Wireless networking, oops!

In Texas, the roadside rest areas have equipment that allows anyone to access the internet via a radio link. California state parks also have such capabilities that are free to SBC customers. Many RV parks are also providing internet access for a fee.

What you need is a computer with wireless networking capability. Many new laptops come with this built in. It is called ‘wi-fi’ or referred to by the specifications used to communicate such as 802.11 and some letter.

A lot of people are using this sort of networking connection to be able to use computers throughout their house without having to run wires. Most of them aren’t taking any precautions to limit use and restrict access. There are folks on the road look for wireless network signals from unprotected networks so they can check for e-mail messages. Unless they have permission, this is not a good idea. The St. Petersburg Times talks about the risks in Wi-Fi cloaks a new breed of intruder (Leary 05jl04).

Taking advantage of someone else’s ignorance to use a wireless network to gain access to the internet is like taking advantage of an unlocked door to use a telephone to make toll calls. If you are on the road, make sure your wireless connections are with permission!

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