Wi-Fi piggybacking widespread, anti-virus firm warns

While setting up a Wi-Fi network for the PLDT myDSL connection at home earlier this week, I got a timely warning from a press release. Anti-virus company Sophos said many people now use someone else’s wireless Internet connection without their permission.

Sophos said 54 percent of 560 respondents who took their online survey admitted to using other people’s Wi-Fi connection without their permission. The survey is not scientific and I don’t see how you can see a “widespread” trend from it. But it does provide a timely warning to home users who have gone wireless.

Sophos said “many Internet-enabled homes fail to properly secure their wireless connection with passwords and encryption, allowing freeloading passers-by and neighbors to steal Internet access rather than paying an internet service provider (ISP) for their own.”

I don’t know how common Wi-Fi piggybacking is in Cebu or in the Philippines, save for anecdotal feedback from geeks I know. I’ve heard of maybe three persons who said they were able to use an unsecured wireless network.

Still, the absence of reports should not be a reason to be complacent and just leave your home Wi-Fi network unsecured. This absence of reports may be because none have been caught.

And with more mobile devices like phones having the capability to use Wi-Fi, the risk will only get higher.

Continue reading →

Going cold turkey while setting up a hotspot

With my wife and I now using laptops as primary workstations at home, we decided to use a Wi-Fi router to share our PLDT myDSL connection. The snaking network cables were threatening to trip us and our kids.

I bought a Linksys WRT54G after reading about its storied history. Mark Stephens, writing as Rober X. Cringely, calls the WRT54G and its Linux system “The Little Engine That Could.”

Linksys wrt54g LINKSYS WRT54G. I used this Wi-Fi router to set up a wireless broadband connection at home. Click to enlarge image.

In my case, it was “the sleep-deprived blogger who couldn’t with the little engine that could.” I did eventually set it up—and I’m now using it to publish this post while downloading tons of files—but only after I went Internet-deprived cold turkey, at home at least.

Continue reading →

End of the Affair

(Blogger’s note: This break-up post was written a couple of weeks back.)

We go way back, Globelines and I. More than 5 years, if I can recall correctly.

I signed up with the company before Globelines became what it is today, one of two giant telecommunications companies that dominate the country.

I signed up to what was then Islacom not only because I’m a sucker for underdogs but as personal protest against the single dominant carrier at that time, PLDT, and its move to meter local calls. When I signed up, I knew I would be using my phone more for Internet connection (via the Jurassic dial up service) than for calls and if PLDT were to meter local calls, I feared I’d be racking up huge bills.

PLDT myDSL I’M WITH HER. It’s goodbye Globelines Broadband and hello PLDT MyDSL.

PLDT eventually abandoned the move to meter all local calls. It, instead, offered a prepaid service that has become popular today.

But I stuck with Islacom, which became Innove, which became Globelines. I stuck with it even as it started to insist I pay a month in advance while I stood firm on paying only for services I’ve used.

This means that for February, Globelines bugs me in the middle of the month, to pay for the entire month’s billing cycle. I, on the other hand, insisted on paying only for my January bill. Maybe this is standard billing practice but I don’t encounter this with my cable company, electric utility and my subdivision’s water distributor.

Not even occasional notices of disconnection, which sometimes lay unopened in my office desk for weeks, forced me to pay a month in advance.

Continue reading →