Open Wireless Networks 'Invitation to Trouble'

But others think it's the 'neighborly thing to do'
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2008 2:10 AM CDT
Computer users should think more about the implications of leaving a wireless network open, say experts.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Failing to protect personal wireless service with a tough password and encryption can open the door to disaster. That's the warning from "wardriver" security gurus who cruise the streets looking for unguarded service to highlight the problem, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Wardriving was also used by an international ring of hackers recently busted for snatching 40 million credit card numbers from poorly safeguarded wireless networks operated by retailers.

"Once you buy a tool, you need to learn how to use it correctly," said one security expert, who recommended people use extremely complicated multi-figure passwords to safeguard their wireless service. But many users still believe leaving a wireless service open for others to use is the "nice neighborly thing to do," said the director of the Law and Technology Center at UC Berkeley. "Everyone gets more access to information."