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Inverting Images for Uninvited Users

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the beggars-choosers-and-chiropractors dept.

277

Yesterday's story about a creative approach to dealing with uninvited (and unwanted) users on a private wireless network -- by intercepting and modifying the images received downstream -- provoked some thoughtful comments on open wireless networks, and a storm of analogies about networks and property generally. Read on for some of the most interesting comments in the Backslash summary of the conversation.

Several readers offered comments on the methods of network interference suggested in the examples linked from the story, or offered other creative ways to impede network freeloaders. First, reader blantonl offers some insight into implementing the same image-flipping technique:

For those that are struggling to understand how the author of this article is accomplishing his approach, here is some further information.

The author obviously has a Linux server in his house, that is running DHCPD

To selectively send some clients to some locations, and others to the normal internet, he assigns an IP address on a different network to clients that don't have MAC Addresses that he knows about.

Forwarding on to sites of his choice is done by using IPTables, which is a utility that allows you to configure the packet filtering components of the Linux TCP/IP Stack. In this instance, the Linux box is just functioning as a firewall, and he is selectively sending requests from certain IP addresses to different hosts of his choosing.

Finally, the Up-side-down and blurry-image conversions is accomplished by sending page requests from those before-mentioned IP addresses to a proxy server, which in this case is Squid — and then allowing the proxy server to run a script which calls an ImageMagick command called mogrify which allows you to resize an image, blur, crop, despeckle, dither, draw on, flip, join, re-sample, and much more.

(Writing "I'm paranoid - I work in information security," reader hab136 points out some potential vulnerabilities in the system as described.)

As to the actual methods of annoyance, jpellino writes

Upside down is cute, but blurry is just too fantastic. You know they were on the horn to the vendor after punching every monitor control and several loud screaming matches and an expensive service call for a monitor that then worked just fine on the bench... As a webmaster I can now say April 1 just got very far away...

Reader Sloppy also admires the "blurry-net" approach ("That's subtle and I love it"), but suggests that image manipulation is only for starters

The next step is to spy on them and see what websites they visit, and then insert some fake content one day. For example, if they use it to read CNN, insert a casual story about a nuclear weapon getting used in the Middle-East or South Asia, or a story about the president of USA selecting a new vice-president due to the assassination last week ("What?! I didn't hear about that!"), or the CDC in Atlanta is investigating the recent rash of improbable claims about the dead returning to life to feast on the flesh of the living, etc. If they visit Slashdot, then the jig is probably up, but maybe it would be great to have a story where a security study found Windows98 to kick OpenBSD's ass and then a bunch of comments where everyone agrees that the findings pretty much match their own experience, along with complains about "how is this news for nerds?!"

And perhaps the ultimate in annoyance-as-warning, reader Midnight Thunder writes

I suppose you could also add a frame to every page and then sell advertising space. Since you probably know a bit about your neighbour it is much easier make targeted advertising. Of course you could always make the top frame read:

"This is borrowed bandwidth. Have you thought about getting your own connection."

Oh and make sure it is flashing. Actually you could make it so that the whole content flash.

Not all uninvited users are actually unwanted users, though, at least for some readers. Reader Elektroschock writes

Sorry, I am a supporter of open networks. I think the freifunk olsr-protocol approach of open wireless networks is best. We don't need internet providers and we don't need internet providers which leak our communication data to the governments and endanger the freedom of the net. The net should be a net and wireless technology is great for the creation of a real P2P internet.

I cannot support any action against people who use your network. It is against my understanding of hacker ethics. When you don't like it then close your network. But no childish games please.

I may even say that I find it unethical to exclude your neighbours from using your network but I respect your opinions. When your network is open it means: Be free to use it. Not: You can use it but I will fuck up or intercept your communication.

Similarly, trewornan writes

I chose to leave my wireless network open so that if someone nearby needed a connection it would be available for them. If someone was to impose an unreasonable load on the network I might do something about it but so far (12 months) I've had about half a dozen people connect and download relatively small amounts of data - my guess is they were checking email. Why would I object to that? No . . . why would *you* object to that? The way I see it it's a chance to do something nice for other people, why not get yourself some good karma.

Even without that sort of altruism, many readers feel that, as geekoid puts it,

[By]leaving it open he is inviting other people to connect.

Some computer says to the router "Hey, can I come in?" and the router says "Sure." Now, the moment you put something up, like needing a password, then you are no longer inviting people in.

  • Computer says "Hey, can I come in" router says "Sure, if you know the password."
  • Or you can encrypt it; Computer says "Hey, can I come in?" the router says "KE*jd7638JDEJE*834899(&^&#nd&#&bd*e#"
Not so fast, goes an argument exemplified in another comment from R2.0:

Yes, the computer is "asking" the router "permission," and the router is "granting permission" — the only problem is, the words we use to describe these actions may appear to be descriptive of thinking and volition, but they really mean neither. Computers and routers simply CANNOT give "permission" in any legal or moral sense.

To use the yard analogy that seems to be popular for these threads, lets supposed your neighbor's massively retarded child asks your massively retarded child for permission for his Daddy to use your yard, and your child agrees. Neighbor then comes over and stages a cookout on your lawn, or for that matter just walks across it.

When you confront him, he says "But my kid asked your kid, and he said yes." This is binding? Common sense and the law would say no, yet you would allow devices with an order of magnitude less analytical power than a retarded child to give and receive similar permissions.

Repeat after me folks: devices cannot give and receive permission for human actions without those permissions expressly being granted via some other means.

A traffic light doesn't give you permission to cross the street; the government (that you studied to get your license) gives you permission to cross the intersection when a light is green, and denies it when red.

Your ID badge doesn't ask permission to enter your building, and the security system doesn't grant permission; YOU ask for permission by presenting the badge, and your employer grants it by programming said system to accept your request.

Closer to the typical small-time network admin, perhaps, bennomatic writes

If I leave my bike outside unlocked for 10 minutes, am I giving explicit permission to anyone who sees it that they can take it? No. Am I allowing it to happen through negligence? Sure, but call it what it is; it's still stealing, or at least trespassing.

Even something as amorphous as bandwidth is a limited resource. To paraphrase the head of the commerce committee, an open wireless connection is not a dump truck you can just load up with as much as you like; it's a tube!

Various forms of the same disagreement surfaced in various corners of the discussion: squiggleslash, for instance, writes

[I]t makes sense that no implied permission is given by simply having your router be unsecured, given "unsecured" is the default configuration of most off-the-shelf routers.)

It really isn't an issue in practice. If you want to use someone else's network, all you have to do is ask them. With 802.11, you're close enough to be able to do so. There's no reason not to ask, other than knowing that "No" is likely to be the answer. And I think that's why people tell themselves the myth that somehow they have implied permission simply because the "door" was left unlocked.

The figurative "visibility" of an open wireless network also isn't enough to convince reader R2.0 that it's fair game for passers by. He writes:

So the router is "visible," with an option to make it invisible. Big deal. My garden is visible from the street, but I can put a tarp around it to obscure its existence. What you are saying is that, unless I put a tarp up around my garden, everyone has a right to use it.

Wireless networks may make themselves conspicuous, but that does not confer an invitation to use them. The connection between "visible" and "inviting" is not legally or morally valid. (I am excepting the concept of "attractive nuisance," but I don't think open routers will come under that area of liability)

Reader 4e617474 fired the next volley in this battle of analogies:

No, actually we're saying that if your garden pelts us with carrots and peas as we walk past on the public street, we're at liberty to catch them and consume them. Only if you place anti-vegetable-flight netting around your garden (or stop planting vegetables that lend themselves to comparison to an unsecured WAP) does it become incumbent upon us to behave as good citizens.

Hey! Analogies are fun! Somebody compare Internet privacy law to hunting and fishing licenses!

Readers like ShawnDoc make a case persuasive for discouraging bandwidth borrowing on the basis of enlightened self-interest.

If someone uses your connection for illegal activity (downloading Meet the Fockers, kiddie porn) it will be your IP address that the RIAA/MPAA/FBI will trace. Good luck convincing them it wasn't you. You might be able to do it, but it will take up time and money (lawyers) to clear your name. And in the case of kiddie porn or other criminal act, expect every computer, PDA, and cell phone in your home to be confiscated to be analyzed for incriminating data. The second problem is you are allowing strangers access to not only your Internet connection, but also your LAN. I have multiple computers and put files in shared folders so I can access them from different machines. I don't want some strange to have access to those files, or worse, have their computer be infected with a worm/virus that propagates across the network.


Thanks to all the readers whose comments informed this conversation, and in particular to those whose comments are quoted above.

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277 comments

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Tag as intentionaldupe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801219)

because frankly, that's exactly what this backslash nonsense is.

Re:Tag as intentionaldupe (5, Informative)

TheAngryMob (49125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801354)

Well, get yourself a login and use Preferences > Homepage, disable "Backslash" and quit whining.

Re:Tag as intentionaldupe (1, Offtopic)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801360)

I am consistently amazed at how many people bitch about this. Get over it. I can't read every article, and I appreciate these recaps. If you don't, fine; just shut the hell up about it. No one's got a gun to your head to force you to read the backslash posts.

Re:Tag as intentionaldupe (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801363)

The idea is this:

Many people never read what may be some of the best comments because a particular story has gone quite a ways down the page by the time they see it. And some of the "best" comments (obviously there's some subjectivity to it) are ones that may not be as highly moderated as some decent ones which happen to have been made earlier and therefore had more time to be moderated up. (Also, some comments might be less interesting alone, but are catalyzed by the presence of surrounding ones.)

So we try to cherrypick some of the ones which would give a reader who'd glanced at (or even hadn't glanced at) the original story a sense of the reaction it inspired, without needing to dig through quite as many pages of comments.

You know, while I'd rather you enjoyed it, it's also easy to avoid (for any logged-in user) by adjusting preferences. Some people do; for any large-scale information feeds (or even medium-scale, like Slashdot), everyone filters *somehow,* whether by glancing past topics they don't like, or by using the provided filtering tools (including moderation threshold and section exclusion). It's not my intent to annoy you :)

timothy

Re:Tag as intentionaldupe (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801483)

I think I speak for the majority when I say thank you for these backslashes.
You have shown us that editors do exist here and the effort is appreciated.

Re:Tag as intentionaldupe (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801544)

I agree with the other poster. I think the backslashes are valuable.

I do like these... (1, Offtopic)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801724)

Not least of which because I check the dot several times a day, but I still miss some stories.
Having an editorial summary of the discussion before is pretty cool, not to mention it's a better troll filter than anything else you've cooked up :)

Thanks.

Re:Tag as intentionaldupe (1)

grim4593 (947789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801386)

I happen to like backslash, gives me a change to read some of the comments I missed the first time I read through it.

Retarded child analogy flawed (3, Insightful)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801224)

To use the yard analogy that seems to be popular for these threads, lets supposed your neighbor's massively retarded child asks your massively retarded child for permission for his Daddy to use your yard, and your child agrees. Neighbor then comes over and stages a cookout on your lawn, or for that matter just walks across it.

This is a very interesting anology, as computer systems are very "dumb," but unlike developmentally challenged individuals, computers are also very easy to control (i.e. they do precisely what you tell them to and nothing else, if you count the code as instructions). It is a simple matter to encrypt a wifi point (and a well reccomended practice), whereas a retarded child is probably difficult to train to restrict lawn access, and that is not generally a well-reccomended practice.

To be honest, I don't think any analogy quite sums up the situation. If you're on someone's wifi, and you're not causing harm, and they left it open, what is the problem?

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (2, Funny)

Roody Blashes (975889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801259)

...whereas a retarded child is probably difficult to train to restrict lawn access, and that is not generally a well-reccomended practice.
I don't know. Give a retarded kid a shotgun and put him on your front yard and I'll probably stay off of it....

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801284)

So can I trade in a retarded kid for a router?

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801458)

Here is a better analogy. Someone sticks a hose on my (outdoor) faucet and uses it to wash thier car. I sue them in a court of law. "The faucet was not locked" does not hold up as a valid defence.

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801798)

But in this case, the neighbor's faucet/WAP is spraying water/an RF datastream over the property line. Is it wrong to rig up a big funnel/catch basin and use the water that your neighbor was spraying uninvited onto your property?

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801473)

I've got an analogy to try:

You own a housing complex (internet connection) and decide to hire a doorman (buy and connect a wireless router).

By default, the behavior for the doorman is to open the door for everyone who wants to enter the building (open Wi-Fi connection)

You can instruct the doorman to only open the door for tenants of the building or for anyone on a specific list of names (access control list)

To further add to the analogy:
The housing complex used to be a hotel and still has all of the original signage, thus passers-by would not be aware that it is no longer available for the public. It was the "Linksys Hotel".

For the record: I have a Netgear wireless router. When I set it up, the wireless was disabled by default. In other words, I was forced to configure it rather than just plugging it in.

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801632)

Here's a whole pile of analogies for you:

You don't wear a full body rubber cover, so it's OK for me to urinate on your face.

You aren't wearing a bullet proof vest, so it's OK for me to shoot you.

Iraq didn't field a powerful enough army, so it's OK for the US to kick ass and ignore names.

That thing wasn't bolted, glued or locked down, so it's OK for me to take it.

You aren't resistant to HIV, so it's OK for me to infect you with it.

The idea that anything not expressely denied is allowed is just stupid. It may be OK for your parents and yourself, but for the real world you ask before you do something that can have an impact on someone else.

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

Harinezumi (603874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801901)

All the things you have mentioned are expressly denied, at least in the US criminal code or international law. Our entire legal system is founded on the concept that everything that's not forbidden is allowed.

To continue with the bad analogies, having an unsecured wireless port isn't just the equivalent of leaving your door unlocked. It's the equivalent of leaving it wide open with a sign saying "come on it, take what you want" posted over it.

If you don't want other people using your wireless network, secure your goddamn router. It's trivially easy, and the responsibility for it rests on you and you alone.

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

Dzonatas (984964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801503)

The analogies area flawed upon the presumption that an IP address is like the National ID, and that it can be used to track a single individual down for any wrong doing. We know that IP address can be dynamically assigned and have any sort of user behind the wheel. Open wireless networks are great for P2P, as the trend with unique security codes for every AP has created a star-net topology instead of an internet topology. A point missed in the analogies above are that the data itself can be encrypted by the server and not by the router, which leaves the router open for connection but the data secure (i.e. SSL). Instead of flippin' images, the same technique could be used to route through SSL. That only solves part of the problem. The RIAA may still track your IP of your router. The only real way to solve that is to make it mandatory for all webservers to serve only encrypted data. That way anybody in the middle can claim "I don't know what that chunk of data is, but I know where it goes" by default (also, a case exists to drop unencrypted packets). I'm sure you don't want your child to wander over and find your book "Nuclear Bombs for Dummies" easy to read. (Oh yeah! We seem to passively forget about the "worst-case" analogy to describe the best internet topology, that is if we or the hub gets bombed we still want to be able to communicate.)

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801633)

Because you could be causing harm. It's easy to snoop once you're on the network. Of course, if it's unprotected, you either don't care or don't know.

To get away from the lawn idea, let's talk about cars. If I leave my car unlocked, not a good practice but something easy to do and to not think about, does that mean anyone can come in and sit? It'd be quite disheartening. Most people think their car is secure and often has data about them (papers, receipts, etc). But you could forget to lock it, for any number of reasons. That doesn't mean that the world has access. The same goes for your briefcase, is it locked? No? I'm gonna rifle through it for awhile then.

Of course, wifi does broadcast, but that's a bad analogy. It doesn't get in the way of other people, unlike physical property(car blocking the lane, etc..). In fact, no one is complaining about cell signals, which are broadcast like wifi. Does this mean that, because it is jutting out and striking me, so to speak, that I should be privy to your conversation(after all, your voice on this side isn't encrypted at all).

But it's a hard debate, and I don't think anything will sum up the debate very well. But I do believe you should stay on your own property, be the door locked or unlocked, the door closed or open, unless someone explicity says it's ok.

But of course, it's becoming redundant. Starbucks has Wifi for a nominal fee, kinkos is the same network, cell phones are getting net service via bluetooth, so even out where there's no wifi, let alone an unprotected one, you can still get internet if you have the right phone and the know-how.

Mind you, I probably wouldn't mind hopping onto someone's network to check my email or anything, but I'm not going to try and defend it as "they invited me in!"

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

rmerrill11 (308424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801784)

"In fact, no one is complaining about cell signals, which are broadcast like wifi. Does this mean that, because it is jutting out and striking me, so to speak, that I should be privy to your conversation(after all, your voice on this side isn't encrypted at all)."

Yes it does mean that I have the right to listen in on your phone calls.

The Supreme Court of the US decided that you have an expectation of privacy when using a land-line phone, and a court order is required to allow people to violate that right of privacy.

But they ruled that you have no expectation of privacy when using a cordless phone (and by implication a cell-phone). As it is a transmitter, using the public airwaves. (IANAL - so may be missing some important legal points about this.)

So, my understanding of the law of the land in the US is that if you are broadcasting a signal onto my property, I am within my rights to listen in / use it.

(NOTE: This "law" thing might have been changed by whim of the President, but you are not on a need-to-know list for that information.)

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

mrbooze (49713) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801678)

If you're on someone's wifi, and you're not causing harm, and they left it open, what is the problem?

No problem. Likewise, if I choose to lock my wifi to keep unauthorized users off of my personal network, what's the problem with that?

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

Baorc (794142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801797)

If you're on someone's wifi, and you're not causing harm, and they left it open, what is the problem?
The problem is your right to privacy, well in this case their right to privacy.
There is no reason why you need to justify hiding your network and not wanting anyone else hopping on. It is yours and your right to solely want only the people you authorize access to it.

Re:Retarded child analogy flawed (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801827)

The analogy is very poor for another reason --

The wifi router's job in life is to route - which means either pass packets or drop packets. That's all it does. A retarded kid is not dedicated to the job of guardian of the lawn. He is not designed, not even intelligently designed, to route people to his lawn or anywhere else.

Backslash is retard. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801239)

Don't you editors have anything better to do? Aren't there enough submissions?

Re:Backslash is retard. (4, Insightful)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801286)

Slashdot is not about stories, Digg and other linkfarms are about stories. Slashdot is about comments, Slashdot is about community. Considering the sorry state of the moderation system, it's hard to read many of the good comments without also coming upon highly-rated but rather banal comments (including a few I have authored). People who are too busy to browse through hundreds of comments will enjoy the backslash approach, and I, for one, think it can help extend debate on issues that are important (at least for nerds).

Re:Backslash is retard. (2, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801533)

RE: Aren't there enough submissions?

Who knows. Slashdot is getting slower and slower putting up new stories.
I thought the same and submitted my 1st story in a year but it got shot down.
(nobody else posted the story, either)

I used to have a hard time keeping up with /. now I get bored.
I heard about digg and now I go there when I'm bored or when /. is having their usual "slownewsday"
Comments there suck and are hard to read due to spelling but it is getting better.
At /., there are too many comments to bother for because there are too few stories to comment on.

I could go on but I would cause a flame war.

Enough with the analogies! (2, Insightful)

RevWhite (889559) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801247)

There simply isn't an adequate analogy for this situation, as nothing else is like an unsecured access point. Please stop comparing them as such.

Re:Enough with the analogies! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801398)

> There simply isn't an adequate analogy for this situation, as nothing else is like an unsecured access point. Please stop comparing them as such.

Your post reminds me of going to the dealership to make a trade-in for a newer car. When I test drive a new car, I find that isn't quite like my old car. In fact, in-so-much that the new car isn't identical to the old one, it would be fair to say it is "nothing ... like" the old one.

Re:Enough with the analogies! (5, Funny)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801475)

Your analogy misses the point entirely.

The situation the GP was describing is a more like trying to sell yak's milk in a Bavarian beer garden. You can bring as many Nepalese sherpas as you want, each with their own entry visas, and the yak might clear customs, but unless the milk is pasteurized you're still going to run into problems. And who's to say the Germans have a taste for yak's milk anyway? It's shortsighted thinking like this that leads to posts like yours.

Re:Enough with the analogies! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801769)

Your analogy misses the point entirely.

The situation the GP was describing is a more like having a wireless access point setup in your house. You can have as many wireless network cards each with their own MAC address, but unless you capture packets you are still going to run into problems. And who's to say your nice looking neighbor does not take private photos of herself toe-mail her boyfriend. It's shortssighted thinking like yours that leads to not capturing packets.

TOE-MAIL ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801863)

...private photos of herself toe-mail her boyfriend...

What the hell is toe-mail ???

Re:Enough with the analogies! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801516)

Yeah! No more analogies--it's like being nibbled to death by cats!

Re:Enough with the analogies! (5, Funny)

01101101 (869973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801522)

There simply isn't an adequate analogy for this situation, as nothing else is like an unsecured access point. Please stop comparing them as such.

So it's like apples and oranges then?

Re:Enough with the analogies! (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801596)

An analogy, in this case, is precident. It is how we are intending to think about the issue. The question is this: Is an unsecured wireless access point assumed to be open to the public or not? An analogy is reasoning for a particular argument: it is or it isn't because we are treating it as if it were a newer version of $foo.

Personally, I think an unsecured access point should be considered public. There is no seperate flag for 'you are allowed to access this' besides the fact that when you try you can. It is trivial to at least make it obvious I don't want you to access this connection, using passwords and/or encryption. (Even if you can break it, you know I didn't want you in at that point.) Therefore, since some people do want to run publicly accessable access points, using the fact that connection is possible as implying that connection is permitted makes logical sense.

Re:Enough with the analogies! (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801791)

There simply isn't an adequate analogy for this situation, as nothing else is like an unsecured access point. Please stop comparing them as such.

So, there's these two princesses back in opposite castles and both are really hot and everyone wants to hit it like there was no tomorrow. One's a complete nymphomaniac and a slut besides that; in other words, she she's ready to screw leprotic beggers at the drop of a hat, and to top it off her castle has a neon sign 500 feet in the air that says "Princess love you long time".

The other princess has a chastity belt and and a sign on her skirt that says "Keepeth out or we'll catapulteth your balls into the next county", and the castle has a bunch of armored cavalry frothing at the mouth to protect her magesty's state of integrity.

What was I getting around to? Ahh, fuck it.

Analogies Broken (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801255)

All of the locked door, stolen bike, and lawn analogies miss one important fact. 802.11 uses the radio spectrum. In the US we ALL own the radio spectrum, but "trust" the FCC to manage it.
The FCC says you can transmit on that band within X power. They also say if a a signal enters your reciever you can read it.
Together they imply you can join an unsecured network, because that person is allowing their equipment to broadcast, and recieve on open frequencies.

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801407)

Yes, but citizens cannot buy a radio scanner that covers the band which cell phones use.


Also, you may be allowed to receive the broadcast, but in this case it isn't broadcasting, it is communication involving transceivers (transmitter and receiver pairs). I don't think it is fair to say that this implies that you can joint an unsecured network, though my personal belief is that it should be ok. If the provider of the unsecured network does not like it, they should secure it. I think that you should have free reign to receive radio signals regardless of their origin if you have a receiver. If you cannot make sense of the signals, that is your problem.

Re:Analogies Broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801532)

Not true. An 802.11 card is indeed broadcasting. It's the link layer protocol on top that filters out the packets not destined for the card. The radio itself makes no such distinction. On many cards you can stop that filtering, which is known as "promiscuous mode" and is how etheral and packet sniffers work.

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801676)

Yes, but if it is strictly a broadcast, you cannot go anywhere on the internet(you can log what you pick up). Sure you can receive the link layer protocol, but this won't get you anywhere by itself. The FCC treats broadcasting as a one way information flow. This is what I meant in my post. To get anywhere, you need two way communications. You have to be able to submit your URL requests.

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

eluusive (642298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801701)

What are you talking about? I have one in my pocket.

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801821)

I'll assume you have a radio scanner in your pocket. By FCC decree in 1994 ordinary joes (I'll call them citizens) cannot purchase a new manufactured scanner which will receive radio signals in the band used by analog cell phones. This was supposed to prevent eavesdropping by those who own said receivers on callers using cell phones who have an expectation of privacy equivalent to that of a wired land line. This set a bad precident in my opinion. I don't care about receiving cell phone calls on a scanner, but I believe that if you are sending radio signals that come across my person (or property) I should be able to receive them, provided I have the proper equipment. If you don't want me to listen to your signals, you can either: not transmit or encrypt your signal such that it makes no sense to me.

As far as I know, older scanners where grandfathered in, so if you have a scanner from before the FCC regulation went into effect, you can receive said bands. I suppose it is still legal to construct your own receiver which will receive this band. However, unless you are law enforcement or government you cannot buy a radio receiver to listen on this band. However, you can easily get a scanner that covers this band (just look on Ebay), so in a practical sense, the FCC regulation is a load of BS. You can also get one from Canada.

Re:Analogies Broken (2, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801443)

This is exactly the point that so many "property analogies" miss. If it is in the air I breathe when I am not on your property, then it is mine, period, until the day on which airspace itself becomes private property. Until then, whether you encrypt your signal or not, YOU are FORCING it upon ME even when I am standing across the street. You lose all property rights to it the moment it leaves your property.

For those who use the bike analogy (if I leave my bike in a public place unlocked, does that make it yours?) well, no. But if you toss your bike into my yard, as far as I'm concerned it does. And if you toss your bike into my yard without my permission and six weeks later you come around to collect it after I've already bought a lock and have been riding it to work, I'm going to fight you all the way to say that your tossing the bike into my yard and then forgetting about it for weeks was your express method for disposing of it (i.e. giving it to me without compensation).

If you're going to claim that a signal is your property, you'd better to something to ensure that you're not forcing it upon everyone else OFF of your property. Or to create my own analogy, can I record a record, play it out my window in the direction of your house, and then sue you for piracy since you listened to it without ever buying a copy?

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

Mr. Shiny And New (525071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801681)

Sure, access to the WLAN is in the air you breathe, but access to the internet is not. You are definitely causing potential harm in the form of increased ISP charges by using someone's IP. Many ISPs have bandwidth caps and if you go over your transfer limit you pay fees. Also your actions might not be legal and thus you are exposing the owner of the internet connection to legal risk.

You can connect to an unsecured WLAN all you want, but to use that connection to go onto the internet is clearly entering into a different domain of "property". Maybe I threw my bike onto your lawn, or maybe it fell off my driveway onto your lawn, but that doesn't give you the right to go into my house to get oil for its chain, even if my garage door is open and the oil is sitting right there. (Yes this analogy is just as bad as yours and all the others :) )

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

KevinIsOwn (618900) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801854)

If someone is incuring such fees, they should utilize some form of encryption. Even those that are breakable, like WEP, still give the message that one is trespassing should one access the network. And it doesn't look like anyone has really justified breaking into an encrypted network.

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801699)

Remember that wireless networking is two way, so you are also broadcasting onto my property when you associate and I can choose to mess with the signal. Therefore re-directing every one of your requests to blurry pictures of the Care Bears or deleting random characters from the stream is fully within my rights.

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

CyberKnet (184349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801786)

Sure. You're free to receive the signal and manipulate that data any way you want. No argument.

And sure, you're free to send any signal out to anywhere, or the original router wouldn't have been free to send out its signal.

The problem comes when you're starting to access said device and use up resources on it. You're manipulating private property (Even if via free to transmit and receive airwaves). And accessing and manipulating private property is not OK. The device has a limited resource by way of processing power and available internet bandwidth, and it is not OK for you to consume those without permission. Period.

No analogies are needed, it's just plain wrong.

Re:Analogies Broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801839)

Move to an area right next to a small town airport and bitch and moan about flights going over your house. If you complain loud enough (ie. with a lawyer) the only options the airport has is to a.) redirect traffic or b.) purchase your airspace. Its not cheap, I made a pretty penny when the city came wanting my airspace. Since they are small corporate jets that come in maybe once a week, I was willing to sell. Remember in the US anything over 2000 feet is the government's but anything below is private and you own it.

Re:Analogies Broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801861)

For those who use the bike analogy (if I leave my bike in a public place unlocked, does that make it yours?) well, no. But if you toss your bike into my yard, as far as I'm concerned it does.

Do you have title to it? No. It's not yours. You can call the police, and have them impound the unwanted item, if you so desire. But you don't get title to someone else's property by virtue of it being on your land.

I'm going to fight you all the way to say that your tossing the bike into my yard and then forgetting about it for weeks was your express method for disposing of it

So, you're going to tell someone else what their intentions were? I don't think you get to do that. I think they do.

Or to create my own analogy, can I record a record, play it out my window in the direction of your house, and then sue you for piracy since you listened to it without ever buying a copy?

Well, there is no definition of "piracy" that applies in this situation. The traditional definition (attacking ships on the high seas) doesn't apply. Copyright infringement doesn't apply, since no copy is being made by any party. There is no trademarks at issue to infringe, and no trade dress issues either. There is no patented process being applied in any disputed way. There is no industrial design being manufactured. An authorized party is producing an authorized copy of an authorized work; at worst, the listener might be able to get a noise bylaw enforced.

So, no you can't sue, because no laws are being broken.

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

twiggy (104320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801455)

That implication may or may not be valid in a stricly legal sense due to the way the law was written.

However, from an ethical sense, it still cannot be argued that using the internet connection of some guy who bought a router at best buy and has no idea about security is "ethical" to do. Most people don't know jack about security, and if the router works right out of the box, why are they going to bother poking around the settings? They're not.

You can say that it's sad and wrong and stupid for people to do that, but their ignorance does not give you license to steal their internet connection.

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

dm0527 (975468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801606)

You're preaching to a deaf audience that isn't capable of reading lips.

Most people in this particular arena will argue up one end and down the other that they can use someone else's connection if it's available. Nevermind the fact that he purchased the equipment to set it up (and was incapable of purchasing equipment that limited the broadcast to just his yard), is paying the bill to the ISP for the connectivity and probably doesn't understand technology enough to even know that he is letting anyone use his connection.

In fact, screw him because he's such a dumbass. We should probably all download kiddie porn through his router and get his dumb ass sent to jail for being stupid enough to bring this situation on himself!

There, now I'm cool to all the /. crowd, right?

Re:Analogies Broken (2, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801491)

I let you into my house, you dont automatically have permission to use my telephone to call your aunt in China. You can connect to my wifi but nothing short of written or spoken permission from myself gives you leave to use my internet connection.

Re:Analogies Broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801723)

> I let you into my house, you dont automatically have permission to use my telephone to call your aunt in China. You can connect to my wifi but nothing short of written or spoken permission from myself gives you leave to use my internet connection.

My stupid analogy to counter your stupid analogy:

If you don't want him to use your internet connection, then don't give him a default gateway pointing to your internet connection. It's like letthing him into your house and showing him where the phone is, then getting mad when he uses it. Now if you don't give him a default gateway pointing to your internet connection, and he finds it and uses it anyway, that is much more like your phone analogy.

Re:Analogies Broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801560)

The FCC says you are free to any data that you recieve but any data that you transmit to purposfully interfere with another device is illegal. Let me make it clear: Using someone elses wireless network is ILLEGAL. It is just as illegal as if you had hacked a cell phone to use someone elses phone service (which is also possible).

Re:Analogies Broken (1)

KitFox (712780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801751)

Analogies of all sorts, and yes, it does come down to radio waves. I only know about the US, so let's see...

Firstly, somebody said "Their radio waves are infringing on my property, so I have the right to use them."
This is very similar to the "garden pelting passersby with peas and carrots, so they are allowed to eat them."

Fine. You may eat (LISTEN) to the radio waves. You may NOT send stuff back to the garden to grow, nor may you send radio waves back to the receiver. And of course, actually getting arbitrary data back from the network, or connecting to the network, requires that you send stuff back... at which point YOUR radio waves are invading THEIR property.

But then it gets more complicated...

Okay, yes, as the parent says, you may broadcast on the same frequency, and if the receiver listens, that's its own damn problem.
True. Very true.

HOWEVER...

The FCC rules only cover permission to broadcast, and permission to listen to the radio waves. They do NOT cover the permission needed to use the radio waves as a transmission medium by which access to the computer systems on the other side of the radio waves is gained.

The whole thing comes down not to the radio waves, but to the access to the network and computer systems. And that access is the illegal part.

So if you were "talking" on the radio waves, but in NO way accessing anything BEYOND the radio waves themselves (No data went past the receiver on the other end... not even to the chips involved in processing network traffic), then it's fine.

End result?

You can sniff as much as you want, just don't sneeze.

Nasty Stuff You Can Do (0, Redundant)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801273)

There is a lot of nasty stuff that you can do if you are routing the traffic through a squid proxy like the author of the original article did. Imagine replacing all images with Goatse.cx or redirecting all web traffic to a page announcing "You are a bandwidth thief!".

The more serious and disturbing outcome of this story is in that it presents a case for how wardrivers can have their passwords and personal information stolen through a clever phishing attack using a proxy. You can argue they deserve it for piggybacking on others' bandwidth but the potential for exploitation here is huge (imagine if somebody put an open access point near Central Park).

Re:Nasty Stuff You Can Do (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801336)

doing sensitive transactions or logins over random wireless points = teh stupid.

Re:Nasty Stuff You Can Do (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801630)

Ahem:
teh stupid == teh average wardriving script kiddie

One in the same and I now have an excellent idea for use in my apt complex :-)
Thanks
-nB

Backslash = dupe? (-1, Redundant)

int2str (619733) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801289)

Why oh why do we need these "backslash"es?

The comments on the original article are already moderated. If I want to read what users have to say about a topic, I go there! This purposefull regurgitaion of article comments is like a willful dupe to me - I really don't like it.

Could we please stop that?
Or at least take them off the homepage?

Cheers,
      andre

Re:Backslash = dupe? (2, Insightful)

necrogram (675897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801320)

three words.... Slow News Day

Re:Backslash = dupe? (3, Informative)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801368)

Edit your profile and uncheck the Backslash sections so you won't see it again. No big deal.

Re:Backslash = dupe? (1)

int2str (619733) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801589)

Thank you! I forgot about that.
Still think they are useless, but I guess I'm in the minority there.

Re:Backslash = dupe? (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801385)

http://backslash.slashdot.org/users.pl?op=edithome [slashdot.org]

Why not just take them off your own homepage? That way, you won't be pissing everyone off with this already-redundant offtopic comment.

Re:Backslash = dupe? (1)

Kouroth (911586) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801545)

So don't read them if you don't like them. I happen to enjoy reading them. I'm sure plenty of others do too.

Re:Backslash = dupe? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801747)

I'm fucking tired of these fucking retarded comments by fucking lazy anal people who just like to complain, fucking scummy waste of life, fucking die or sort it out by putting the effort into NOT FUCKING CLICKING on the clearly marked Backslash topics, or even, SHOCK FUCKING HORROR, removing the stories from your default view in the preferences.

For me, and many others, they're useful to get a brief overview of general consensus about an issue, and counterpoints and so on, that we don't have time to read, because we're not fucking lazy dole scum that can afford the time to read every comment on a story.

Every fucking backslash there's a whole horde of cunts being shitty about the fact that the story exists, whining like prissy little girls because it somehow annoys them that they exist. FUCKING DEAL WITH IT YOU SHITS. Quit polluting the comments with your retarded Karma enhanced +2 posts that just show how fucking stupid and annoying you really are. I bet you all have high whiney voices and whine, whine fucking whine wah wah wah wah crybaby asshats the lot of you. Grow the fuck up.

Yesterday's story? (1, Redundant)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801304)

I spent the whole yesterday refreshing the slashdot frontpage, and somehow managed to miss the story!

Anyway, this technique reminded me (yes I know they're very different) of airpwn [sourceforge.net] , a piece of code which sniffs out the images and replaces them with the ones you specify, the authors had some fun at defcon 12 [evilscheme.org]

Elektroschock: your bandwidth comes from where? (4, Funny)

jea6 (117959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801309)

We don't need internet providers and we don't need internet providers which leak our communication data to the governments and endanger the freedom of the net. The net should be a net and wireless technology is great for the creation of a real P2P internet.

OK, so how exactly are you connecting to Slashdot without using an ISP? Are you standing at a terminal in the cage at SAVVIS where Slashdot's servers are located?

Re:Elektroschock: your bandwidth comes from where? (2, Insightful)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801353)

What he means by "we don't need internet providers" is that we don't need ISPs. Obviously, we need internet providers in the sense that we need other people in the network to help transport the data.

The thing is, in that P2P fantasy world where everyone shares their connection and gives back to the community and there are no evil corporations charging us monthly fees, major latency would be the norm and the internet would become much more regionalised than it is now. Online gaming, for example, would all but die, surviving only in tightnit local groups.

Re:Elektroschock: your bandwidth comes from where? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801538)

The thing is, in that P2P fantasy world where everyone shares their connection and gives back to the community and there are no evil corporations charging us monthly fees, major latency would be the norm and the internet would become much more regionalised than it is now. Online gaming, for example, would all but die, surviving only in tightnit local groups.

I feel there's room for a hybrid approach. You could buy metered long-haul low-latency traffic, and manually route that direction for machines you need to contact promptly.

Re:Elektroschock: your bandwidth comes from where? (2, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801567)

Thats where you are wrong, the infrastructure for major international corporations would still need to exist (like google etc are just going to roll over and give up).
There will still be high bandwidth international pipes around just like we currently do.
The only difference is that businesses with a vested interest in your custom will be the ones supplying the core bandwidth.

Once the mesh takes off, home users shouldn't need a specific ISP anymore.

Re:Elektroschock: your bandwidth comes from where? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801783)

not really.
What id every wirless router talks to all the others in a type of wifi mesh.

including web sites. Totaly un controllable, completly anonymous, no ISP charges.

Put ione in every home and automobil and you could cover 90% of the US.

Slashdot Analogies (4, Insightful)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801311)

There's something about Slashdot that encourages these terrible analogies, and it's just awful to watch. Sometimes, I see a story, and I can tell beforehand that there's going to be a bunch of these crappy analogies being thrown around, argued over and refined. It's usually around then that I turn my computer off and go outside, so in a sense, they literally send me running.

Re:Slashdot Analogies (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801618)

You're right, and it annoys me too. It seemed as if no one really considered to look at how the technology was intended to work as in: APs broadcast SSIDs to advertise their presence, and unless communication is encrypted, anyone can request to join the network. Of course, the reality of the situation is not being conveyed correctly to most consumers. I haven't bought an AP which has said in a really obvious place something like "the default configuration of this device allows anyone to use your Internet connection. If you do not want to share your connection with others then follow these steps.."

Most of the previous discussion seemed to focus on arguing about different aspects of various inappropriate analogies. I read through a few of these and the whole issue became more confusing as the discussion progressed than it really should have been. And no, not everything has to fit with the current exisiting ideas of what's right and wrong in regards to physical property.

What should be considered "public" and "private" with these devices is profoundly straightforward. Manufacturers should have made it clearer to the end user what they were getting themselves into.

Re:Slashdot Analogies (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801655)

Totally. It's alot like going outside on a cloudy day: you just know it's going to rain or maybe snow. Then when it comes, it's just better to be inside.

Re:Slashdot Analogies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801677)

That would be like leaving a bookstore because you can imagine the contents of the first book you saw based on its title.

permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801314)

So when my PPPoE connection goes U with my ISP (I have ADSL) I am asking permission to connect, but, I have no permission to use the connection, since computers and routers cannot give permission, right?

When I check my mail, I ask permission via POP3 but, I don't have permission, since a computer cannot give permission...

Your argument doesn't seem to work.

Quote:
Yes, the computer is "asking" the router "permission," and the router is "granting permission" -- the only problem is, the words we use to describe these actions may appear to be descriptive of thinking and volition, but they really mean neither. Computers and routers simply CANNOT give "permission" in any legal or moral sense.

Re:permission (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801401)

You aren't paying attention. You have permission to connect to your ISP and POP servers, because you are in a contract with the owners of both. You have no contract or even an informal agreement with the owner of an unknown unsecured wireless access point.

Re:permission (1)

twiggy (104320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801426)

His argument works fine, because you pay for your ADSL connection and you have HUMAN permission to connect.

Bits and bytes do not denote human intent, they only dictate technological switches on and off.

Backslash: Backslash (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801315)

Yesterdays story about backslash brought many interesting and insight comments from Slashdot readers.

For example, an Anonymous Coward said:
What is this backslash garabage? It's just a rehash.

Another user commented:

I hate backlash.

Many readers readers responded to this comment with a wide range of opionions,
  • Teh ghey
  • This faggotry has go to stop
  • FUCK YOU TIMOTHY GODDAMNIT.

etc

Does Wireless Cause Cancer? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801321)

If so, then you're giving your neighbors cancer and they're entitled to take some of your bandwidth as retribution / reparations. Do not mod this funny.

Added Bonus (2, Insightful)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801330)

Having an unsecured wireless network provides plausible deniability for p2p downloading and what-not. Unless of course you live in Wyoming and have no neighbors for miles.

Re:Added Bonus (3, Informative)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801377)

Actually, most of Wyoming is on fiber optic and wireless networks. One of the first broadband offerings in Gillette, Wyoming was from a company called Visionary Communications [visionary.com] . They placed towers all around town for their wi-fi subscribers (no, its not open).

One of the interesting things about Wyoming is that within the boundaries of the towns, subdivisions and neighborhoods are closely packed in together. Sure there are the folks that live out on their own ranches but the trend is to live closer to town.

Re: Added Bonus (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801468)

> Having an unsecured wireless network provides plausible deniability for p2p downloading and what-not.

Yeah, but it sucks when all the songs are backwards.

Re:Added Bonus (1)

HoboMaster (639861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801900)

Nope. Precedent in court says that you are responsible for what happens on your network. Besides, your IP is enough evidence to have your computers seized and checked for evidence of filesharing, so it'd be hard to get away with.

Access to your LAN (1)

Throtex (708974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801346)

The second problem is you are allowing strangers access to not only your Internet connection, but also your LAN. I have multiple computers and put files in shared folders so I can access them from different machines. I don't want some strange to have access to those files, or worse, have their computer be infected with a worm/virus that propagates across the network.

I recently got a Nintendo DS and decided to set up a wireless network so I could play online with it. I have never previously needed a wireless network in my home, prefering the security of wire-bound communications. Since most of my computers are desktops that hopefully have little mobility, I can just drop a wire and forget about it.

My concern was the same, especially because the DS only supports WEP, meaning I should probably assume my network to be compromised. But then I found a better way to use my current security (NAT routing only ports where I'm expecting communications) to extend the network. Basically, take the existing network, showing only those ports you've opened to the public Internet on a common IP address, and move them back behind a second NAT router (the new wireless router). Set the first NAT router on the second NAT router's DMZ. Set the first NAT router's gateway to the IP address of the second NAT router (as seen by the first NAT router). Now, any wireless clients connecting to the second NAT router/access point will still be able to see the rest of your network, but only through the single IP address of the first NAT router, and only through those ports you would have opened anyway.

Sure, someone can still use your bandwidth, but at least you can add another layer of protection to your sensitive machines.

I have a spare comment (1)

Efialtis (777851) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801374)

Just redirect all their URL requests to the same URL...

CNN.com comes out as overstock.com
MSN.com comes out as overstock.com
Amazon.com comes out as overstok.com...

But, really, just lock up the network unless they are willing to pay 50% for their access rights...

the continuing debate on this subject is sad... (3, Insightful)

twiggy (104320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801395)

I'm amazed at the amount of people insisting that an open wireless router is an implicit invitation to join, and the number of people saying "if you are doing no harm, what's the problem?"

I love the idealistic vision of information being free, of internet access being free, etc - but the "hacker ethic" is no excuse for stealing.

Problem 1: Your average person is not very tech savvy, so your average internet router comes unsecured so that it works straight out of the box for your average version. This means that the vast majority of wireless routers are open unintentionally by people who don't read instructions or know anything about security. And why read the instructions if they don't have to? If it works right out of the box, why spend time reading the damn booklet? This means that the majority of unsecured wireless connections are likely that way because people don't know any better, not because they're Just Like You(tm) and want to share.

Problem 2: Even if these people left them open for convenience, sharing, etc - their terms of service with their ISP almost always have a clause saying that service is to be used only be residents of the billing address. By using their connection, whether they want you to or not, you are aiding them in breaking their TOS.

Problem 3: No, seriously, get it through your thick skull - that network isn't open because the guy who owns it reads slashdot and agrees with you. It's open because the guy doesn't know any better. However, his "stupidity" (reality: lack of interest in technology to the degree of yours) does not give you the "right" to steal.

Problem 4: You can say "if it doesn't hurt his bandwidth usage, it's fine", but that becomes a slippery slope. How many people get to borrow Unsuspecting Bob's internet connection then?

Problem 5: If you were to win the argument that people should be free to share their connections with the world, you would kill ISPs as a business. It's tantamount to arguing that it should be perfectly legal for one guy at the top of an apartment building to pay for cable internet, and for every resident of that building to mod a Linksys router and get the whole building on a WDS mesh through one connection. I'm no fan of the cable company, believe me, but doing this is still not fair to business.

Re:the continuing debate on this subject is sad... (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801469)

2WIREs come with WEP enabled by default, right? I haven't seen any that aren't encrypted. How is that working out?

Re:the continuing debate on this subject is sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801712)

This means that the vast majority of wireless routers are open unintentionally by people who don't read instructions or know anything about security. And why read the instructions if they don't have to? If it works right out of the box, why spend time reading the damn booklet? This means that the majority of unsecured wireless connections are likely that way because people don't know any better

Next time you get pulled over, tell the nice policeman that you didn't *know* you were speeding, and see how far that gets you.

Ignorance is not an excuse, in anything.

Re:the continuing debate on this subject is sad... (1)

leoboiko (462141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801720)

If you were to win the argument that people should be free to share their connections with the world, you would kill ISPs as a business.


This is not evilness on the part of people, it's a weakeness of the ISP model. If we could give net access to everyone managing networks ourselves, it means the market has outdated ISPs (much like old-style telephony and elevator operators). I'd go as far as guess that wireless mesh networks will be the key to breaking telecoms monopolies over Internet access.

As for the open network controversy, I disagree with your conclusions. I've used a bunch of open nets and all of them were open to public; some called themselves "freenet" or "openap", etc. For good manners, I've always got in touch with the admin to warn about my intentions, and never once I found one who had his net open unintentionally. Maybe we live in different places.

I respect and understand you if you disagree with me and don't want anyone using your network. I can't respect you if you think this give you the right of playing childish pranks on them. If you don't want others to use the net then simply be polite and close/encrypt it.

Re:the continuing debate on this subject is sad... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801726)

Something that really bothers me, and goes well with what you're saying:

A lot of people say "Well, they should learn how these things work and secure them properly!". Why? Are wireless routers as simple as they could be to set up? Is it unreasonable to assume that the defaults are sane? How about, rather than this current mess, someone adds a way of describing wireless networks, to DHCP. So:

Average user plugs new router into wall. It auto-generates a WEP (because it's well supported, and so a good default) key, and configures itself to use that. User then plugs their laptop into the router, using a standard ethernet cable, and the router tells the laptop about the wireless network as part of the connection setup. Laptop then prompts user if they want to use wireless, user clicks yes, unplugs cable, and is happy.

Wouldn't that be simpler? Safer? Generally all round better for everyone except /. users who might be using network connections of people who don't expect it?

Sorry, really fed up with this elitist attitude you get from computer people; just because you had to spend ages learning to do something, doesn't mean you shouldn't make it easier for other people.

Some counterpoints (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801794)

You can say "if it doesn't hurt his bandwidth usage, it's fine", but that becomes a slippery slope. How many people get to borrow Unsuspecting Bob's internet connection then?

I dunno, when someone slips off the cliff?

Btw, pro "open access" folks would say that ISP's got their monopolies on providing net access via fraud (direct or indirect) etc. and therefore it's moral to not abide by their TOS.

Some would say it should be allowed that people can share their connection with others if they choose. "This is the electronic equivalent of allowing someone to browse the net on my PC at home. Who's biz is it where they are? What's next auto makers restricting who a person can lend my car to?"

Others wish there was a legal allowed wifi name/key etc. that basically means the owner is saying "here's a "secure" wifi for others to authenticate with and use".

I'm not taking a position .. i'm just adding commonly touted counterpos.

One more caveat (1)

cirby (2599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801837)

6. If you're in a non-poor neighborhood, there are going to be several wireless nets in range of any given spot. Even if Bob Niceguy decides to share his bandwidth and tells his friends it's okay, they might not know which access point is his, and just link up to any random place. ...and if you're living right next to (for example) a coffee shop, you could get a dozen random freeloaders on at any given time who all think it's okay, since the "free wireless" sign is right there for all to see.

Legal question (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801477)

Suppose that you redirect all content requests to an illegal download that is not stored on anything that is associated with you. Who then would be legally at fault? You're doing nothing illegal, its your routing equipment, you can do with it what you damn well please. Is the freeloader suddenly guilty of breaking whatever laws the download or its contents violate?

Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801591)

What bugs me about this is how some people spend time writing up bitingly barbed and highly satirical screeds about the monumental stupidity of common users. "Imagine this bozo trying to set up a home network like he was a real sysadmin," they sneer. "And the whole time he doesn't realize that the brand of router he's using has a vulnerability somewhere deep in the firmware. If I'd been him, I'd have spent more money and more time, but instead this poor sap gets to deal with what his ignorance has unleashed...." and so on, ad nauseam.


The reason it annoys me is because, when these people are caught piggybacking onto their next-door neighbor's wireless, they then post that "this whole debate is silly, anyway, because the airwaves are free to everybody, and it's unfair to expect someone not to take advantage of such an unexpected bounty, and anyway the neighbor wasn't using that much of it in the first place, and he had it coming for not securing his network...."


But then again, I guess that's different.


Forget all these silly analogies.. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801597)

You don't want anyone using your wireless network, yet you want to leave it open? I have the perfect solution for you! Enclose your property in a Faraday Cage, and be done with it. Quit griping, quit saying "If this, if that, balh, blah, blah," and DO SOMETHING. Either drop some serious money on having your connection and network set up how you want it and secured how you want it, or don't complain and gripe when someone else accesses your shit. - PERIOD.

R2.0 totally missed my point (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801656)

the bottom line is that the router invites people to connect. That is what it does, that's it's purpose that is why it was designed.

As for his retard analogy, that was just in poor taste; however as soon as the owner of the property came over and told the other people to leave then they would be obligated to do so.

And stop light do inform you when it is legal to cross the road.

He seems to be nuder the impression that 'polite' = 'moral' or 'legal'.

Another missed point... (3, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801721)

I live in Austin. There are hundreds of businesses here with free WiFi. The city has free WiFi blanketing downtown. This isn't really a trespass issue. How exactly do you know which networks are free to use without using encryption as a clue? If anything the issue of trespass is only an issue because WiFi is public in much the same way as a large green space and includes no way to provide a "No Trespassing" sign.

What about the manufacturer??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801722)

We are consumers buying products that are pre-configured as a "house party connection". Why don't they come disabled, so the user HAS to go into the config, and apply his personal approval to the routers setup.

So, if it's enabled at all, you know some liability/judgement was applied.

air-pwn (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801773)

Did no-one pick up on the obvious feed line in the writeup about other possibilities? This is basically what the airpwn guys did at Defcon a couple of years back. Except that they rewrote every img tag to point to goatse. I swear, I nearly shat myself looking at their pics of stupefied lardass l337 types staring blankly at their laptops and clearly without a clue how they were being had. Google it, you won't regret it :)

The answer to your wireless problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15801841)

/Wires/.

Maybe you've heard of them.

So maybe you can't take your laptop outside, or your bed, or wherever. I don't know about you, but I go to these places to get /away/ from the Internet.

(Anonymous troll powers -- Activate!)

One reason *I* don't share my WiFi... (1)

SmoothTom (455688) | more than 8 years ago | (#15801882)

I have a contract with my provider that in multiple places in the contract/TOS/AUP prohibits me from doing so. Here's one:
6.c. Multiple Users: The Service and the ______ Equipment shall be used only by you and by members of your immediate household living with you at the same address. You acknowledge that you are executing this Agreement on behalf of all persons who use the ______ Equipment and/or Service by means of the Customer Equipment. You shall have sole responsibility for ensuring that all other users understand and comply with the terms and conditions of this Agreement and the AUP.
This, and other parts of my contract with my provider, prohibit sharing of my 8Mbs internet access.

No matter how "nice" it might be to allow casual users to have access to the internet from my WiFi, I am not allowed to do so.

--
Tomas
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