Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Man Charged With Stealing Wi-Fi Signal

Filed under

Police have arrested a man for using someone else's wireless Internet network in one of the first criminal cases involving this fairly common practice.

Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony.

Police say Smith admitted using the Wi-Fi signal from the home of Richard Dinon, who had noticed Smith sitting in an SUV outside Dinon's house using a laptop computer.

The practice is so new that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn't even keep statistics, according to the St. Petersburg Times, which reported Smith's arrest this week.

Innocuous use of other people's unsecured Wi-Fi networks is common, though experts say that plenty of illegal use also goes undetected: such as people sneaking on others' networks to traffic in child pornography, steal credit card information and send death threats.

Security experts say people can prevent such access by turning on encryption or requiring passwords, but few bother or are unsure how to do so.

Wi-Fi, short for Wireless Fidelity, has enjoyed prolific growth since 2000. Millions of households have set up wireless home networks that give people like Dinon the ability to use the Web from their backyards but also reach the house next door or down the street.

It's not clear why Smith was using Dinon's network. Prosecutors declined to comment, and a working phone number could not be located for Smith.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

Linux Foundation and ONOS Partner on Open Source SDN and NFV Networks

ONOS, a carrier-grade open source software-defined networking (SDN) operating system, received a big endorsement this week from the Linux Foundation. Starting today, the two organizations will partner to develop open source SDN and NFV software. Read more Also: OPNFV Members Discuss Open Source NFV and SDN Plans, Achievements

Wayland & Weston Compositor Ported To DragonFlyBSD

Wayland has been ported to DragonFlyBSD along with its Weston compositor! In the past we've seen some minor experiments by BSD developers with Wayland/Weston, but for the most part all of the BSDs are still focused on X.Org Server support -- need I remind Phoronix readers that DRM/KMS support is in varying stages across the BSD distributions too as one of the support stepping stones. Just a few days ago I ran into the DragonFly Radeon kernel module failing to properly mode-set with a several year old (pre-GCN) graphics card while meanwhile FreeBSD's Radeon KMS port worked. It's still rather a mine field when it comes to open-source graphics acceleration and support on the BSDs while slowly but surely their catching up with the kernel code. Read more

diff -u: What's New in Kernel Development

Over time, memory can become more and more fragmented on a system, making it difficult to find contiguous blocks of RAM to satisfy ongoing allocation requests. At certain times the running system may compact regions of memory together to free up larger blocks, but Vlastimil Babka recently pointed out that this wasn't done regularly enough to avoid latency problems for code that made larger memory requests. Read more

Canonical's Ubuntu Internet Browser Silently Becomes Awesome - Video

The Ubuntu Internet browser is a little-known application that's been getting a lot of updates lately. It's developed internally by Canonical, and it seems to get better with each new edition. Read more