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  Reply # 147964 15-Jul-2008 01:40
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mushion22: As far as the law is concerned, it is illegal to intentionally access any computer system that you have not been authorised to access. Gets a bit tricky there as to whether it is 'unintentional' if your computer automatically connects, but that would come down to how YOU configured your computer to behave, and what YOUR level of understanding is (eg if you configured your computer to always connect to any available network and you understood what you were doing then it would probably be considered intentional).

Whether you could say the advertisement of the SSID of an insecure network gives authorisation... I doubt that'd hold up, in your case especially given your knowledge of how the system works. Its a little bit different to the open window case because you are broadcasting a signal that is designed to advertise and give access to your system.


This is all well and good, until you mix in free Wifi at Cafe's and Tomizone hotspots and the like, now you have networks which for all intents and purposes have a variety of names, with no security settings, all of which allow internet access, only some of them are unintentially insecured private networks, and others are freely provided public networks.


I doubt you could prove beyond reasonable doubt that I knew the difference between these two types of networks, and actually knew I was committing a crime, instead of using a freely provided service while drinking my coffee at the corner shop.


I believe in Karma, leach undo others as you want yours to be done.

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  Reply # 147972 15-Jul-2008 06:49
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I run several school networks. One in particular, near a city centre, has its SSID turned right off plus has WPA, as well it should have.

The other week, during a random check, I found that one of the 3Com APs had factory reset itself and was broadcasting "3Com" for all the neighbours to see. The school didn't notice as nearby "working" APs meant there was no hole in the wifi coverage to give away that it was malfunctioning.

I think it was only like that for a week or so, but still, it's concerning that an AP would do that.

It's physically locked away too so nobody hit the reset button. The thing borked. Needless to say it's been pulled and replaced.

I haven't seen the internet bill yet Money mouth

Hawkes Bay
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  Reply # 147980 15-Jul-2008 08:08
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interesting thread!

Good range of opinions, and still a civil conversation...

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Master Geek

  Reply # 148061 15-Jul-2008 12:54
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OK, I was wrong.

As discussed in the thread "Computer hacker walks free after multi-million dollar crime" (, it is apparantly OK to access a network belonging to someone else, even if they have security in place.

If he can get away with that, then surely no one could complain, either legally or ethically, about a bit of relatively harmless surfing via someone else's unsecured wi-fi access point.

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