porn, the police have at least some leads as to its source.
  • Coffee shops institute throttling, if someone starts torrenting or downloading huge files, they etther get throttled or booted, if a neighbour did it to you, you'd probably have a hard time kicking them off without having to quicly set up passwords on all your machines (MAC only stops Joe).
  • If someone abuses a McDonald's connection, the police start looking at customers and employees. If someone abuses your internet connection, they start investigating YOU and that is not something you want to have to go through. You may win in court, but your name and reputation will be ruined and you'll probably lose a lot in court costs and personal costs (family, friends, job, etc).

So go ahead, keep that connection open, just don't post a "The police are harrassing me" bitch-fest ask-slashdot story when it bites you in the ass as you will get NO simpathy from me or the majority of the readers here.

Proactive Police Work Preventing Victimization (2)

Lashat (1041424) | about 2 years ago | (#41493463)

Other Law Enforcement please take note. Follow this model for other crime prevention and imporve your community.

Thank You
Taxpayers

Re:Proactive Police Work Preventing Victimization (-1)

drpimp (900837) | about 2 years ago | (#41493551)

Where do they stop? What's next, telling women to wear covered clothing to prevent legitimate rape too?

Re:Proactive Police Work Preventing Victimization (2, Informative)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41493769)

If you were to equate this article to trying to prevent rape, then the equivalent action by the police would be to tell women not to fall asleep naked spread-eagle in a dark alley. To some people, that's a "duh" thing, but to some less-street-smart people it's quite a notion. THAT'S the basic premise here. Make it harder for a criminal to do their job and you decrease the chance that a crime will happen.

Re:Proactive Police Work Preventing Victimization (1, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41493793)

They've already made it illegal to leave your car running with the keys in to prevent auto theft. But I never see anyone complaining about that.

Re:Proactive Police Work Preventing Victimization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41494085)

Stop taking my money.

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Oops... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41493465)

What's with slashdot today? An earlier story gave a bogus link and this gives none at all. I tried to find it by googling wifi sheriff site:JournalStar.com but the story didn't come up. Is this for real?

Re:Oops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493529)

http://journalstar.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/sheriff-looks-to-lock-down-open-internet-connections/article_3a98d107-05c6-5a11-8d09-8769e6e7dacd.html

Re:Oops... (1)

cffrost (885375) | about 2 years ago | (#41493927)

What's with slashdot today?

I ask myself that question every day.

Correction: (0)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#41493493)

NOBODY needs unsecured Wi-Fi (unless it just gives you instructions on how to properly connect to the real network). Trivial passwords at least allow for encryption.

Re:Correction: (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41493855)

Wifi encryption is useless if anyone and everyone can join the network. Once you join, it's just like being on any other shared medium network. All your packets are available in the clear. If you're worried about security, use application level encryption.

Even coffee shops shouldn't have 'open' wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493525)

I don't think even coffee shops should have open wifi. That is just asking for people to snoop on everything and passwords to fly in cleartext. However, most people don't know that if you get the right packets of the handshake (not even the whole thing), you can eavesdrop on any wifi security that relies on PSK. They really need to add some sort of DHE exchange at the beginning and encrypt that exchange with the PSK. That way, you can prevent random people from joining if you don't want them too, and keep people safe from each other. That seems to me something that you could add in software and not require a hardware upgrade (therefore perfect for already deployed hardware).

Re:Even coffee shops shouldn't have 'open' wifi (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 years ago | (#41494065)

Open wifi isn't a problem if you always use https to connect to websites. https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere [eff.org] is an easy way to use https if it's available for a website.

Not about identity but security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493649)

Are there really this many people who don't care if crimes by others are committed using their equipment? C'mon, where's the America spirit at? Drinking beer, watching football, and forgetting about the security of our nation? Probably.

Re:Not about identity but security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41494105)

There's plenty of security theater. That's why we molest people at airports and spy on phone calls without a warrant.

vs google? (1)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#41493727)

so how is this any different than when people went ballistic over google's streetview cars logging wifi?

Not that I'm saying there should be anything wrong with it in the first place, but why are the freaks that tried to go after google for doing this going to leave this guy alone? Looks like about the same thing to me.

Re:vs google? (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#41493797)

Do you have evidence that the Sheriff's wardriving captured and stored packet information? Because the furor over Google doing it was precisely that: indiscriminate and promiscuous capture and storage of any packets in transit in any AP's footprint that they passed through. And then Google kept that information, even after being ordered to delete it.

Tell me that a law-enforcement agency is sniffing and recording packet traffic and trolling for evidence of lawbreaking without formal suspicion or a wiretap court order, and I'll be appropriately angry at the privacy violation. Until then, there's no meaningful equivalence.

Re:vs google? (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41493869)

It's not. People blew that way out of proportion. Transmissions on public spectrum can be recieved by anyone. People need to deal with it.

This is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493815)

Honestly, "locking down" your wi-fi only keeps honest people off it. WEP is super easy to crack and WPA isn't far behind. If someone wants on a Wi-FI and they have the know how, then they're getting on the Wi-Fi. The real solution is to only allow authorized macs to get on the Internet.

Re:This is stupid (2)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 years ago | (#41494099)

WPA2 isn't at all easy to crack, but it's definitely easy to spoof MAC addresses.

Re:This is stupid (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41494151)

just from my house there is a open hotspot 2 wpa ones and 3 wep ones lol. wpa takes more time to crack then wep being it still needs the password brute forced.at least where i work they must have a smart admin working all there buildings everything is wpa2. but walk across the parking lot to the residential area bam open hotspots all over the block. point is the problem is far worse then you think, most wifi spots are wep or open,

Might Want to Talk to the Local University (1)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41493847)

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's general student wireless network (UNL-AIR) is wide open and unencrypted. The only form of security in place is a MAC access list. I'm pretty sure somebody wardriving around the campus (or "warsitting" in the middle of the damn student union) could collect all sorts of yummy private data from that network each and every day.

So, will the University be getting a letter from the Lancaster sheriff? Probably not. Should they change it anyway? Hell yes.

The situation is worst than it looks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41493877)

Aparently the "police" is so noob that they have no freaking idea about how pathetic easily you can crack wpa/2.
Lol @ U$A-eagle-f**k-yeah-burger-cola...

Re:The situation is worst than it looks. (2)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41494015)

It's so easy to bust down your door, run into your house, and grab your big-screen TV, so why don't you just leave your door unlocked so I can walk right in?

Also, since it's so easy to smash your car's windows, hotwire it, and drive away, why don't you just leave your car unlocked and set your keys in the cupholder?

Re:The situation is worst than it looks. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41494083)

What kind of hell do you live in? Here we don't worry with that. Oh wait... yeah, sorry.... you live on the "land of freedom"... Nvm...

No, they dont *need* to secure them (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41493985)

Its a choice, not a law. The police needs to stick to enforcing the law, which is their job.

Utter Horse-shit! (3, Interesting)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41494057)

In my area DSL isn't available and FIOS or broadband is upward of $70. This affects me and many others who have difficulty with such prices. The act of intimidating people with open APs is ludicrous and shit-brained. A secured router with a unique user-ID, strong password, along with various options such as filters, availability-configurations, etc., is more secure than WEP with default settings. This sheriff should have a router fastened to his head until the microwaves loosen the rocks. I think the EFF elaborated [eff.org] on this topic quite well, also mentioning Schneier and his views on the subject [schneier.com] .

Sharing, especially of educational/informational resources is a good thing. Intimidating people into doing otherwise against their will is encouraging greed, inefficiency and paranoia.

Kills plausible deniability (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 years ago | (#41494125)

For someone up to no good, I'm not sure that securing WiFi is smart move.

If someone has an open wifi, and something illegal (copyrighted content, kiddie porn, etc.) is downloaded via his IP, the person has plausible deniability that he himself did the downloading.

If that persons has secured his WiFi with a password, then I would think he's more likely to get convicted.

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