I have no router yet I can access the web????

By Callie
Jun 19, 2007
  1. I just purchased a new laptop with wireless capabilites. I am pretty much clueless about wireless. I have no router, yet I was playing with my new machine and discovered that I could connect to the internet through a linksys
    unsecured network. I mean the new system (Windows Vista) basically says to connect to it but I started thinking where did this come from?? Am I cutting into someones router somehow? When it says it is unsecured does this mean that someone can see what I am if I do online banking???

    Please help me understand this and thank you.
  2. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    You're probably picking up a neighbor's wifi and connecting since it has no password. Unsecured just means the wifi has no password, which means anyone could log on. By using someone else's wifi, they could potentially monitor at least some of your activity, but likely if they don't have a password on their wifi, then they are probably computer novices and wouldn't know how to monitor if someone else is using their internet. I wouldn't recommend using it without asking first though.
  3. Callie

    Callie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    How can I ask if I don't know who it is? Although probably 2 blocks away we have a McDonald's restaurant that I think has signs up that they now have
    wifi. Could that be it?
    Thank you so much for your reply.
    By the way I do have a broadband connection on my old desktop that needs to be completely reformatted...I mostly likely will be using that.....but it was nice to sit on the porch and not be wired to a modem.
  4. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Could be the McDonalds. With good antennas, 2 blocks isn't a challenge. Are there any other neighbors nearby? It really could be anyone if you have many neighbors. I guess it'd be possible to find where it's coming from by taking a walk with the laptop and checking the signal strength until you get the strongest signal. Does the wireless connection have a name? That may be an indicator of where it's coming from, since many times people use their last name or business name as the wireless network name.
  5. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    He said it's through a linksys network, so linksys was probably the network name. That's the default name for a wireless network with a Linksys router/access point (at least on my WRT54GS).
  6. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    i highly doubt its a mcdonalds.. they get their wifi services from a third party carrier directly (tmobile, telstra bigpond...).. well at least thats what i've observed.

    Its more likely to be someone more closer, as radio travels in a straight line, and would normally degrade its signal going through any objects and interference (walls etc). If you get "excellent" or a very strong signal, then i reckon its about less than 100m from you, good-excellent <500m etc. But those are guesses.. and i'm probably off :D

    Although this does present a very important lesson for you when you go wireless with your own broadband connection: secure your access point.
  7. Callie

    Callie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, now that I think about it it could be a few things...there is a doctors' office close by that actually has , I think 4 doctors working there....they are probably networked and have access to the internet. The post offfice is also nearby. I am not in a large city...actually a small village where down the road we have Amish that don't even have electricity or cars. The library is a little further away and I think they must be networked too. The signal is good when I am sitting inside. Guess I will need to take a walk and see if the signal gets stronger. If I find out who it is should I advise them that there connection is accessible to others?
    Thanks everyone for your answers.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    If it's the Doctor's office, using an insecured SSID, then they are in violation of
    the HIPPA regulations. Do your local Dr a great big favor and stop by to discuss
    the issue!
    I just got this new laptop at home and found I could get Internet access through
    my wireless device on a network id linksys! This means I or anyone else
    could have gotten into your patient records and the Privacy Act would have
    If so, you need to encrypt the traffic so no one can access your network.
  9. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Posts: 228

    It is most likely not a business (who would hire a professional to set up and secure their network.) I would be concentrating your non-Amish neighbors' homes.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    In principle one would certainly hope so! However, sometimes people who are not computer professionals but very competent try to save some money by doing it themselves -- forgetting the HIPPA requirements OR due to a lack of understanding of how to config the encryption, just punt and bypass it.

    Remember Murphy? It's just a human factor thing that we all cope with.
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Yes you can use it, whether that is ethical or not is up to debate. Would it be safe to do banking on? Probably, but I wouldn't recommend doing so.
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    What kind of person do you consider yourself to be ...... :)
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