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Sneaking onto random wireless networks

How dangerous is it? newbie here

     
12:57 am on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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i just got a centrino computer. now i roll around with it and log into random wireless networks when i can.

how dangerous is this? sometimes when i shut down it says computers are connected to mine.

what's the deal?

thanks...

8:33 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'll bet you won't get a lot of response to your thread here. What you are doing is called WarDriving.

You need to be careful. If someone finds you on their network, they can do some bad things to you.

There are plenty of other sites on the net that talk about WarDriving, I'd suggest you go there to find some more info.

8:43 pm on May 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Many wireless networks are unsecure. So, if you are sitting at the local coffee shop surfing the net using their unsecure wireless connection, your data is wide open to others on that same network. Be careful! Don't do anything that requires a username and password.

I was sitting down by the pool the other day plugged into my wireless network. I decided to view all networks within my range. Whew, talk about a mess. There were over 50 unsecured wireless networks in my range. Many of those are people who purchased a wireless router and haven't secured it. They just plugged it in right out of the box. Yikes!

Xoc

6:53 pm on May 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Technologically, you should be okay if (and only if) you use a firewall such as ZoneAlarm, don't leave the firewall open for any ports or program that can cause problems (such as an SMTP server), only give private (e.g. passwords) information when you are connected to SSL sites (the browser says "https" in front of the url), and don't be obnoxious (hog all the bandwidth).

It is possibly illegal to use someone else's wireless bandwidth, but that is still unclear.

10:55 am on May 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If one connects to a VPN when at an Internet cafe is that safe and does it imprive the overall security? (like for using passwords over non-encrypted protocols, etc)
2:49 pm on June 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I was using my encrypted wifi network at home for 2 months without problems.

Then all of a sudden 2 days of trouble - dropped connections, AIM logging out, slowness etc. After 2 days I realised I was connecting throught a neighbours network and not mine :-(

Simple fix move my connection up the list of prefered networks, trouble free internet again.

2:52 pm on June 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What you are doing is called WarDriving.

Actually what he is doing is not called war driving. War driving is the act of locating access points without connecting to them. War Driving is completely legal. Connecting to someone elses access point on purpose to use their network without permission is illegal.

10:37 am on July 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Interesting piece on this in the St Petersburg Times:-

[sptimes.com...]

A man got arrested for logging onto someone elses (unsecured) access point.

What's also interesting is this concept of "evil twin" attack which I hadn't come across before reading the SP Times article:-

A more recent threat to emerge is the "evil twin" attack. A person with a wireless-equipped laptop can show up at, say, a coffee shop or airport and overpower the local Wi-Fi hotspot. The person then eavesdrops on unsuspecting computer users who connect to the bogus network.

Also:-

Not all encryption is rock solid, either. One of the most common methods called WEP, or Wired Equivalent Privacy, is better than nothing but still can be cracked using a program available on the Web.

If that is the case, what should we all be using?

TJ

10:50 am on July 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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card MAC addresses, TJ.
10:55 am on July 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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card MAC addresses, TJ.

Thanks - good point. I guess that's as secure as you can possibly get.

Is it a good idea to use both MAC addresses and WEP?

TJ