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Those Evil, Nefarious Wardrivers
Using an open hotspot? Must be up to no good....
by Karl Bode 11:56AM Monday Jul 04 2005
According to this St. Petersburg Times article, a Tampa man in April was arrested for "unauthorized access to a computer network", a third-degree felony, after he was caught using someone's Wi-Fi from a parked car in the street. Only after ample discussion of pornography, death threats, spam and crime does the article mention that not every "War Driver" has sinister intentions. It shares this tone of this Indianapolis news story from February, where Wardrivers are described as "roving cyber thieves".

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Karl Bode
News Guy

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reply to oliphant

Re: Deserved arrest

I think it's wrong if he accesses the person's PC, causes damage, throttles connections, engages in criminal activity etc.

Do I think it wrong if someone drives by a neighborhood, and uses a totally unprotected hotspot to send e-mail? Check stock quotes? Surf? No. Nobody is harmed.

Don't want that? Secure your hotspot.

The idea we'd start prosecuting such cases is utterly idiotic.

Premium,ExMod 1 BC

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Bad Reporting Again

The Indianopolis article first says that the guy "hacked into" the network, then later the operator of the network admits he knows how to secure a wireless LAN but just never did "because the neighbors are older".

UBER-stupidity in action. And as an "older" person, I resent the idea that older means technically inept.

I see no expectation of privacy on the part of the LAN operator - he knows how to secure a network (or so he says) and intentionally elected not to. This isn't a case of someone leaving a door unlocked and someone walking in, this is a case of someone leaving a door open and putting up a WELCOME ONE AND ALL mat in front of it.

I agree that using a private LAN 'illegally' is morally (and in some cases legally) wrong, but when the operator is that stupid in his setup of the LAN and admits he intentionally left it open for anyone to use, then there should not even be any thought of prosecution.
then think again!