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Wireless Networking

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KD247

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Right now, I'm sitting in my car working on an appraisal report. Someone around here has a wireless access point with no password or encryption, so I've got full access to the internet and all my data sources through someone else's high-speed connection (they'll never know I was here, so no harm, no foul).

The funny thing is, in most neighborhoods I find a connection without looking for it. Pretty handy!
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
We went with a wireless router/firewall when ATT/Excite failed and Charter.net took over with no firewall protection. The first thing we did was install password protection for the wireless portion. That stopped the hackers, etc. in their tracks. The fact that people fail to do this is amazing, especially with all the publicity about hackers, etc. Total cost was less than $150.
Roger
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
8O That's scary. I protect my IP like my credit card number.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Pretty handy!

Pretty SCARY!

Umm not to be throwing rocks or anyting, but is this not stealing?
(and punishable by some source or other?)

At the very elast it smacks of taking candy from babies or something of equally nefarious nature.

Wonder how many of those users are aware that the unit installed by their eager semi-whiz kid nephew is open for public use (and abuse)...
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Umm not to be throwing rocks or anyting, but is this not stealing?
(and punishable by some source or other?)

That was my take on it, Lee Ann. I am not sure how different it is than looking for unlocked doors and using other peoples phones. May not be a big deal, but it doesn't seem right.
 

Head Surfer

Administrator
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Joined
Jan 4, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
The problem is that most of the wireless routers and access points ship with the security defaults set to "off". I believe that Orinoco has theirs set "on", but Linksys (the most popular) has the default as off.

I use both encryption (WEP), MAC addressing, and turned off SSID broadcasting on my network. Also I turned off DHCP and assigned each of my units a static IP.

Also I have found that the Orinoco Gold PC cards to be far better than the Linksys PC card. I have a Linksys router, and my first pc card was Linksys. Average range and signal strength. The Orinoco Gold has at least 50% better signal strength and range with the Linksys router.

Also, I purchased a Linksys Wireless Signal booster (WSB24). It helps to boost the signal from the ground level up to the 3rd level in an area in the far corner of my house that the Linksys alone gave only marginal signal!
 

Dan Leggett

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Mississippi
It's bandwidth theft, typically a state public utility crime. If data (such as browsing a web page, sending email, messaging on the APPRAISER'S FORUM) was shipped across state lines FCC & FBI come onboard.
 

KD247

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Dan & Lee Ann,

Re-reading my post, I think my enthusiasm got the best of me. I meant only to convey my excitement about the future of "portable" Internet access, but instead came off sounding like I am promoting this practice. I was amused to see that I had connected to an access point, but I won't do it again just because I don't like the guilty feeling. Sort of the way that stealing a caramel from the store's candy bin ruins the sweet taste of the candy. But, it's tempting when your computer automatically connects and just a little bit of information could save a couple of hours of driving!

Discussions regarding the ethics of using someone else's access point indicate that it's not really analogous to any other situation. Some people say that it's no worse than listening to the music coming from a neighbor's loud stereo, while others believe it's the same as walking into someone's kitchen and helping yourself to whatever's in the refrigerator. To my mind, what I've done is similar to being on a public street and having an orange fall off a tree through the sunroof of my car. I'm not self-righteous enough to pretend for a minute that I wouldn't eat it if I was hungry, but on the other hand, I don't drive around looking for oranges that are ready to fall. While taking a drink from a garden hose might be considered a theft of water rights and some people would threaten to call the police, most would merely ask if you'd like some ice with it.

Everybody is different. Some homeowners flip out if you turn around on their driveway while others come rushing out to ask if they can be of any help with the appraisal. Most people feel horribly "violated" if anyone has access through their network, but some civic-minded people actually register their access point, just in case someone is travelling through the area needs to use it.

In any case, as safeguards become widespread, this will become a non-issue. It's just another one of those ethical/moral questions that has been introduced by technology. We live in interesting times!
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Koert - Not that I am comparing what you are doing to hackers and people who send viruses, but it seems that many people have a disconnect when it comes to ethics and technology. People who wouldn't break into your house, or a store, have no issue with hacking into other people's data. Or, people who wouldn't walk into your house and steal money, or vandalize your personal property, have no problem sending viruses that cost time and money to repair, or protect against. Think how much easier and cheaper computer use would be if we didn't have to spend so much time preventing viruses or hacking.

The argument that it is the persons fault for not having proper encryption, is like saying it is the fault of the person who left his/her car unlocked and then it was stolen. In the end, someone still stole the car.

Again, I recognize that you are not damaging others with your use of their networks, but you do have a choice about using their network or not. I don't want to sound too preachy, but I think you are on a very slippery slope, so to speak. I don't think you can equate it with turning around in someone's driveway.

All that said, I am sure there is something in my life that I do, that others would find to be unethical. I imagine we all make our choices, and live with them.
 

KD247

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Michael,

You're right, technology makes for some tough ethical choices. Should I borrow my friend's "Academy copy" DVD of "Catch Me if You Can"? (I did.) Should I check out how much my neighbor owes on their house? (I won't.) Should I eviscerate the person who stole my credit cards last month? (I wanted to.)

We do all need to make our choices, and I'm continually trying to do the right thing (but I don't pretend that I'm immune to mistakes). You don't sound too preachy, and I appreciate your candor. I have a feeling that you are probably one of the few who is more concerned with your own ethics than with criticizing the ethics of others. And in the long run, we really only control our own choices.
 
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