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Windows 7: Unsecured networks...for free wifi, safety issues.


19 Mar 2014   #1

 
Unsecured networks...for free wifi, safety issues.

I fell asleep while online using an unsecured network of unknown owner. I realized I was connected to a public wifi network for several hours.(which I had set up as "Public Network" and had Network discovery "Off" and files/printer sharing also "Off").

I feel I was freeloading with (?) impunity. My guilt was partly because my own network is secured ...and actually , am not sure why I protected it with such elaborate password.

Any possible ulterior motives by owners of these unsecured networks to let their property used by total strangers? I wonder about my own safety with this prolonged free internet connection. Is it even legal?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Mar 2014   #2

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pappi View Post
I fell asleep while online using an unsecured network of unknown owner. I realized I was connected to a public wifi network for several hours.(which I had set up as "Public Network" and had Network discovery "Off" and files/printer sharing also "Off").

I feel I was freeloading with (?) impunity. My guilt was partly because my own network is secured ...and actually , am not sure why I protected it with such elaborate password.

Any possible ulterior motives by owners of these unsecured networks to let their property used by total strangers? I wonder about my own safety with this prolonged free internet connection. Is it even legal?
The question of legality is best answered in a forum filled with lawyers - even then, you might not get a solid answer.

Sure, some people open a wireless access point so that they can capture all/some of the internet traffic flowing thru it. The odds of you encountering such a person seems pretty small. It is a lot of work for very little return. Most likely, the person had the access point unsecured out of ignorance or altruism.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2014   #3

 

"Most likely, the person had the access point unsecured out of ignorance or altruism."

My initial thought was ignorance in which case owner is unlikely to be sinister. But what if it's out of neither ignorance nor altruism. What harm can a maleficent, say techno-wiz owner inflict on freeloading surfers?

And if I decide to be altruistic and change my network to unsecured free-accessible setting, what risks am I vulnerable to? Because I figure if a freeloader uses my network for illegal computing, say ...like hacking, isn't his activity traceable to my network?...and therefore I can be held accountable?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Mar 2014   #4

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

"Black hats" use exploits that are (for the most part) unknown to others outside of their "community". I'm not sure that you will find anyone in this forum that can give you a list of the things that could have been done while you were connected or could be done if you open up your access point to others.

Wi-Fi altruism is usually against your ISP's terms of service. Visitors could easily download the types of files that can your account terminated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2014   #5

 

Thanks for mentioning "Black Hats" which sent me to Google(actually Bing) and glad I am thus now aware of 'em. (learn something new everyday). So it seems between Black, Blue, Red and Gray Hats out there, there is indeed, some degree of risks involved in free access point ("hot spot") surfing...both ways. I'll take the risks when outdoor with hopefully an altruistic or ignorant owner.

But I don't want to be in trouble with my ISP company. I will remain a secured network. Thanks!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Unsecured networks...for free wifi, safety issues.




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