I have written many times about why it’s so important to protect your family’s WiFi network by enabling encryption on it and locking it down with a strong password.
Well, this old, but still relevant news story is a real-world example of why locking your WiFi network down is so important. I ran across it while doing some research for a related blog post and thought I’d share it with you.
A man in Camden, New Jersey piggybacked onto his neighbors’ unprotected, open WiFi network and used it to download thousands of images and videos depicting child pornography onto his own laptop.
Of course when the cops came looking for the culprit, they didn’t knock on the perpetrator’s door. Instead, they followed the digital trail of the crime to the home of the innocent neighbors because the illegal images and videos were downloaded over their WiFi network.
Since the couple were actually innocent of the crime, a thorough search of all the computers in the home found nothing incriminating so the police began to suspect a piggy-backing neighbor. And sure enough they quickly found him.
Luckily, the innocent couple was exonerated in this case and the real culprit was apprehended, but it’s never a good thing to have the police show up to search your home at 5:30am!
Bottom line: Don’t leave your WiFi network wide open for the public to use at will.
I strongly recommend that you enable the strongest encryption method that your router and your connected devices support.
And while you’re at it, be sure to choose a password that’s easy to remember but hard to guess. This post explains how.