Prosecuting WiFi Hackers

This article from the St. Petersburg Times talks about a man who was arrested for “hacking” into a wireless network in a residential area near Tampa Bay, and how it is increasingly becoming a problem nationwide.

The technology has made life easier for high-tech criminals because it provides near anonymity. Each online connection generates an Internet Protocol Address, a unique set of numbers that can be traced back to a house or business.

That’s still the case with Wi-Fi but if a criminal taps into a network, his actions would lead to the owner of that network. By the time authorities show up to investigate, the hacker would be gone.

It may require further research on my part, but I have always been sort of hazy on exactly what the laws are when it comes to “borrowing” WiFi. The main consensus that I have found is that if an access point is left un-secured, and there is no malicious intent (just checking your e-mail, not theirs), then there is usually no grounds for prosecution. On the other hand, I have yet to see a WiFi router that is not wide-open out of the box.

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