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Monday
Jul022012

Lock Your WiFi

Imagine you are sitting in your home on a warm summer evening. The next thing you know, two flash-bang stun grenades fly through your front window. SWAT team members race in with automatic weapons drawn, force you to the ground and restrain you with handcuffs.

This happened last week to an 18-year-old girl watching Food Network at her grandparents’ home in Evansville, Indiana. The crime, her grandparents did not secure the WiFi router at their home with a password.

An anonymous Internet user posted personal information about local police officers and threatened violent attacks against the officers at their homes. The postings were found to have originated from the grandparents’ Internet account.

It was not anyone in the grandparents’ home, however, that posted the threats. Instead, it came from outside their home using their unsecured WiFi signal. 

Evansville SWAT team raids wrong house in Internet threat case

You may have seen similar stories where crimes are committed using open WiFi networks. Perverts can drive down your street looking for a WiFi signal without password protection so they can download child pornography without risk. Their equipment can be as simple as a smart phone. If your WiFi is unlocked, you could be accused of downloading child pornography.

Open WiFi networks can also be used to access your computers and obtain personal and financial information. Your passwords, emails, instant messages, web browsing history and other information can be open to any unscrupulous person that wants a peek. Even Google has been snooping on open WiFi accounts as they send vehicles down business and residential streets to take photos for their Google Maps Street View.

Google Street View's Wi-Fi Snooping Engineer is Outed | PCWorld

Protect your personal information and don’t allow your home to be a gateway for criminal activity. Lock your WiFi network with a password (use a strong, non-obvious password). This could prevent you from needing to hire lawyers if your identity is stolen, your financial accounts are hacked or you are accused of a crime as a result of an unlocked WiFi network.

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