Child porn hacker threat

This was one of last week’s front page stories in the South Manchester Reporter, a free paper that lands on our doorstep every Friday. The gist of it is- a house full of students discovered a squatter in their basement. He did a runner, but left his laptop which, it turned out, held kiddie porn possibly downloaded when he tapped into their wireless network. Not so much wardriving as warsquatting.

The article is some sort of “WiFi enables child porn” piece. Whilst that stuff is vile, and its fans scum, I can’t help thinking there are other things the students involved should be worrying about. The squatter broke into their basement easily and was there for a while, and they were too stupid to notice. It’s also amusing that the residents weren’t the ones to go down the stairs to investigate the strange noises. They sent a convenient friend. (“Hey, dude, why don’t you come around some time. We can have a few beers, watch a video and then you can go and try to evict the kiddie-fiddler in the basement.”)

Casa Spinneyhead hasn’t gone wireless yet, can someone tell me whether it’s possible to tell who’s using it at any moment?

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0 Responses to Child porn hacker threat

  1. I’m afraid I don’t know the details (so probably shouldn’t be commenting; never mind) but I understand that even if one can’t tell who’s using a connection, it’s possible to know how many are doing so. If the numbers don’t add up, check your cellar!

  2. If you use DHCP on your router, you can check the number of DHCP clients – if you use fixed IP, or if someone guesses your IP range and adds their computer to it with a static IP address, this may be tricker.

    However, if you get a wireless router, you can set it to MAC filter so that it will only route traffic from known computers.

    If you’re paranoid, you can also encrypt any data traffic. Make sure any hardware supports WPA though as WEP is not very difficult to crack.

  3. Judging by the report, any of those things would have been beyond the abilities of this particular bunch of students.

    Harsh, but fair.

  4. Actually, I think most of that would be beyond me. If I ever go wireless could you come round and sort out the router for me?

  5. Given the size of your flat and the fact that you only have one computer which would benefit from being wireless, you could save a lot of money by not going wireless, and just buying a longer network cable.

  6. paedophiles will soon have someone else on their case

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4812962.stm

  7. Damian, I’m surprised at you! That’s just not the geek way!

  8. Go with Damian’s advice, its very difficult to tap into an ethernet wire and fairly obvious!

    Most routers do make it nearly idiot-proof to setup WPA and MAC filtering so there is no excuse.