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Wi-fi intruders arrested

We are now seeing a backlash against those who tap-into unsecured wireless networks for evil purposes, and local police are now arresting those who tap-into unsecured wireless networks:

“Police say Benjamin Smith III, 41, used his Acer brand laptop to hack into Dinon's wireless Internet network. The April 20 arrest is considered the first of its kind in Tampa Bay and among only a few so far nationwide.”

The article notes that, according to experts, wireless networks are often used as a launching pad for criminal acts:

“But experts believe there are scores of incidents occurring undetected, sometimes to frightening effect. People have used the cloak of wireless to traffic in child pornography, steal credit card information and send death threats, according to authorities.”

In more-and-more cases, police have been able to detect and prosecute wi-fi criminals:

“Last year, a Michigan man was convicted of using an unsecured Wi-Fi network at a Lowe's home improvement store to steal credit card numbers. The 20-year-old and a friend stumbled across the network while cruising around in a car in search of wireless Internet connections - a practice known as "Wardriving."

(The name has roots in the movie WarGames, in which Matthew Broderick's character uses a computer to call hundreds of phone numbers in search of computer dialups, hence "war dialing.")”

The article also notes that tapping into an unsecured wireless network is a felony in Florida:

“In a way Dinon was fortunate the man outside his home stuck around since it remains a challenge to catch people in the act. Smith, who police said admitted to using Dinon's Wi-Fi, has been charged with unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony.”

Evil-twins and honey pots

I learned about how hackers work by planting “honey pots”, internet-enabled computers with loose security.  I kick-back, look-over the crooks shoulder and observe their behavior.  In one case, a hacker from China upgraded my version of Linux!

The wi-fi equivalent of a honey pot is the “evil twin”. 

“A more recent threat to emerge is the "evil twin" attack. A person with a wireless-equipped laptop can show up at, say, a coffee shop or airport and overpower the local Wi-Fi hotspot. The person then eavesdrops on unsuspecting computer users who connect to the bogus network.

At a technology conference in London this spring, hackers set up evil twins that infected other computers with viruses, some that gather information on the user, the Wall Street Journal reported.”


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