The Myth Of The Evil Cantenna Spreads To Other Newspapers
from the make-it-stop,-please... dept
Well it only took a few days for the next “accessing open WiFi is evil” news article to show up, this time in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It’s the typical fear mongering piece that gets a bunch of the facts wrong. However, what’s extra amusing about this piece is it quotes someone who seems to have picked up on the whole illegal cantenna meme without actually understanding it. The guy in question, apparently a security consultant of some kind (who also appears to call the reporter, “Dude” in the newspaper interview, which is a bit… odd), points out how crazy wardriving is by saying: “A Pringles can and antenna can extend a WiFi signal. It’s ridiculous.” Well, first, the Pringles can/Cantenna trick isn’t for wardriving or boosting the receiving capability of your WiFi card, but for extending your own access point signal directionally. Also, why exactly is it ridiculous? A directional antenna to extend your own WiFi signal is a very practical way to help get WiFi to areas that you couldn’t reach before. Yet, in the hands of this security consultant and reporter, the situation is suddenly “ridiculous” and apparently a huge threat. According to another security researcher it’s the equivalent of “handing your keys over to a carjacker.” Um. No, it’s not. Handing over your keys to a carjacker means you lose your car. If someone uses your WiFi for a bit, you probably haven’t lost anything. And just what is that evil wardriver doing with your connection? It’s not just surfing the web and checking their email. Nope. They’re “running a credit card scam [and] maintaining an Internet pornography ring.” Honestly, it would be quite impressive if someone figured out how to “maintain an Internet pornography ring” while sitting outside someone’s house using their open WiFi. Teaching people when and how to secure their WiFi is a reasonable goal. Instead, all we seem to get are fear mongering, misleading articles. Update: It’s been pointed out that there are some cases where it is possible to use a Cantenna to extend the range on a WiFi card searching for an access point, though very few cards have the connector necessary to do so.