WAR driving is a very popular activity. Whether to get online for free, just out of curiosity or a myriad of other reasons, around the world it has become a topic met with bitter controversy. Loved by some, annoying to others, it treads on new legal ground and opens up new privacy issues. Those issues, however, are closed in Singapore, where a 17 year old is facing up to three years in
prison for hopping on to someone elses wireless network. While it doesn't specify that he was in fact in a car, the basic principle is the same, and simply stealing Internet access was enough for him to face a jail sentence and a potential fine:
The teenager also faces a possible fine of up to 10,000 Singapore dollars ($6,425) if convicted despite the lack of aggravating factors to his alleged crimes. There's no suggestion he did any mischief beyond allegedly freeloading his neighbour's net connection without permission.
Despite the fact that just about every single home and office wireless access point and wifi-equipped router comes by default with an unencrypted, insecure configuration, most of the attention is being focused on those who are exposing and abusing these networks rather than those setting them up. Just about any Windows or Mac machine equipped with a wireless card will actively look for and connect to wireless networks, making many blissfully unaware that they've even done anything, let alone something wrong. While that's certainly no excuse for blatantly stealing services from someone, the manufacturers of these devices aren't helping any by producing such easily-expoitable default systems. Perhaps it has been made too easy to use?