Would you use a neighbour's broadband?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Money Saving Polls
85 replies 14.2K views


  • buses7675buses7675 Forumite
    837 Posts

    Hi All,

    I agree that you should hide SSID and use MAC filtering (I do, but this PC is wired into our router anyway, wireless is only used by the laptop), but surely its best to use a password as well, because if someone finds out one of the MAC addresses that you allow to connect, it is possible to change the MAC address of another PCs wireless card to match that. Quite how they'd find out is another matter though to be fair!


    completed Uni in 2004 without any student debt - woohoo!
  • IdiophreakIdiophreak Forumite
    12K Posts
    That's not really a very fair comparison, it doesn't cost them anything extra for you to share their connection, it will reduce their bandwidth a little but unless both of you happen to be downloading or uploading at the same time the difference will probably be negligible.

    Actually, I think it's quite a fair comparison.

    You can't know that it doesn't cost them anything. If someone's got a 1gb limit on their account and you download a couple of films per month, they could end up being charged extra or having their broadband cut off. Nice.

    Also...so what if it doesn't cost them anything? You leave the keys in your ignition, someone takes the car for a spin, fills it up with petrol on the way back...you haven't lost anything....would you be happy about it?

    My fave comparison is:

    Your neighbour's left their front door unlocked - are you free to steal anything you like from inside?

    Personally, I'd like to be able to have my connection unsecured. I like the idea that friends and family can visit, find the right router and connect, no prattling around.

    Sadly, however, there are so many people out there happy to take the pee, I can't do this.
  • bazzaisbazzais Forumite
    90 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I cant believe that so many people think that its ok to use a wireless connection thats not theirs and would continue to do so even when they are aware of the repercutions. Astounding!

    I think the best analogy has got to be the previously said - 'would you take your neighbours car for a spin if they left the keys in it'.

    I would never consider using a connection thats not mine, just as I would not like anybody to use my connection without authorisation.
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  • I dare say most people if being honest would use others wifi broadband connections if they needed access. And yet a lot of people are failing to set up the security for their networks to stop others from using it.

    We are not just looking at the Admin password for the router but all the key stuff like the SSID, WEP or WPA Encryption and if your sensible enough creating a permitted MAC. This will ensure only people you want to use your network do so. On top of this set up time restraints if you don’t want to turn the router ‘off’ (be green save money and electric switch the equipment off when not needed) just create a block for the wifi connections eg through the night. These are all options that are available on most wifi routers and described in the manuals, it not that difficult to set all this up.

    Another thing of importance is configuring your router so the settings can only be changed over a direct cable connection and NOT wifi. If you can change it over wifi so can someone else.

    A most important point to remember is if someone uses your network connection to the Internet for an illegal activity and it is traced, it is YOU that will have to prove who it was! And for additional inconvenience, the police would remove all the PCs and Data storage from your house as evidence. This is as the last fixed traceable point will be your routers IP address and MAC address and you ISP details on the line side of you router, which is alas registered in your name!

    And to think I haven’t mentioned the possibility of ID, information theft from your PC’s if the network is insecure.

    Now go find the manuals for the router and get it set up securely should only take you 30mins to do for a peace of mind and security.

    As a last tip.. Remember Bluetooth connections are just as in secure alot of the time I have fould a few mobiles, PDAs etc to connect to with my laptop in the past that I could have made connections to or through!

    Networks are only as secure as you make them. ;);)
  • rjcb23rjcb23 Forumite
    77 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    With regard to the BBC article (see link above) - these people sat in cars with laptops are out to gain financially from other people leaving their connection unsecured.

    They can press a few buttons, twiddle a few knobs and eventually if pushed, can "see" all the traffic to and from the other people using the connection.

    In other words, you could be going on websites and these people could be recording every bit of data that goes through the connection (ie possibly stealing password on unsecured websites etc)

    So, conversely, not only is using someone else's connection morally wrong and legally wrong, you are also opening yourself up to being hacked as you don;t know that they have left it open/unsecured with the full intent on "watching your every move"

    Be careful out there - don't have nightmares!!

    S: Dini? Ciai? Cificae?
    NS: Wiui? Iiwi? Cificae?

  • With the increasing popularity of Wi-Fi hotspots and online shopping, fraudsters have started using a new trick to prey on the less vigilant. They log on to a wi-fi network and then set up their own wi-fi network with a very similar name so the average user will not notice. Once the unsuspecting user is connected to the phony network, every keystroke is recorded. All the fraudster needs is one person to enter their credit card details and they can then spend the day shopping. It is very hard then for the victim to prove they did not spend the money.
    There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who get binary and those who don't.
  • pezza88pezza88 Forumite
    28 Posts
    When my wireless crashes and I can't be bothered to sort it out, then I often check to see if an unsecured connection is available.

    I would feel that it was immoral if I didn't have my own, and I would NEVER use it to hide my identity or download large files that might affect any limits they might have.

    Most people have (effectively) unlimited downloads if they are using wireless, and if they can't be bothered to secure the network, it doesn't bother me; they don't know so it doesn't bother them either: no probs :rotfl: .

    P.S. My connection is definitely secured ;)
    P.P.S I don't even know whose connection it is ;)
  • anteateranteater Forumite
    31 Posts
    My fave comparison is:
    Your neighbour's left their front door unlocked - are you free to steal anything you like from inside?

    The way I saw it was: no I woudn't help myself to their posessions, but I wouldn't see anything wrong with warming myself from the heat that escaped the house, or using their light to read by (as long as I don't have to stand on their property to do so).

    So, until I saw all the debate about this, I really didn't see much wrong with it. Mind you, I was only thinking from the perspective of using email and a bit of quick surfing - not using up loads of their bandwidth to download movies and other stuff. I took us 4 weeks to get broadband set up when we moved house a few months ago (why, why, why???), so no I didn't see anything wrong with quickly using unsecured wifi. But I didn't realise it was illegal! I'd heard of hotspots that you can use and I'd assumed all unsecured wifi were hotspots. I'm a bit of a stickler for rules, so I guess I'll have to reassess my thoughts on this, but I do think this issue highlights the need for poeple's set ups to automatically secure their wifi connection; then if they want to open it up to others, they can, but thay have to actively set out to do that.
  • harryhoundharryhound Forumite
    2.7K Posts
    So if you saw a car unlocked with the keys in the ignition you'd take it for a spin would you?

    This crime is a special one called TWOCing.

    Boat owners had a similar problem in that the common law recognised,
    1. A need to use someon else's kit.
    2. An element of agent provocateur.

    Would the car owner's insurance pay out ?

    That said I would be very annoyed if the poacher took me over my monthly limit.

  • harryhoundharryhound Forumite
    2.7K Posts
    That's not really a very fair comparison, it doesn't cost them anything extra for you to share their connection, it will reduce their bandwidth a little but unless both of you happen to be downloading or uploading at the same time the difference will probably be negligible. I know a few people that have been known to "borrow" broadband for their wireless laptop, but in each case it's businesses that have left their bandwidth unprotectedBecause from Sky or Orange it's NOT free for a lot of people, unless you happen to be spending quite a lot per month with them for other thingsWell good luck with that, I don't think it's either (if you're just borrowing their bandwidth), and it would also be quite hard to prove I would have thought...

    Over on the credit card fraud thread, you will discover that the Government has decided that having less than 2,000 GBP taken out of you card does not count. You are on your own to argue it with your bank, don't expect to be given a crime number. It has become so common that it was messing up the "tough on crime" figures. So the banks invented pin numbers to "prove" it was not their problem either. Expect to be issued with your own home pin machine soon.
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