The recent terror attacks and the use of unsecured Wi-Fi networks by the people calling themselves the Indian mujaheddin, has put both the Police and the Security Agencies in a tizzy with no way of tracking down the culprits that send the media Threat mails.
Wi-Fi (IPA: /ˈwaɪfaɪ/) is the trade name for the popular wireless technology used in home networks, mobile phones, video games and more. In particular, it covers the various IEEE 802.11 technologies (including 802.11n, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11a). (wiki)
Image from b2techs.com
As cost of wireless cards, extenders, laptops and Wi-Fi routers such as Linksys WRT54G and popular models from Dlink has crashed and as better routers with a great range and more reliable hardware are out there in the market, more and more people are hooking their broadband modems and routers to Wi-fi enable their homes and offices.
Sadly most people try the DiY method or use services of regular computer assemblers who have no clue about securing their Wi-Fi routers. As a result, most people leave their wireless connection unsecured, giving free internet access to most people in the neighborhood, and potential access to simi terrorists of the Indian mujaheddin who have resorted to wifi hunting to send their terror emails. Sadly most people including the press are clueless and one has to realise that leavling ur router unsecured is akin to leaving your house door open for access to all and sundry.
A friend recently told me about at least half a dozen private and psu networks that got listed on his laptop, while driving by bandra kurla complex, and a few of them were even unsecured giving him free net access.
Most institutions and firms also pretty lax about their networks. Offices like that of K Kamath, Owner, Kamran Power Private Limited and Colleges like Mumbai’s Khalsa College who were both caught in the dragnet of the ATS as their wireless was unsecured. My friend studying in a famous south Mumbai Sindhi trust college situated at Churchgate tells me about open access students enjoy thanks to their unsecured network. Lastly don’t think that ur signal is weak and no one can access it, people have built ingenious antennas that even pick up signals a Kilometer away.( i wont get into the nitty gritty of how to build those for obvious reasons but assure you that this info is out there and everyone has easy access to it. )
But one should not blame the consumers blindly. Some blame should also be borne by the ISPs (both govt owned and private)who give highly unreliable or very slow internet service especially during peak usage periods, services that sometimes fails to meet even the most basic of standards, find new methods to torture customers with weird settings, do mac binding and make even connecting to the Internet a living hell for consumers let alone connecting the wifi router or even securing it .
Many a times the isp technician tells people to keep the default router password , or to keep his connection unsecured, as in the case of Kenneth Haywood who along with giving BPOs’ speech training was in the business of illegal evangelical missionary activity, He fled India under the noses of the security establishment fearing the Narco tests as he had abused his visa restrictions.
The Govt, as i expected is doing what it knows best – REGULATE
The government is examining the possibility of issuing new norms which will unsecured WiFi connections illegal. Sources also said the new norms may put the onus of educating consumers on telcos and ISPs. Besides, the ISPs will also be asked to ensure that customers access the internet over a WiFi connection only through a password. WiFi networking companies may also be asked to limit WiFi signal right down to a defined radius by installing access points around the signal.
Fact still remains that it will be virtually impossible to monitor individuals and it is PEOPLE Power that will be most vital.
Lastly Wireless technology can also be abused or hacked into, it is relatively easy to crack a WEP secured password. An experienced techie can even crack the secure wpa based encryption , given plenty of time and and a relatively small or/and week key. I have even got the whole procedure of securing a WRT54G written down and am thinking of posting it for everyone’s benefit.
The best method ( if not full proof ) is old fashioned and still quite basic, it is best to switch off your wireless router when not in use.