Un-Secured Wi-Fi the Criminals Best Bet

I believe I have mentioned it before in a couple different posts, about how people could use wireless connections, such as the ones in Starbucks, or the un-secured ones in their apartment building or their neighborhood, to cover their tracks when they are doing something wrong. Most recently I mentioned it in this article at Revenews.com, titled Child Porn Database Bill, that describes a bill Senator McCain has introduced to create a national database of child porn, which ISP’s could use to catch pedophiles sending pictures to each other.

The Washington Post has an article today talking about the same problem, a suspected pedophile exchanging child porn online, but when the police track down his ip address and knock on the door, a totally un-expected person arrives to greet them.

Detectives arrived last summer at a high-rise apartment building in Arlington County, warrant in hand, to nab a suspected pedophile who had traded child pornography online. It was to be a routine, mostly effortless arrest.

But when they pounded on the door, detectives found an elderly woman who, they quickly concluded, had nothing to do with the crime. The real problem was her computer’s wireless router, a device sending a signal through her 10-story building and allowing savvy neighbors a free path to the Internet from the privacy of their homes.

Perhaps one of those neighbors, authorities said, was stealthily uploading photographs of nude children. Doing so essentially rendered him or her untraceable. Source: WiFi Turns Internet Into Hideout for Criminals

Until there are easy ways for people do monitor their own networks themselves, this will continue to be a problem, if the security was easy to setup to start with, this wouldn’t be as much of a problem. Cafes, libraries and other sites, like Starbucks, that offer free wi-fi, need to make people signup to run it, and possibly even make someone who works their setup the client, or even have some proprietary solution, to somehow make it easier to track who is using it and for what.