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Australian Police Plan Wardriving Mission 340

Posted by timothy
from the village-green-preservation-society dept.
bfire writes "Police officers in the Australian state of Queensland plan to conduct a 'wardriving' mission around select towns in an effort to educate citizens to secure their wireless networks. When unsecured networks are found, the Police will pay a friendly visit to the household or small business, informing them of the risks they are exposing themselves to. Officers also hope to return to surveyed areas within a month to see if users have fixed their security settings. The idea is modeled on another campaign where officers walk around railway stations checking cars have been locked, and leaving notes warning people of the dangers involved with leaving their vehicles unsecured."
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Australian Police Plan Wardriving Mission

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  • Re:Mac address (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:16AM (#28727169)
    I'll spoof your MAC address and raise you a gigabyte of porn.
  • Re:Mac address (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:26AM (#28727209)

    Are you serious?
    I suggest you read the section about mac address security here:
    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/index.php?p=43 [zdnet.com]

    and then implement WPA (if you actually want real security)

    Your current setup keeps out harmless casual users and lets in easily anyone who might want to use your connection for dodgy/illegal purposes and has the slightest clue what they are doing.

  • A waste of Tax Money (Score:3, Informative)

    by metrix007 (200091) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:41AM (#28727281)

    I understand why the Police are doing this, and I think it is a good move. Yes, I am an Australian, and a QLD'er.

    This will let people know who truly do not, and can prevent crimes such as identity theft, downloading illegal stuff etc.

    For the record, operating an insecure wifi AP is not illegal, this is just a helpful initiative.

    The thing is, it is 2009. For the last 5 years at least, most AP's have security enabled by default, or at least as a mandatory step of the setup.

    At the very least, there will be a warning that will be hard to miss.

    For the last 5 years or so, information on this has been forthcoming to people who are not overly technical via:

            * TV shows, non technical like 60 minutes or a talk show
            * Magazines, including many of which are non tech magazines
            * Various websites, including many non tech websites, such as MSN
            * Your operating system, such as Windows, OS X or Ubuntu giving you warnings
            * User guides or manuals in very, very, simple to understand language
            * Warning stickers on the box or device
            * Probably quite a few other avenues as well

    There is very little reason to not be aware of the risks of running an insecure network. All too often it is a case of stupidity, as people do this for the sake of convenience. Nothing is going to change these peoples minds.

  • WEP_IS_LIKE_OPEN (Score:5, Informative)

    by ammorais (1585589) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:51AM (#28727333)
    Does the police specified that people should use WAP and Strong passwords, if they really wanted to protect their networks.

    I've moved to a new apartment 3 months ago. My building is in a very dense populated area. Due to bureaucrat issues, I was over one month without an internet connection. Since I had over 25 available wireless networks on my house I gave the http://www.aircrack-ng.org/doku.php?id=tutorial [aircrack-ng.org] aircrack online tutorials a shot. It was amazing how easy it is to crack a WEP connection. On average I took less than 10 minutes to crack a WEP wireless. Over 40% of people(at least around here), still use this totally insecure encryption method.
    I've started to get curious about who is Using Wep. So I've made a survey with my laptop, and my phone(it has wireless), to see who is using Wep. I have a HP shop on the other side of the street, that has a big splash symbol on the window "Microsoft Certified". They have IT consultants and they are using WEP. What a joke.
    My local Social Security Center is using WEP possibily exposing the entire contry database(it's just a guess. I didn't really crack it). Also WAP is not difficult to crack with weak passwords, and most of the people don't have a clue about strong passwords.
    I currently have my network open, only closing when I need full bandwidth, and my SSID is something like WEP_IS_LIKE_OPEN, but in my language.
    I guess worst than having an open network is to wrongly think you are secure.
  • Re:Mac address (Score:2, Informative)

    by newnerdyuser (191770) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:59AM (#28727365)

    I said the 'Police' wont be able to connect to it. I said nothing about anyone else.

  • Good initiative (Score:2, Informative)

    by fenring (1582541) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:59AM (#28727639)
    I think it's a good campaign. After all, how much money and time do you think it takes to cover a neighborhood? A couple of officers could probably do this in a few days.
    Nobody said it's illegal and they are not constraining anyone to "secure" their AP. It's just like a patrol passes by and they see you are in some kind of trouble. It's their job to stop and ask if you need any assistance. If somebody wants to keep their wireless open, it will probably cost them a couple of minutes to talk to the police and explain their point of view. On the other hand, if someone is unaware that their internet connection could be used by anyone, I think it's pretty much worth it.
    And, if anything, it's just a visit from your friendly police officer. They should do it more often.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:13AM (#28727693) Homepage
    I wouldn't listen to the voices from your dental work. The police have been testing door locks since their inception. It's called crime prevention, and it's first and last in Peel's Nine Points:
  • Re:Mac address (Score:3, Informative)

    by DTemp (1086779) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:41AM (#28727809)

    It must be known to the world that 1) not broadcasting your SSID and 2) restricting MAC addresses both do NOTHING for security. Best to leave your SSID broadcast, not restrict MAC addresses, and actually implement REAL security: WPA2 with a strong key.

  • by Leebert (1694) * on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:59AM (#28727915)

    Come to think about it, it's not the cops job to prevent crime either.

    Wait, what? Police is supposed to execute the laws which tell what people shouldn't do. It certainly isn't limited to investigating the wrongs that people have already done.

    In the US, this is strangely true.

    See Jessica Gonzalez vs. The United States (http://www.aclu.org/womensrights/violence/gonzalesvusa.html), as a good example of this.

    Try suing the police for failing to show up when you call 911. This is one of the hotbutton issues for the gun lobby -- if the police have no legal obligation to actually protect you, then you need the means to do it yourself.

  • by Ogive17 (691899) on Friday July 17, 2009 @08:47AM (#28728283)
    Have you tried locking your doors from the inside and when you close the driver's side door make sure you hold the door handle up as you shut it. This is what some auto makers implemented as a way to keep you from locking yourself out before keyless entry was near standard equipment. Having to physically have the door handle open is a last reminder to make sure keys are in hand.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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