These are not unimportant questions, because if you have not properly secured your wireless network, you could be creating easy opportunities for criminals to do bad things in your name.
A recent story on the Today Show caught my eye, not only because it was a frightening example of how the careless use of Wi-Fi in your home can get you into a whole heap of trouble, but because it was such a case of déjà vu. I remember covering stories just like this nearly a decade ago, and yet many users still haven’t woken up to the risks.
Users like Malcolm Riddell, a Florida resident who got a rude awakening when FBI agents recently swarmed all over his condo and accused him of being a major distributor of child pornography. According to the FBI, they had monitored the exchange of more than 10 million child pornography images over his wireless network. And if it was his network, and he was the only one with access to it, then the images had to be his. Case closed.
But not so fast. After a little investigating, the FBI changed their mind and focused instead on a small boat moored at a marina within clear view of the condo. That’s where the real child pornographer lived, and even though he was a few blocks away he was able to hijack the victim’s unsecured wireless network to share his stash of illegal images, and make sure the victim looked like the bad guy.
And it all happened because the victim had never bothered to create a password for his wireless network. Which not only meant that anyone within range of his network could use it for free, everything on his computer was also open to casual intruders.
And this victim is not alone. In a quick demo, the Today Show was able to uncover more than 1,500 wireless networks in just 30 minutes, simply by driving around with some home-made detection equipment that included a Pringles chips can. Of those 1,500 wireless networks, a quarter had no passwords. And based on experience it’s probably safe to assume that many if not most of the rest still had the default factory-set password that most hackers know anyway.
RELATED STORY: Is a Criminal Using Your Wi-Fi?
IDGuardian reserves the right to remove any comments it deems to be offensive