Oh, how awesome is this?
One of my daily reads is the Live Bookmark feed of the newspaper for my old German home city of Muenster. One of the latest news items is the tale of a Muenster resident who was recently paid a visit by the Muenster police SEK (their equivalent of a SWAT team). Apparently, someone had announced a gun rampage intention online, and the cops traced the threats back to the ISP account of the citizen in question. The Muenster SEK dutifully rolled up in their tactical van, turned the guy’s front door into matchsticks, and proned the fellow out at gunpoint in his living room.
Problem is, he had his WiFi router set to the Open Network setting, without requiring a password for access, and a 27-year-old neighbor was piggybacking on that open connection. Said neighbor was the culprit in question, so the SEK broke into the wrong guy’s home.
Now the police are denying any sort of legal or financial culpability. According to the police spokesman, the wrongfully proned-out fellow is no better than someone who “goes on vacation, leaves his doors and windows open, and is then surprised when people commit felonies in his house while he’s gone.”
Now, keeping your WiFi access unsecured is not too smart, especially if you live in an urban area. You don’t want to let your neighbor, Creepy Steve, piggy-back off your DSL pipe and shovel gigabytes of kiddie porn onto his PC through your connection. However, as a former IT support guy, I know that the Magic Elf Box is a container of riddles wrapped into enigmas to a lot of people, and I’m pretty sure that the majority of folks who pick up a WiFi router at ChumpUSA just fire it up and leave all the settings at their default stage, because they don’t have a clue how to change them.
I think this calls for a new warning label on the WiFi router boxes: “Failure to secure your wireless network may result in your door getting stomped in by the local fuzz.”