Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, March 04, 2021

As more people set up wireless access points for their Internet connections, they’re finding more of their nearby neighbors piggybacking onto the signal and often slowing down broadband speeds to a crawl.

Humphrey Cheung, the editor of a technology Web site, tomshardware.com, measured how plentiful open wireless networks have become. In April 2004, he and some colleagues flew two single-engine airplanes over metropolitan Los Angeles with two wireless laptops.

The project logged more than 4,500 wireless networks, with only about 30 percent of them encrypted to lock out outsiders, Mr. Cheung said.

Aside from the increasingly commonplace nature of it, there’s not an awful lot new here. I’m surprised, though, that the landmark case this past summer of a man in St. Petersburg, Florida being arrested and convicted of stealing a wi-fi signal wasn’t mentioned. If someone’s really experiencing some hassles from multiple freeloaders, and turning on the encryption isn’t feasible, there is the option of calling in the cops.

Not to be an apologist for endusers who don’t bother to set up equipment properly, but it’s not as easy to enable WEP or other encryption as this report makes it sound. The equipment I’m using, for instance, is ridiculously hard to synch between access point and computer. After struggling with it on two separate long-ago afternoons, I gave up. Now, I’m just taking my chances that no one is close enough to scrounge off my signal — and if they are, they’re not doing anything more malicious than porn-surfing.

In this article, Symantec makes noises about offering some sort of lock-out utility, aside from WEP. It might be worth looking into. In fact, any third-party application (preferably freeware) might be an end-around option over a native but bulky access-point feature.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sat 03/04/2021 04:08:50 PM
Category: Wi-Fi, Society | Permalink |

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  1. Not hard to set up. I just got wireless and made the system restricted. It’s only a matter of logging on to your router and changing the setting.

    Comment by Hank — 03/04/2021 @ 11:14:00 PM

  2. Depends on which brand you buy. Some make it harder than it needs to be. Granted, in the past year more access points have been coming out with streamlined encryption settings. But if it were that easy, then those thousand of unprotected connections around the country wouldn’t exist.

    Comment by CT — 03/05/2021 @ 09:34:11 AM

  3. yes, it was a common problem initially and as u write, it still exists. People need to be aware that they should lock the connection. But many of them are not aware of this technical stuff. Forget about anyone, even one of my techie friend was not aware of it. These things are not to take casually.

    Comment by The Guru — 03/05/2021 @ 10:46:07 AM

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