Would you use a neighbour's broadband?

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


  • W_s_nW_s_n Forumite
    118 Posts
    I would not do it. Period
    I moved here from Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) in 1980. I went to Borrowdale Primary School.
  • SillychuckieSillychuckie Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker

    This activity is illegal. People have been arrested for it previously and todays Metro reported on one such incident. This particular case saw a man arrested for dishonestly obtaining electronic communications services with intent to avoid payment. Also reported inthe times, see here:

    I find it madness that you offer a poll of this nature, reducing this issues raised by this activity to one of only 'moral' consequence. It is tantamount to theft.

    What will be your next weeks poll in your email sent to millions?
    "You want to save some money and avoid getting the bus, and you see a vulnerable lady leave her car door open with the engine running.
    Do you:
    a) Knock her over the head and steal her car
    b) Force her to drive you home by threatening her children
    c) Log on to moneysavingexpert.com and ask Martin, who seems all too familiar with criminal activity and could give you further ideas in next weeks poll".

    Not one of your finer money tips email... but please do keep them coming.
  • hirudohirudo Forumite
    3 Posts
    I suspect that the reason the law has become involved has little to do with bandwidth theft being illegal.
    There are a number of other reasons why the police might worry about not being able to trace a user on an account.
    If they were to set up an operation for example where they monitor users on an illegal website.
    In that case tracing a users ip would lead them to the owners of that wireless connection who might be totally innocent if someone else had been piggybacking off them.
    A good reason to ensure that your wireless connection is secure.

    Food for thought?
  • This topic seems to be sided towards the owner of the unsecured wireless network being the victim of theft etc. This is not always the case as the people using the network can become the hunted.

    Using freely available network traffic capturing programs, information that is being sent by these users can be recorded and viewed. Its suprising to most that using these programs so much information can be picked out because it is sent in normal text.

    For example your email user name and password can be easily be found. Once thats been found one could read your emails looking for other details to would help in identity theft.

    Your computer may depending on its setting be open to direct hacking attacks.

    I work in the IT industry and as part of my studies as a professional I have set up one of these unsecured routers that looks at the traffic. Its called a honeypot

    Seach the net for "Evil Twin Wirless networks" and "honeypot" for more information

    Beaware using another network that you know nothing about you can leave yourself wide open to attacks.

    Some other interesting things

    MAC address filtering is only a casual security measure it is easily bypassed
    WEP security is broken and only provides casual security ITS NOT SECURE
  • modecamodeca Forumite
    16 Posts
    I think there's alot of confusion and misinformation about this topic.

    I am a big believer in Wi-Fi being FREE in the right circumstances. You can find this in many Wi-Fi cafes, libraries etc etc. In addition companies such as Fon provide services whereby users can legitimately share their broadband connection to the outside world in return for payment or a subscription to their worldwide network.

    The ethics surrounding (ab)using your neighbours broadband are very clear. Unless you have a prior arrangement with your neighbour - don't do it! Here's why:
    • it could potentially leave you with a criminal record
    • they paid for it, not you
    • it's highly likely that they could be on a capped tariff, meaning you are eating into their monthly limit
    • if you can afford a laptop or wireless device, then there's no excuse for you not to pay for your own connection

    I'm sure many people buy wireless equipment off the shelves and when they find out it works fine in an unsecured mode, carry on using it that way. You may see it as being their fault and a right to help yourself to bandwidth, but not everyone is a techie and knows about WEP WPA etc.

    A final note, if you do come across an unsecured network and know who it belongs to, do a good deed and let the person know. A while ago I had an 'open' network which was compromised and turned into a spam relay. This led my ISP to contact me and warn me not to send any more offending emails from my connection. It took months to prove it wasn't me and my ISP still blocked me from using Port 25 (email).

    I totally agree that this should not be a money saving discussion topic. It's illegal, not very nice and all round bad karma.
    No Unapproved or Personal links in signatures please - FT3
  • What is this marketing rubbish that people have got into their heads? I leave my connection open for anybody to freely access if they want, because if I'm not using my bandwidth then it's gone forever which is a waste, especially if someone nearby needs it . It is relatively straightforward to route through a computer to limit each connected computer's bandwidth to maximise your own and give others whatever is left.

    If you have an "unlimited" connection (once again marketing speak which means "we won't tell you what your cap is, but we probably won't charge you for using it too much, just throttle the speed down after a certain amount per month") then there should be no problem, and if you have an explicitly capped connection then you probably don't use the Internet for much heavy duty haulage anyway and so could offer at least a trickle of bandwidth to the outside world with a self-imposed cap to prevent going over (I download many GBs of software per month, and could not get by on a charge-if-cap-exceeded account)

    I suppose people will be laughing at me for this 'crazy' attitude (my connection's ID is "FeelFreeToConnect"), and I suppose they'd also be cracking up at me donating my spare computer processing power to the projects at https://www.worldcommunitygrid.org as well. Jeez, it's not like it is storage space, which can be used any time (although I also make a few GB of my harddrive available for the FreeNet project), if you don't use it for something then it will never be used.

    Any notion of a machine getting "hacked" (technically 'cracked' is more correct) goes out of the window if a decent, secure computer system is used, but I suppose those people who buy into the illusion that only large corporations are capable of running any kind of Internet/phone/etc. network (I'm sure the people in Dinnington would disagree) would also believe that computer systems can only be made by large corporations too. Oh well, if you prefer a world where everybody is paying ridiculous fees to unneccessary businesses for the same thing because they are all stopping each other from using it, AND THINK THAT IS BETTER FOR THEM then carry on just as you are. Your PC-replacing appliances will be just around the corner.
  • alangentalangent Forumite
    19 Posts
    This poll misses one obvious flaw; if you don't have wireless, you CAN'T access someones elses as its not looking for a connection. Your laptop has to be wireless enabled to do so. (And if it is, why haven't you got it?) I regularly "See" 4 connections when I log on wirelessly, but in at least 2 cases, the signal is so weak, it wouldn't be worth it. There is a difference between money saving though and d*c**t!
  • yes we are both on wireless connections and it's a telewest contract. thanks, thats put my mind at rest a wee bit but think I'll do some research and try to figure out how to put some security in
  • alhalalhal Forumite
    6 Posts
    Be very wary :exclamati

    BBC Midlands Today ran an item on Tuesday 17 April 2007 about the local police who have charged a number people with using other peoples' wireless links.

    One of their arguments seems to be based on the fact that you can push the owners over their usage limit which would then either involve them in an extra charge or prevent them from using their connection for the remainder of the month.


  • jinky67 wrote: »
    This happened to us.The way I see it if you cant protect your computer tough luck to you.They have now sorted it

    That mean if I am smart enough to bypass your PC's security it's tough luck on you since you were too stupid to protect it enough?

    If your door isn't locked, is it fine for me to walk in your house, make myself a cup of tea, and once I've had my tea walk out with your tv?
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