Unsecured Wifi

If you find yourself in need of a wifi connection – at a doctor’s office, or somewhere else that isn’t home – and you don’t have a way of turning your phone into a Wifi hotspot*, if you search for available connections and you come upon an unsecured wifi connection – is it ok to use that connection?

Is it fair game because it’s unsecured? Like listening to a neighbor’s music through the open window?
Is it stealing because you have no permission and because you slow down the bandwidth?
If your use doesn’t slow down the bandwidth is it still stealing?

Curious as to your thoughts.

(*or you have no idea how to use that option on your phone because it NEVER works for you.)

11 responses to “Unsecured Wifi

  1. It’s not stealing because they CAN secure the connection! Their fault that they didn’t. Ignorance is no excuse– verizon secured our network for us when we had everything installed!

  2. In a time and place , where even a FULLY SECURED WEP encrypted WiFi network can be hacked in less than 60 minutes ..

    Its not a crime to utilize an unsecured connection.

    Only a WPA-2 connection having more than 10 letters in the password (including a few numbers) is KINDA safe,, but not hack Proof .. anything and everything electronic can be hacked …

  3. I don’t think of it as stealing. If I had an unsecured wifi I would assume other people would use if. But I don’t know if everyone feels the same. It’s not like “stealing” in the same way as walking into an unlocked door and borrowing a few potatoes is–it’s more like picking a leaf off a neighbors tree IMO. Some people might be bothered by it, but I am not. I wouldn’t permanently “borrow” the wifi or use up their bandwidth anymore than I would help myself to a bouquet from a neighbor’s garden. It seems people should be able to tell the difference between that sort of thing…

    I don’t know how verizon feels about it though heh.

  4. Some routers can run 2 networks at the same time, one personal one that is fully secured and allows access to all the machines on the network, and a second one that is unsecured and only allows access to the Internet.

  5. I would be more worried about the security issues of using an unsecured wifi network.

  6. QUOTE:
    “It’s not stealing because they CAN secure the connection!”

    So, it’s OK to walk into someone’s home if the door is unlocked and take what you want?

    “It’s not like “stealing” in the same way as walking into an unlocked door and borrowing a few potatoes is–it’s more like picking a leaf off a neighbors tree IMO”

    Both those things are stealing. Just because the monetary values may differ doesn’t change the moral status of the act. To quote a famous anecdote: “We’ve already established what you are. Now we are merely haggling over the price!”


  7. Stealing is what is considered theft by the person/community. Someone taking a leaf from a tree isn’t considered stealing by general standard, where are romping through the garden and picking all their potatoes would be.

    I suppose you could say it would be right to ask first to clarify if the person considers it stealing.

  8. Whether or not it’s stealing is insignificant. It’s not appropriate. Simple.

    • It’s not that simple. Scores of people and organizations leave an open WiFi for guests to use. Whether it is a doctors office, and airport, or a restaurant, open WiFi access can be found in many places. In fact, modern home wireless routers specifically added a feature to allow a “guest” network to be setup that has access to the Internet, but no access to the machines on the home network.

      • You are speaking about two different things. The first is a public WiFi that is indeed there for public use – MacDonalds, Library, other restaurants etc. The second is an unwittingly public WiFi. For example, we recently moved house and when my laptop does a search for WiFi connections it comes up with a host. I can clearly see our home network which is secured with a password. I can also see the networks of my neighbours which are named and also password secured. On the list there is another network which is unsecured. We don’t live near enough to any shops, cafes, restaurants or other facilities that might have a truly public WiFi. In my mind, this network is unwittingly unsecured. For me to use it would be stealing. Am I wrong?

        • I’m saying you can’t be sure. I just purchased a new wireless router (from Amazon and waiting for it to arrive) and will be setting up our internal home network. But I will also setup a guest network, and I haven’t decided yet if it will be password protected or not. And if a neighbor needs to use it sometimes (for example their Internet is out) I don’t think I would have a problem with that.

          Some of the routers apparently add the word “Guest-” to the SSID so you can tell if it is setup for guest access.

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