Saturday, June 21, 2008

A review on a post on Internet Security from My E-Commerce blog

'Blinkered by the convenience and allure of free Internet?'

When I was reading the post about the unauthorized tapping into home WIFI (wireless technology) dated Feb 15, somehow it caught my attention regarding this issue that actually happened in Singapore. The post didn’t have details on the issue so I have done a little bit of research on the net myself^^. And here are the details:

According to The Straits Times, 17 year-old polytechnic students, Garyl Tan Jia Luo is to be charged with piggybacking someone’s wireless internet connection using his own laptop. The court says if convicted, Tan faces up to 3 years in jail and fines of up to $10000 under Section 6(1)(a) of the Computer Misuse Act and Tan was released on $6,000 bail and is scheduled to appear at the Subordinate Courts.

Piggybacking on others wireless internet connection is a crime?? Wow, sorry for my ignorance that I do not know by simply connecting to the unsecured network will bear the possibility of paying such a high price. Honestly I have done that a couple of times before but now not anymore since I already have my own wireless connection at home. What’s the point of ‘stealing’ other people’s internet networks since I can enjoy a more secured and stable connection? (you get the point here ya, hehe). In the online world, there are special terms for tapping into unauthorized home WIFI, like 'wardriving' and 'Wi-Fi mooching'.

Well nowadays, piggybacking is a very common thing that happens around us and since just anyone can have access to the unsecured networks and hop online with just a few clicks, there is no false that everybody will assume that since it is there, it is okay to use it. To me, it is FOC and convenient, so it explains well why I did that before ><. Now that I know it is illegal to do so, surely I do not want to have policeman knocking on my door steps right away, do I?

Since that it is easy to tap into unauthorized home WIFI, the wrong doers may just do something illegal like defaming someone or downloading pirated MP3s, and they don't want the activities traced back to their own network. In fact, it is not easy for the WIFI owner to detect if there any moochers tapping into their network. But when someone is using your network, you can feel the connection speed will slow down. Therefore, software tools are available for download that can track who is using a network and what they are doing on it.

While the case is the first of its kind in Singapore, there have been at least two similar arrests and convictions in the United States. In some countries like Holland, WIFI network owners can even be held liable by the courts for crimes committed on their unprotected networks. In my opinion, WIFI owners should be smarter and cautious about their own networks. It is their responsibility to safeguard their WIFI networks to avoid serious offence. Garyl shouldn’t be so heavily punish since the owner itself didn’t secured its own network and it is not wrong if someone just access into it.

The simplest way of preventing moochers is to set up your own password on the internet connection.I wonder, is Malaysia enforcing the law yet? Since mooching is the virtual equivalent of trespassing. It should be enforced as soon as possible as cyber crime is gradually increasing in Malaysia as well.

If you are interested of how to secure your wireless network, please visit the following link:


  1. electronic signature said...

    Many people don't know that do not know by simply connecting to the unsecured network will bear the possibility of paying such a high price.Whenever anyone restrict them verbally they say its responsibility of owner to make their connections secure.