While many of you may see no harm in using someone else’s WiFi Internet over an unsecured network, it is in fact illegal! Even further, you could get arrested and fined for it! I’m sure you’re thinking, “but if they’re stupid enough not to secure their network, why shouldn’t I be able to use it?” I’m sure some of you have even snooped around your neighbor’s unsecured network before? You just happened to notice that their connection wasn’t secure so you decided to take a peak around?
With wireless broadband Internet a common thing these days, it’s not unusual to be able to pull up several different wireless networks from your home, depending on where you live. This is why it’s important that you first and foremost secure your own network, but secondly, realize that it’s illegal to piggy-back off of your neighbor to get free Internet.
How’d you like to get arrested for stealing Wi-Fi? As odd as that sounds, it happens. One perfect example of this came out of St. Petersburg Florida in July of 2005. A man was arrested on charges of “unauthorized access to a computer network,” which is a third-degree felony. This guy actually made the act obvious though, after he pulled his SUV into a stranger’s driveway and sat there with his laptop visible. The homeowner noticed this and called the police.
If you’re in dire need of a connection, it’s not that difficult to find a legal, free alternative. Many restaurants, coffee shops, and cafe’s offer a free connection. Instead of “borrowing” from the nearest home with a WiFi connection, or your neighbor, just head on over to your local Panera Bread or even McDonald’s to get your connection. There’s no need to break the law! Oh, and did I mention to secure your own network?