Cringely Borrows “A Cup of Bandwidth”

April 18, 2005

Networking, Technology

Robert Cringely is always fun to read. He does stuff that we all have done – or wish we had the nerve to do. In his April 14th article, he writes how he has “borrowed” bandwidth from his neighbors (details can be found here). A summary of his efforts is as follows:

  1. He helped his neighbors set up their wireless routers (WRT54G, of course).
  2. He informed them (during installation) that he would keep a “back door” avaialble – just in case they needed support.
  3. He exploited that back door to do some experimentation
  4. The experimentation is nothing exceptional. He put some antennas on his home and he connected to his neighbors routers. He used Vicomsoft’s Internet Gateway as a management tool and Sveasoft as the router software. Note: It’s not clear if he put Sveasoft on the neighbors router originally. If he did, I wonder whether or not he complied with Sveasoft’s licensing terms and conditions! 😉

All Bob’s efforts at authorized bandwidth theft aside, I wonder how many folks truly realize how insecure their wireless home networks truly are. I have written and delivered a number of presentations on the subject. Nevertheless, I am still amazed at how many people have wide-open access to systems that store their financial and personal information.

If you have a wireless network at home, please take extra steps to secure your systems. If you need help, drop me a note or check out the following sites:

  • Microsoft has some good articles that offer hints.
  • PC Mag has a bunch of articles. Here is a good start.
  • Check out Practically Networked guide on the subject.
  • Check out About.com’s guide. I used parts of this guide for a recent KCCMG presentation. It is simple and executable for most computer-literate folks.

-CyclingRoo-

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