Unsecured wireless router causes false child porn charge

In a cautionary tale like no other, a man was falsely busted for downloading thousands of illegal images after his unsecured Wi-Fi network had been accessed.

The US homeowner had given up trying to set a password on his wireless modem, leaving his network open for security breaches. The story sends a powerful message to remind users to set a strong password on their home or business Wi-Fi network.

The case is not the first of its kind either – a similar event occurred when a Sarasota man had his network accessed by someone who strengthened the signal by fashioning an antenna out of a potato chip can. The FBI arrived to arrest the broadband owner after 10 million images of child porn had been downloaded.

Being charged with accessing illegal content isn’t the only concern when wireless networks are broken in to. Hackers can access personal data and other sensitive information along with your passwords. If others access your network, they may also be chewing up your internet data each month, and slowing down your download and upload speeds.

A study conducted by the Wi-Fi allowance, found that a staggering 32% of Americans aged 18 and over had attempted to access somebody else’s network.

While some can’t be bothered to set a password on their network, others feel it’s polite to leave their networks open, which means everyone can share their data. However, enabling the encryption software usually involves working through the modem’s manual. In Germany, internet users can be charged $126 for wireless networks with no password.

To secure your wireless router, type in your router’s IP address into the web browser, type in your username and password, and navigate to the wireless section. Use the WPA or WPA2 connection types, and creative a strong password for your wireless network. It should be made up of both letters and numbers, and be at least 14 characters long.