Police are trying to clamp down on wireless broadband hijacking as two Worcestershire residents were among the first to be arrested and cautioned for such an offence.
Police in Redditch cautioned a man last week who was spotted by local residents parked in his car outside a residential house using his laptop – he was later found to be using a resident’s wireless broadband connection unbeknownst to them. This follows a similar incident that occurred in the same town just a month before. Both men have been cautioned for dishonestly charged with using internet services without paying.
West Mercia PC Tony Humphreys told The Guardian: “Wireless networks don't stop at the walls of your home…Without the necessary protection, neighbours or people in the road may be able to connect to your network. This might slow down your service or, more importantly, your connection could be used for unlawful purposes."
He added that he does not want to alarm wireless broadband users but urged them to get the right security to prevent hackers undertaking so called ‘war-driving’.
Gaining unauthorised access to a computer is an offence covered by the Computer Misuse Act (1990)
These incidents in Worcestershire are not the first reported cases in England; in 2005 Gregory Straszkiewicz from Ealing was fined £500 and sentenced to 12 months' conditional discharge for hijacking a wireless broadband connection after he was caught outside a residential building holding his laptop.
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