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CNN/Money article about using neighbor's WiFi


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CNN/Money article about using neighbor's WiFi
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jsk173
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Join Date: Apr 2005
 
2005-08-09, 14:00

Article from CNN/Money:

Stealing your neighbor's internet? Experts urge caution
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Franz Josef
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2005-08-09, 14:04

Most ISP user licences prohibit it (apart from Speakeasy and one or two small local ISPs) though difficult for them to police.
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alcimedes
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2005-08-09, 14:04

Funny thing they don't mention. People who leave their wireless open on purpose in order to steal the info of those leeching their access. You have NO idea if someone is running ethereal or the like on that wifi hub or not.

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jsk173
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2005-08-09, 14:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes
Funny thing they don't mention. People who leave their wireless open on purpose in order to steal the info of those leeching their access. You have NO idea if someone is running ethereal or the like on that wifi hub or not.
Article touches on this at the end; last 2-3 paragraphs.

I don't live off my neighbor's WiFi but I have connected to them by accident. I just don't see how this can ever be policed for non-password-protected WiFi, especially in urban settings. Unless I'm missing something, it's impossible to tell the difference between a public hotpsot and Mrs. Smith's unsecured WiFi next door. Some public hotspots seem to have a welcome page, etc.; others do not. To me, if you're blasting non-password-protected WiFi into someone's apartment, seems hard to believe that person could get prosecuted for using it.
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Franz Josef
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2005-08-09, 14:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsk173
To me, if you're blasting non-password-protected WiFi into someone's apartment, seems hard to believe that person could get prosecuted for using it.
That's the argument that's been run in court - that there was no intent to "steal" bandwidth because the WiFi hotspot invaded your home. Usually people who are prosecuted for it are doing something else illegal too.
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ast3r3x
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2005-08-09, 14:27

It's illegal to steal DirectTV, even if they are beaming that everywhere. Although maybe that is about faking their authorization.
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DMBand0026
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2005-08-10, 10:30

Huge difference IMHO.
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BenP
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2005-08-10, 13:11

I was trying to get my cousin's PC working on his wireless network and found that in his living room it defaulted to the neighbor's network because that signal was stronger than the one from my cousin's router. It would be hard to call that stealing.
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sunrain
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2005-08-10, 13:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by ast3r3x
It's illegal to steal DirectTV, even if they are beaming that everywhere. Although maybe that is about faking their authorization.
You can't just plug in a dish and turn on your TV to steal DirectTV though. It takes a concerted effort. That's not the case with unprotected wifi.

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Random Hero
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2005-08-10, 16:42

I don't think you can really "steal" bandwidth. At least not in the literal sense. Yeah sure, when you leech off someone else's internet service that you aren't compenstating them for it makes it a theft, but really you are not actually physically taking anything away from them, or depriving them of anything. Unless you are using so much bandwidth it drops their speeds down, then I guess you would be taking something away from them.

I looked it up real fast and basically the definition of stealing is "The wrongful taking of someone else's property without that person's willful consent," but I don't really think that applies to bandwidth. The way I see it is that bandwidth is like clock cycles, if you don't use them they're gone forever. You can't save up bandwidth like you save up water, or money, or whatever. If it's not used it's gone and you can't get it back, so if you're not using your connection but someone else is, your are not out anything, and since most internet plans nowadays are for unlimited bandwidth (for the most part) it's not like you're getting charged for other people's usage.

This was the original notion with SETI & Folding@Home and unused clock cycles. Although, I guess it's not a fair comparison since Standford isn't exactly walking into your house and installing F@H on your machine without your consent.

So yeah, by definition of law it is a theft, but still it's something to think about.

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Kickaha
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2005-08-10, 19:10

If I have a 1.5Mb/sec pipe, and someone is using 1/2 of it, my max speed is 1/2 of what it should be.

I have lost half my bandwidth. That's theft, plain and simple.

And yes, most of the time I'm running 80-90% of my bandwidth.

Also, on many WiFi networks, they're 802.11b/g... defaulting to b is any *one* b unit gets on. Whammo, you just lost nearly 80% of your bandwidth internally to boot. (54Mb -> 11Mb).

There's a reason my WAP is locked down tight.

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Last edited by Kickaha : 2005-08-10 at 19:17.
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Random Hero
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2005-08-10, 20:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha
There's a reason my WAP is locked down tight.


Had to
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.Hack
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2005-08-10, 20:34

Hm... after this thread I started to think about something that happened a few nights ago. I was on the internet but suddenly, the pages I tried to view were very slow to load. I never checked my settings to see if there was another wireless connection to our network, but my connection hadn't ever been so slow. Do ya'll think the reason it got so slow was because someone else was connected to our network. It's definitely not open to the public, we've got it passworded and everything.

Ya'll think someone was leeching or was it just a bad connection that night?
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alcimedes
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2005-08-10, 20:52

I go out of my way to cracked locked WAP's.
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Kickaha
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2005-08-10, 20:53

Bad connection, almost certainly.
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Brad
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2005-08-10, 20:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by .Hack
Ya'll think someone was leeching or was it just a bad connection that night?
It's probably a fluke.

While WEP is crackable, it still takes someone pretty knowledgeable to run the right kind of software (with the right kind of NIC) and patient to collect enough packets to perform a statistical analysis and actually break in. Of course, if you have a simple password, a dictionary attack would get in pretty quickly. Yes, WEP is insecure, but its vulnerability is blown way out of proportion. WEP is like a dead bolt on your front door. It's enough to keep out the passersby but not enough to keep out the determined attacker.

If you're using WPA, though, you're pretty safe as there are no known major vulnerabilities.

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Franz Josef
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2005-08-11, 01:07

If you are concerned that someone is leeching your bandwidth you can definitively lock down your wireless router so that only your Mac can access it. Each wireless device (including your Airport Extreme card) has a unique MAC (=Media Access Card) code which is practically impossible to spoof (unless of course you're the NSA).

If you use an Apple base station, go into AirPort Admin Utility and click on Access Control. Click on the plus at the right hand side and then on "This Computer" in the dialogue box. You will see a description (the name of your Mac) and AirPort ID (6, 2 digit hexidecimal numbers) - this is your MAC code and unique to you. Click OK and then update at the bottom right hand side of the pane. Your base station will now update its settings.

From now on, no other wireless device except your Mac can access your base station as the router will only accept your MAC code.
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sunrain
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2005-08-11, 01:21

Just a nitpick. I'm pretty sure that in computer networking MAC stands for Media Access Control; as in media access control address (MAC address).
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.Hack
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2005-08-11, 03:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franz Josef
If you are concerned that someone is leeching your bandwidth you can definitively lock down your wireless router so that only your Mac can access it. Each wireless device (including your Airport Extreme card) has a unique MAC (=Media Access Card) code which is practically impossible to spoof (unless of course you're the NSA).

If you use an Apple base station, go into AirPort Admin Utility and click on Access Control. Click on the plus at the right hand side and then on "This Computer" in the dialogue box. You will see a description (the name of your Mac) and AirPort ID (6, 2 digit hexidecimal numbers) - this is your MAC code and unique to you. Click OK and then update at the bottom right hand side of the pane. Your base station will now update its settings.

From now on, no other wireless device except your Mac can access your base station as the router will only accept your MAC code.
What if you don't have an AirPort Base Station?
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gjas15
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2005-08-11, 03:43

Every network interface card, whether it be wired ethernet, 802.11whatever (including base stations of any kind), or dialup modem has a unique MAC address (I'm generalizing here, I know some router allow you to change the MAC). Also, a MAC can be spoofed thats one of the big reasons WEP is so vulnerable... WPA 1+2 encrypt the MAC as well as everything else in the data packet whereas WEP leaves the MAC wide open.

Most newer wireless AP's (I have an Asus 300g) or routers have the ability to use MAC filtering. The best way I know to really lock down a network is to use WPA2 plus an access control list (MAC filter). Oh, and a really good password including upper and lowercase letters plus numbers.

Note: Most routers (even ones using the same chipset) from different brands have trouble using MAC filtering, WPA2, and WDS at the same time. It's due to the way different router software handle the MAC encryption so if you dont have an Airport base station and need WDS nine times out of ten WPA will NOT work.

Last edited by gjas15 : 2005-08-11 at 03:54.
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Franz Josef
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2005-08-11, 07:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunrain
Just a nitpick. I'm pretty sure that in computer networking MAC stands for Media Access Control; as in media access control address (MAC address).
Yeah, my typo

.Hack - Does Airport Admin utility work with your wireless router? If it doesn't ,use the app supplied to configure it; I'd have thought any decent wireless router would have the ability to restrict access to it in the same way though I've not used linksys , D-Link et al myself.
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Brad
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2005-08-11, 08:08

Linksys routers are configurable from a local web interface such as http://192.168.1.1 where you can set up MAC filtering and such. I'm not sure about other brands.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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ast3r3x
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2005-08-11, 08:33

Similar things can be done with D-Link as well.
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jsk173
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2005-08-11, 20:02

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha
If I have a 1.5Mb/sec pipe, and someone is using 1/2 of it, my max speed is 1/2 of what it should be.

I have lost half my bandwidth. That's theft, plain and simple. ...

If a person's WiFi is password-protected and someone hacks into it to use the bandwidth, then I agree that's theft. But if the network is open and available to anyone with WiFi capability, I disagree.
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Random Hero
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2005-08-11, 21:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad
While WEP is crackable, it still takes someone pretty knowledgeable to run the right kind of software (with the right kind of NIC) and patient to collect enough packets to perform a statistical analysis and actually break in. Of course, if you have a simple password, a dictionary attack would get in pretty quickly.
It's not that hard, it didn't take very long for me to do it, and while I'm not a basic user, I've since come across many straight forward step-by-step articles on how to do it with a Whoppix boot CD and an Orinoco card. The part that takes the longest is actually collecting the interesting IV packets, which will take around a day or more if the network you are trying to get onto only has 1 machine with moderate internet usage.

Once you collect enough packets it just runs a brute force against it anyways, so it doesn't matter what the password is, with enough CPU time, it will be broken.

I recommend using a higher WEP encryption rate because that will require a higher number of IV packets to be collected and will take longer to brute force, so anyone trying it might just think they're doing it wrong and give up. Also, I was unsuccessful in cracking WEP with Apple's Airport Extreme, I'm not sure if they use a different algorithm or what, however it took me no time to get the 64-bit WEP from a Linux Wireless-G access point with a fair amount of traffic on the network..

No awkward goodbyes. No 'still friends' bullshit. Just a couple of bruised titties and a failed relationship. I rule.

Last edited by Random Hero : 2005-08-11 at 22:28. Reason: creating == cracking
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Brad
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2005-08-11, 21:23

Oh, I know it's not hard. I actually wrote my own program last semester for a security class to do it.

No attacker worth two cents that's determined to get into a wireless network is going to be stopped by WEP. That's a given. WEP is way more than enough, though, to keep the causal Joe Sixpack in the next apartment from leeching your access.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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atomicbartbeans
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2005-08-11, 21:43

So Brad, is this program for OS X?
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Brad
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2005-08-11, 21:46

Well, yes and no. It's C code that is very portable, but Apple's AirPort cards do not support the monitor mode that's necessary for this kind of work. The professor himself uses a PowerBook and didn't realize this limitation until I pointed it out to him. So, he scaled back the project a bit and instead gave us a few sample streams of captured packets to work with.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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Kickaha
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2005-08-11, 23:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsk173
If a person's WiFi is password-protected and someone hacks into it to use the bandwidth, then I agree that's theft. But if the network is open and available to anyone with WiFi capability, I disagree.
By that reasoning, if you leave your front door open, while you're home, and some homeless guy wanders in and decides to watch your tv from your couch, then that's fine and legal.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
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Brad
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2005-08-11, 23:47

Another analogy (but, gawd, they're all flawed) would be if your neighbor came into your house while you're out and put a TV in your den. Can you use it? It's right there in your home; you're not actively going out to steal someone else's TV. The other person put it there and there's nothing on it that says you can't use it.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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