Even The Police Are Making A Bigger Deal Of WiFi Used In Crime
from the that's-not-the-issue dept
Earlier this week, we wrote about how the press was focusing on open WiFi used in crimes when the actual crimes had very, very little to with open WiFi. Of course, it’s not just the press — the police are doing the same thing. In an article about some guy who got caught forging prescriptions, the story notes that the guy would use open WiFi networks to download prescriptions to other drugs, which he’d later bring back to the motel he was staying at and modify. The police then say: “a warning shot for all wireless Internet users” and note that the guy “could have stolen all sorts of personal information from people, but only wanted drugs.” This implies that he was somehow actually stealing the prescriptions from the owners of the WiFi he was using. That seems unlikely. In order to do that, he’d had have to know (1) people who have open WiFi (2) who also use some sort of online prescription system that (3) is incredibly insecure and (4) be aware of the exact time when those people are accessing the online prescription system. What’s much more likely, is he simply went online and found scans of prescriptions that were freely available online. He wasn’t using the open WiFi to take any info from the access point owners, but just to get some form of internet access. It’s not a warning shot to WiFi owners at all. If he did actually take data from an online prescription system, then it’s a warning to whoever makes this incredibly insecure online prescription system. Much more likely is that it’s a situation where the police don’t seem to understand what happened.
Comments on “Even The Police Are Making A Bigger Deal Of WiFi Used In Crime”
The issue for the state is prosecutability: in other words, if someone piggybacks your open WiFi and does some blackhat/illegal stuff, it’s your IP address that’s going to be in the indictment. Yes, yes, the burden of proof is on the state, but that’s only *after* you’re in court and the newpapers.
Patrol cops have little to no idea about many of the technologies they interact with (an observation, not a condemnation). Most police cruisers (at least here in CA) have wireless network access (it’s a closed system for the computers in the cruisers), but I doubt the officers themselves understand that it’s basically the same concept.
IMHO, it’s our collective geek responsibility to instill good behavioral instincts in those people to whom we are wizards.
“IMHO, it’s our collective geek responsibility to instill good behavioral instincts in those people to whom we are wizards.”
Stated more broadly, it is our duty, as wizards, techs, users, citizens, etc. to remind all users that good citizenship is appropriate in the network world, as it is in any other situation. For example, it is not good citizenship to break into a residence. However, people who would never think of breaking into a residence think it is perfectly ok to break into a computer.
I think it is incumbent upon all of us who are perceived as geeks to impress upon users that stealing info from or breaking into a ‘puter is essentially the same as stealing physical files from or breaking into a building. It follows that there is no fundamental difference in ordering, say, porn for delivery to one’s neighbor’s US mailbox and ordering it to his network.
Somehow, we self-appointed geeks, dweebs, and hackers have not done a good job of explaing that to users.
Re: Re: WiFinicky
Ivory Bill speaketh: “It follows that there is no fundamental difference in ordering, say, porn for delivery to one’s neighbor’s US mailbox and ordering it to his network.”
Interesting analogy. I gotta ponder on that one.
Re: Re: WiFinicky
The problem is that many of them don’t have any desire to know that which you say we haven’t explained sufficiently(sp).
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
it’s too bad the cops’ point was made incorrectly (possibly for dramatic effect) — because it’s such a valid point. there are very few places i go these days where i can’t open up my computer and hop on somebody’s network. even people who should know better, and have serious security concerns.
when i first started at my new job i said i was bringing my own computer and they said, oh, you can’t do that — this is confidential information! i said, really? because anyone within about 500 feet of us with a wireless device and the cleverness to guess we call our workgroup “workgroup” could be all up in our shared documents folders (which is how they share these confidential documents). so i said, “oh, i’ll only use my computer for non-confidential stuff” and they said, “ooooh, okay”.
i’m not sure whether to make a big fuss about how stupid this is or just encrypt the network all quiet-like when no one is looking.
the bad part about being the alpha geek is that it so often translates to “bearer of really bad news” (like, “hey, guess what, your network has been having unprotected intimacy with every computer that gets near it, and it’s caught some nasty things” for instance). i hate that part.
No Subject Given
I think this is a sign that the word “internet” has become so familiar and commonplace that it doesn’t sell these stories anymore. Open access WiFi sounds much more dangerous and exciting to an average person. The police are not selling stories in a way that newspapers do, but they need to “raise the alarm” regularly to maintain their often insufficient funding. At least this is how it works in my country.
I think your all fucking stupid and tech dirt can shove this comment up there ass and shit it out tomorrow for breakfast.
Re: Nigga Puhlease
There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll just say this…
Ditto back on you. And shame on you for thinking this makes you cooler than us. I hope you are only 12 years old or something. If you’re not, I feel sad for you.
The thing that makes me leery of offering a completely open AP is that I don’t who would be using it (more importantly, what that use is) That’s different than telling a few friends and neighbors the SSID/uid/password …
The analogy is: having an open access point is like letting anyone walking by use your home phone without your knowledge. Maybe they’ll just order a prank pizza, or perhaps they’ll do something serious. It gets traced to YOU. Who do ya trust, right?
Now. when I walk downtown and use an open AP at a cafe or whatever, that’s somehow different. The business provides access as an additional service to their customers. The Wifi users going through them are more numerous and transient than someone piggybacking off of my home AP. The business INVITES people to patronize them and use their access. How many home users do that explicitly?
No Subject Given
Open AP = Terrorism = Al Quaida = Patriot Act = Gitmo = Cattle Prod = Your Ass
Turn on WEP now!
Re: No Subject Given
hey i thought i just drop you a note to let you know that i know what you are up to and all that bullshit about a young black woman being a terrorist is pure bullshit and you are trying to cover up the fact that you have aired my black ass on the internet to millions of people for profit and you are trying to cover your track i would appreciatte if you could please leave me and my fucked up family alone so i can live in peace because the only reason the tight security on the internet is to keep me from finding my own naked black ass on the internet that your nsa program has made me a vicitum to your fiendish schemes made me prey without a rightful cause. Now mr. toop official what next with your lies!!! what next!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Re: No Subject Given
hey i thought i just drop you a note to let you know that i know what you are up to and all that bullshit about a young black woman being a terrorist is pure bullshit and you are trying to cover up the fact that you have aired my black ass on the internet to millions of people for profit and you are trying to cover your track i would appreciatte if you could please leave me and my fucked up family alone so i can live in peace because the only reason the tight security on the internet is to keep me from finding my own naked black ass on the internet that your nsa program has made me a vicitum to your fiendish schemes made me prey without a rightful cause. Now mr. top official what next with your lies!!! what next!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now yo need to go to Engadget ( http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000727070936/ ) and check out the latest RFID Credit Cards. So now you can WiFi you prescriptions and RFID to pay for them, all on someone elses tab.