Whose network?Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 15:13 | Posted in computer, internet, wifi | 2 Comments
I booted my laptop in Windows partition a moment ago. I am at home and to my knowledge there is no WLAN access here. The laptop was accordingly wired to my LAN router.
Imagine my surprise as a message appeared on screen that a WLAN network had been detected. It was unprotected and configured for open access. I was asked if I wanted to connect with the usual warning that any information sent over that network could be seen by others.
Since I was also alerted at the same time that my virus protection needed an update, I declined to connect. When the update was all clear, I needed to reboot the computer. During the boot I disconnected the laptop from my router and waited for the message to appear again to test the connection. Unfortunately it did not appear and a scan for wireless access confirmed that none was around.
Now I wonder whose network it was. And more importantly, how it was accessible from my flat, albeit momentarily. I know that radio waves sometimes act in an unexpected way and reach locations they are not supposed to. I used to be a DXer as a kid so my knowledge of radio waves is much higher than average.
Was it one of my neighbours? But why would they leave their network unprotected? That may of course be because of ignorance. I do not know if the network was configured for open access on purpose or by accident.
I have been considering to buy a wifi box and connect it to my LAN router so I could use my laptop in more convenient places than at my desk, such as the balcony or in bed. But now I just do not know if it is safe enough. While there really is no such thing as secrets and privacy in the Internet, one would still want to take some steps to keep one’s web usage private.