Wireless Router problem

Wireless Router problem

Priority - make sure that your wireless router is secure !

Wireless Router problem

Article first published 30-04-2011
In my article dated 16th April - "Wireless Routers", I stressed the importance of making sure that you properly secure your wireless router.
In the column, I speculated about what someone using your IP address might do, should they gain access to your internet connection through your un-secure wireless router.
Well, low-and-behold, the consequences of running an un-secure wireless router are currently being reported on www.msnbc.com
The people concerned had an un-secure wireless router connected to the internet connection in their home and as a result, they suffered a dawn-raid by the FBI, confiscation and a 3 day forensic examination of their home computers and mobile devices and, questioning and accusations, that, they had been downloading child pornography.
This is a big problem - so big, that, in a court case in Germany, owning and operating a wireless router connected to an internet connection without properly securing it, has been made an offence carrying a 100 Euro fine.
I am in no doubt as to the extent of this problem, but if anyone is, and wants to see just how many un-secure wireless networks there are in their vicinity, I suggest that they use their laptop computer to scan the air-waves. Access to the "view available wireless networks" facility in Windows is gained through the wireless icon on the bottom right hand side of your computer screen.
A wireless scan will reveal the wireless networks that are within the range of your computer. You can connect to any of the
wireless networks that are un-secure, simply, by clicking the "connect" button.
The 'average' laptop's wireless adapter has limited power and features and is designed to work over short distances within and around your home or, office. Even so, using your laptop computer, you will probably be able to see and connect to several local, un-secure wireless networks.
Imagine just how many un-secure wireless networks that a 'professional' criminal might reveal using more sophisticated software and a much stronger wireless adapter in conjunction with a powerful, external antenna - hundreds !
If you are worried about this, there are things that you can do to reduce the chances of someone being able to use your wireless router/internet connection. We have written several articles about this and more detailed information is available in another of our articles entitled Wireless Routers
Having read this, most of our readers will find it difficult to believe that some people purposely leave their wireless connections 'open' for anyone to use, but personally, I would never contemplate using an 'open' connection - why ? How do you know that the 'open' connection is not a honey-trap ? Use one to connect to the internet and how do you know that someone is not watching exactly what you are doing and recording anything that may be of interest to them.
I have heard some people argue that the internet is a free entity and then, use this, as justification for leaving their wireless routers 'open', but then, do these people leave their wireless routers 'open' because they are doing something that they shouldn't be doing on the internet ? In the event that they they get 'caught' doing whatever it is that they are doing, the fact that their wireless router is 'open', may provide them with a convenient excuse !
At the moment, the Law seems to be taking the view that whilst an IP address may be registered as being used by a particular person, the fact that it has been used for some form of nefarious activity, does not necessarily mean, that, it has been used for that activity, by the person in whose name the IP address is registered, and in the opinion of many people, this is right and proper however, I can forsee a time in the not too distant future, where the owners of wireless routers are legally obliged to keep it secure and suffer the consequences if they don't.

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