File this under most terrifying thing a Wi-fi lover will read all day. Most of us aren't into downloading child porn (thank goodness), but a rash of arrests shows it doesn't matter what we really use our computers for. It's what our wireless connection is doing that the cops care about.
In fact, a rash of people arrested on suspicion of child porn possession came up clean in New York State recently -- but their neighbors had the disgusting imagery on their computers. The case of mistaken identity came because those degenerate neighbors also happened to be "borrowing" wireless Internet from their unwitting neighbors, the folks initially targeted by cops. And it could be you next.
I know what you're thinking. I never, not never, not nobody, not know how to download icky child porn. But consider this: 32 percent of Americans leave their wireless Internet completely open. There's no password, and not only is the guy next door using it, but the weird dude who may or may not be parked in his car outside your front door, waiting for his kids to come out the door from a playdate. And while it's pretty easy for the cops to turn on your neighbor when your computer comes up empty, what are the chances they're going to track down that phantom freeloader?
That there are only 32 percent who leave it unlocked doesn't sound too bad -- that's only a third of Americans. But you also have to look at just how easy the average password is to crack. Last month the Australian GOVERNMENT found 20 percent of its agencies had passwords passed with an easy guess. So what are the chances you're doing any better at your house? I know people who use the numbers 1, 2, 3; people who use their dog's name (the name they YELL out nightly so the whole neighborhood hears it); people who use the name of their firstborn (who, as it turns out, they yell at IN the house, so loudly the neighbors hear it). You get what I'm saying -- it's easy, peasy, lemon squeezy to get online via your house.
In the cases in New York, everything has been cleared up, and the real perpetrators (OK, alleged perpetrators) have been charged. But that takes awhile, and there's nothing like the words "child predator" to ruin your chances of ever feeling comfy in your neighborhood again, or at your job, your kid's school, or, well, yeah, just about anywhere. And it always seems like the bad news about an arrest spreads pretty quickly, but the good news that you've been cleared takes an awful long time to get around town.
So don't want to be labeled Lester, Lester Child Molester? Lock up your Internet, NOW, via a password loaded down with random letters and numbers so it can't be cracked.
Is your Wi-Fi protected?
Image via tawalker/Flickr