Moral discusions on using foreign WiFis

By | 2008-10-28

A friend of mine moved to a new house recently and wanted an Internet connection. He realized there were lots of WiFi nets around his house, so he asked me about a system to discover WiFi passwords. I told him I read somewhere about statistical attacks, and after some googling I find the tool suite “Aircrack”. He thanked me and in 1 hour of sniffing and some seconds trying passwords, his machine answer with a valid password. So now he is using a neighbour cracked WiFi, but “only for email and web-surfing… nothing about P2P”. Is that a crime?

Quite interesting thing to discuss. I commented it to some friends and there are some moral “differences” most people agree:

– If the WiFi is open, most people don’t think it’s a bad thing to connect his laptop (for awhile), but if you crack a WiFi password, you are a ganster at least. Actually in both ways you are stealing bandwidth to an inexpert neighbour. However everybody I know has used sometimes open WiFis… so, is cracking the “bad thing”? Both ways you are stealing his car, it doesn’t matter if he left the door open or if you used a master key. Curiously in Spanish Law there is a difference.

– If you use that cracked WiFi connection just for email, it’s fine. If you use to download porn, it’s a savage action. Does the content of the information moved make the difference? If you steal the car for going to the office is not as bad as stealing for going to kill somebody… really?

4 thoughts on “Moral discusions on using foreign WiFis

  1. Bertu

    First, in Spain if someone leaves his car open with the keys on and when he comes back he doesn’t find his car, it is not a “robo”, it is a “hurto”, and the penalty for whoever did it it softer.

    Second, do you know if setting up a “white list” of MAC addresses in the router would help you get a secure wifi? Is there any way to break it?

  2. Julio Post author

    1st. I already know this difference in Spanish law. But the thing is that, this way, most of us can be accused of WiFi “hurto”, cause we have use at least one time an open foreign WiFi.

    2nd. Creating a “white list” of MACs helps, because it’s quite complicated to change a MAC, but it can be done. So, adding layers of security is always good. But it’s like bike locks, you know they can still steal your bike, but it takes more time to do so.

  3. Ari

    I think you are stolen the innocent, ignorant and “buen samaritano” neighbour in any way. Perhaps if you use for a moment, something really puntual, a open network, it can be assumed like a “trastada” with “cara de niño que no ha roto un plato en su vida”. But in any case you are using something that the other person is paying for, and you not.
    And of course, with cracking the password you are really doing something illegal, “immoral” and “te debería dar vergüenza”. Which means that we are humans, and “porqué pagar si lo tengo gratis?”

  4. Rubén

    I have my wifi closed, but if someone breaks my password (which, in fact I don’t even clearly remember :/ I won’t really mind… if it is just mail, web and no more. A few kb more I won’t notice. But if I see some 200kb flow, well… I’ll kill the switch and there you go.

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