Once Again, Basic Detective Work Tracks Down Criminal Activity Done On Open WiFi
from the not-so-difficult dept
One of the things we hear over and over again about the evils of “open WiFi” is that it allows criminals do horrible things on a network with no way to track them down. We’ve always pointed out how ridiculous this is. Just because someone does something on a network, it doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily leave other clues that can be uncovered through basic detective work. And, time and time and time and time and time again, we see stories of basic detective work being used to catch criminals on open WiFi networks.
Here’s yet another example. In a case involving a disgruntled former IT worker logging into his former employer’s computer systems and pretty much deleting everything important (including “the company?s e-mail and BlackBerry servers, as well as its order-tracking system and financial-management software”). These sorts of things happen every so often, and the responsible party almost always gets caught.
In this case, Jason Cornish used an open WiFi network at a McDonalds to do his dirty work. But there was enough evidence to link the crime to Cornish (beyond basic motives). For example, investigators discovered that he had made a purchase of some food at that McDonalds about five minutes before the deletion began. Honestly, it looks like he wasn’t particularly careful in a variety of things that he did — but that’s kind of the point. The fear about how open WiFi will be regularly abused and there will be “no way” to track down those responsible is a huge exaggeration. Perhaps there are some users who are careful enough not to leave a trail, but those sorts of people will figure out a way to do what they want with or without open WiFi. The fear of untraceable hackers on open WiFi is way overblown.