Monday, November 22, 2004

How To Steal Wi-Fi

So last night, I was messing around with the clean Windows XP install on my main computer (the one that dual-boots Linux). I'm planning a system upgrade soon, but wanted to get 'doze working on the box so that I could play my games (Ultima Online, poker) on the box while my boyfriend uses my laptop. You know, the romantic evenings cuddled side by side doing completely different things on 2 different computers. (Hey, no complaints here! At least we're in the same room - which is more than can be said for other couples I know!)

So anyway, the problem with my Windoze box is that for some reason, it will NOT connect to my wireless network with my Linksys wireless USB network card. This card, strangely enough, worked perfectly well under XP in the machine's previous life. Now with this reinstall, it just won't take.

I suspect that it is because in my old Windows install, the network card properties allowed me to input vital connection info like the SSID, WEP keys, and channel ID number in the properties area. There are no such properties listed for the card. I tried every variation of drivers available from the Linksys web site, and none make any difference. I was thinking that it may be because I haven't applied the Windows Updates to this install (it won't let me - says my key is invalid, even though this is the one an only actual LEGAL copy of Windows I own! Grrrr) - so maybe the WiFi properties have been enhanced in later service packs.

Well, when I upgrade my system board (within the next couple weeks, hopefully), I will be installing the new XP CD I ordered through my college, which has never been used and is fully 100% legal and mine. So it doggone better work!

After that long-winded introduction, here's the reason I'm actually posting. My WiFi network at home is WEP-encrypted. While I was fighting with Windows to connect to my network, I discovered two networks, presumably belonging to my neighbors. One was the default SSID of a Linksys wireless access point, and the other was "plugnplay" - not sure if that's a default for anything. One was WEP encrypted, the other wasn't. I didn't spend time trying to use the connection, but I can't say the thought didn't cross my mind as I fought with my own network! (My network is so secure, even ** I ** can't get on it!) LOL!

Then I came across this article today....

How To Steal Wi-Fi - And how to keep the neighbors from stealing yours. By Paul Boutin. "Every techie I know says that you shouldn't use other people's networks without permission. Every techie I know does it anyway. If you're going to steal—no, let's say borrow—your neighbor's Wi-Fi access, you might as well do it right."

Gotta love it - go check it out if you're into wireless networking (and are slightly devious). :)

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