Borrowing an unsecured wireless network - Any risk?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by oregonman, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. oregonman

    oregonman Member

    87
    0
    Jul 1, 2002
    Portland OR
    I have a Tivo where I cannot run a phone line, wireless modem doesn't work and don't have a network, wired or wireless. I can connect to an unknown, unsecured wireless network. Are there any risks to "borrowing" that wireless network for downloading guide data? Other than the obvious risk that the owner could wise up and lock down the network.

    If this has been discussed before, I'd appreciate a pointer to the thread - I tried searching, but came up blank.
     
  2. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

    30,905
    36
    Sep 19, 2001
    Binghamton, NY
    Why not ask the network owner if you can use it?
     
  3. RoyK

    RoyK New Member

    2,935
    1
    Oct 22, 2004
    SW VA
    If you are asking if stealing internet service from your neighbor will damage your TiVo, no - not likely. Do you also steal your neighbor's newspapers?
     
  4. oregonman

    oregonman Member

    87
    0
    Jul 1, 2002
    Portland OR
    I don't know who it is.
     
  5. oregonman

    oregonman Member

    87
    0
    Jul 1, 2002
    Portland OR
    No, but he doesn't leave them on my porch. Unsecured. With tempting headlines calling out: "read me, read me."
     
  6. dylanemcgregor

    dylanemcgregor Well-Known Member

    12,640
    339
    Jan 31, 2003
    Corner of...
    Come on, that's ridiculous. It would be one thing if he were using this for Unbox downloads or something like that. But to use for a daily guide data download hurts absolutely no one.
     
  7. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

    12,533
    1,734
    Jul 6, 2002
    boston'ish
    I'd say you're a lot safer with a Tivo connecting to an unsecured network then you are with a Windows PC that would have more chance to get something nasty, and I'd also say as long as it's just downloading guide data, you're not going to put a strain on the neighbors network.

    Will it technically work? yes
    Is it morally ok? eh.. gray area in my mind.

    Personal opinion, folks that are leaving their networks wide open like that might benefit from a small lesson in network security, it's 2007 wireless network security is something that folks should know about if they're running wireless. Especially considering that someone else in the neighborhood might be downloading torrents of bootleg movies on the account (always good to catch Comcast's attention)

    Nothing beats me with my laptop in a cafe with a friend showing how many networks show up in a metropolitan area, and up pops one named "netgear" with an administrator account of "admin" and it used the default Netgear password, that network was mine for the taking, so not being truly evil (coworkers may disagree here) I went to the owner of the cafe, asked if the network was his with an offer to point him at security if it was, he said it wasn't, and I never thought about it again.

    Diane
     
  8. RoyK

    RoyK New Member

    2,935
    1
    Oct 22, 2004
    SW VA
    So its ok to take from your neighbor if you don't take too much. I see.
     
  9. pdhenry

    pdhenry Recumbent

    28,829
    4,993
    Feb 27, 2005
    PA
    It's OK to read your neighbor's newspaper if you don't deprive him of it...

    ETA: I've taken the minimal trouble to secure my wireless network.
     
  10. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

    1,515
    638
    Sep 11, 2004
    Aside from the moral implication (Personally, I believe you need to ask, would you be pissed if someone borrowed something of yours without asking you?) The other issue is, "What happens the day your neighbor wisely decides to secure that network?" Now, if you can figure out who it belongs to, and ask both permission to use it, and for the needed security info when that day comes, There is no technical reason against it.
     
  11. aus1ander

    aus1ander New Member

    516
    0
    Sep 17, 2004
    Wow, the crazy thing is they were ready to file charges without even *asking* the coffee shop owner if he/she cared that the guy was tapping into the shop's free wireless... I would suspect most owners wouldn't care, especially if they heard that the guy was facing felony charges.
     
  12. andyw715

    andyw715 Well-Known Member

    7,970
    612
    Jul 31, 2007
    Do you hook a hose up to your neighbors spigot and water your flowers/grass w/o asking? Hey its there, no lock, free for the taking.

    Just because its not a secure network, doesn't give you the right to use it.
     
  13. SeanC

    SeanC ECT

    9,691
    21
    Dec 30, 2003
    Someplace
    If he puts a sign up next to the spigot that says "free water," sure.
     
  14. psyton

    psyton New Member

    83
    0
    Dec 27, 2002
    There is no sign. It takes a scan to determine if it is secured and what the ssid name is. This is analogous to going up to cars in your neighborhood, pulling up on the door handle to see if it is locked or not. Is it ok with you to steal from an unlocked car? How about one where the keys are in the ignition, no felony if one were to take it for a joy ride?

    People will justify anything to excuse themselves from activity they clearly know is wrong. This belongs in Happy Hour, under another lame "is this stealing" header.
     
  15. oregonman

    oregonman Member

    87
    0
    Jul 1, 2002
    Portland OR
    I've gotten a few answers to the actual risk question, but not as many as comments on the moral question. That is certainly a worthwhile discussion, but I'd like to see more on the risk issue. So let me try to frame the question in a different way:

    There are various free public wireless systems out there. I wouldn't do my online banking on one because of the risk of someone getting my password or seeing my financial info. What am I risking if I have my Tivo connect over the public wireless?
     
  16. RoyK

    RoyK New Member

    2,935
    1
    Oct 22, 2004
    SW VA
    About the only thing I can think of is having someone else on the network see your choice in programming.
     
  17. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    7,955
    90
    Jan 23, 2005
    CT
    Not having your TiVos Media Access Key nobody can get any information from your TiVo, but if the person looks at the DHCP server on his router they will see your TiVo on the system and could call the police.
     
  18. pdhenry

    pdhenry Recumbent

    28,829
    4,993
    Feb 27, 2005
    PA
    What's the likelhood that someone who leaves his network unprotected is going to know how to look up the DHCP clients on the network?

    What's the likelihood that someone who cares about the security of his network isn't going to take the most basic steps to secure the network?
     
  19. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    7,955
    90
    Jan 23, 2005
    CT
    I don't disagree with you but its some risk, a friend may tell him that he will secure the network and look at the DHCP part and find 3 or 4 people using it, I don't know but over time the chance of being caught does go up. Because you may get away with it does not make it morally correct.
     

Share This Page