Using Your Neighbor's Bandwidth

Posted on August 10, 2005

Should you be a cheapskate and piggy-back on your neighbor's broadband connection by secretly connecting to their wireless network? A CNN Money article says that a Jupiter Research study found that 14 percent of wireless network owners have accessed their neighbor's connection. The article says the legal issue of tapping into your neighbor's wireless network is a gray-area but if you are having to hack their password it is clearly illegal. But another reason not to do it is that it might be a trap or you might inadvertently give your neighbor access to your computer.
There is also the possibility that someone could have set up the unsecured connection as a trap. Experts say it's possible for the network subscriber to gain at least partial access to your computer, read your e-mails and see the pages you visit if you are using their connection. Any personal information you send online could then be compromised.

So while pirating your neighbor's Wi-Fi it may seem like a good way to siphon a free service, you may end up feeling pretty stupid if you get a summons for sneaking a peek at the latest sports scores or your favorite Web sites are the topic of conversation at the neighborhood Christmas party.