Computer users warned to secure wireless networks
Published Tuesday, April 8, 2008 6:46PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 8:00PM EDT
Computer users are being warned to secure their wireless computer networks after six police officers descended on an Orleans couple's residence searching for evidence they were downloading child pornography.
Ottawa police say the FBI in California alerted them to the incident when they reported an Internet user in Ottawa was trading child pornography.
The Internet address was connected to a house in the city's east end and police showed up in early March with a search warrant.
"It was like a movie. I'm not kidding, what you see all those policemen," said computer user Ginette Simard.
"They were looking for CDs, you know, downloads, addresses," said her husband Dietre Krueger.
The subsequent police search turned up nothing except evidence that someone else had been using the couple's unsecured wireless network.
The couple, however, still can't believe their home was searched because of illegal downloads.
Casual computer users
The couple uses a wireless computer network so they can access the Internet from their laptop computer around their home.
The couple says they simply use their computer to send e-mails and read the news.
Their wireless network, however, was unsecured.
"We finally found out that somebody was using our computer through the laptop or username for (child pornography)," said Simard.
Unsecured networks used for crime
Det. Dan LaHaise of the Hi-Tech Crime Unit says unsecured networks are commonly used for committing criminal acts.
"Not just child porn, I'm talking about fraud, even hacking," LaHaise told CTV News.
LaHaise says the culprit who used the Krueger's wireless network likely lives in the neighbourhood.
"That particular address has a number of town homes nearby in front of it, across the street and beside it, so it could be anybody within that general vicinity, within lets say about a couple hundred feet of their house," said LaHaise. "It's one of their neighbours that's responsible, taking advantage of these people's wireless networks."
The Kruger's now have a secured wireless network in their home and advise others to make sure their networks are also secure.
"We were victims and let me tell you, it's a shock," said Simard.
It's estimated that about 70 per cent of wireless users have not secured their systems.
To make sure your wireless network is secure, computer users are advised to create unique usernames and passwords for their networks. They are also advised to make sure their networks are encrypted.
With a report from CTV's Joanne Schnurr
Watch CTV's extended coverage to find out how you can check if your network is secure.