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German Court Says Secure Your Wi-Fi or Get Fined

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 45 comments
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Be responsible netizens, says Germany.

If you live in Germany, then you'd better put a password on your wireless router now.

A German court ruled that those with internet connections hooked up to a wireless access point must put a password to secure it or else face a fine of up to 100 euro, or around $126.

"Private users are obligated to check whether their wireless connection is adequately secured to the danger of unauthorized third parties abusing it to commit copyright violation," the court said, according to the AP.

This ruling came after a musician sued an internet user whose open wireless connection was used to illegally download music over a file sharing network.

The courts, however, will not be holding users responsible for what happens over their wireless network. So, it seems that making a password mandatory is the sensible measure of legal responsibility to put on internet subscribers.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    nawat , May 14, 2010 9:18 AM
    xbeaterunless you live in the middle of nowhere, it is stupid not to secure your network.

    I believe all of us have secured our wireless network. This mainly applies to people who are less tech savvy and just getting the wireless to work for them is already a difficult task not to mention securing it.

    I hope the process to set up and secure wireless network gets easy enough for most users. I just found out that one of my friends still uses default SSID, router IP address, router password, with DHCP turned on, and without encrpytion. You know what that means. I could hear the router screaming "hack me."
  • 12 Hide
    starryman , May 14, 2010 2:55 PM
    Germany next week will pass the following laws:

    1. $300 fine if you don't lock your house doors.
    2. $200 fine for not flushing the toilet.
    3. $140 for not having the password prompt when you start Windows.
    4. $25 for not tying your shoe lace.
    5. $5 for right-clicking your mouse if you are using a Mac.
    6. $40 for not having your daily beer.
    7. $30 for not slugging the next person when they see a VW.
  • 10 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , May 14, 2010 9:08 AM
    unless you live in the middle of nowhere, it is stupid not to secure your network.
Other Comments
    Display all 45 comments.
  • 10 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , May 14, 2010 9:08 AM
    unless you live in the middle of nowhere, it is stupid not to secure your network.
  • 14 Hide
    nawat , May 14, 2010 9:18 AM
    xbeaterunless you live in the middle of nowhere, it is stupid not to secure your network.

    I believe all of us have secured our wireless network. This mainly applies to people who are less tech savvy and just getting the wireless to work for them is already a difficult task not to mention securing it.

    I hope the process to set up and secure wireless network gets easy enough for most users. I just found out that one of my friends still uses default SSID, router IP address, router password, with DHCP turned on, and without encrpytion. You know what that means. I could hear the router screaming "hack me."
  • 3 Hide
    peanutsrevenge , May 14, 2010 10:07 AM
    This is great in theory, but I'm an IT techy that works in peoples houses and ALOT haven't a clue even how to access their router, let alone anything about wireless security.

    Still it's far better than the UKs new Digital Economy Bill where the connection owner IS responsible for what the connection's used for.

    I wonder how this law will effect plublic connections where the key's given out to customers (Libaries, cafes, schools etc).
  • 1 Hide
    CTPAHHIK , May 14, 2010 10:39 AM
    Another law that does not make much sense, yet limits your freedom. If you are not liable for your wireless content people can claim that their wireless was protected, but hacked and used for file sharing.

    I do not block anyone from my router; however, I do try to block all possible file sharing ports for non-static routes and have uPnP disabled. If explicitly set your firewall on home PC to block all non-static IP addressed within your DHCP pool your home PC will never be discovered.

    On the other note, it really sux when people block all access to wireless. When I travel there is a lot of access points, but all of them are either secured or charge for access. In the end I have to pay $15 (hotel charge) to check my email or place a call to relatives. I'm sure there are neighbors around you that do not have high speed internet and would not mind using your occasionally. Do not assume that everyone will run torrents, try to hack or abuse your internet.
  • 9 Hide
    Kryan , May 14, 2010 10:47 AM
    Living in Germany and having leeched off plenty of Open, unsecured routers, I can say that this is a good idea. However, as pointed out, 95% of the people don't even understand what their router is there for. "it's like a modem...connected to my laptop...and it just...works."

    see?

    The government is doing this to try and make some cash back after bailing out that ............. in eastern europe: Greece. man the E.U is so fail right now.

    (buy gold while u can!!!! especially you americans!)
  • 1 Hide
    stromm , May 14, 2010 11:42 AM
    Ohio has had a similar since (IIRC) 2001. There was a big bust of a pedophile in my neighborhood (who I helped catch) and he was floating around on other peoples WiFi and a few ignorant people were fined for allowing open access to illegal content.
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , May 14, 2010 11:45 AM
    this is a very good idea
  • 4 Hide
    Marco925 , May 14, 2010 12:05 PM
    WEP is probably what most people will put on, it's so easy to crack. i don't think it will slow down or deter wardrivers.
  • 7 Hide
    chunkymonster , May 14, 2010 12:22 PM
    Marco925WEP is probably what most people will put on, it's so easy to crack. i don't think it will slow down or deter wardrivers.
    I agree that WEP is easy to crack. However, by cracking it, it proves malicious intent and further absolves the owner of the wireless router from legal action.
  • 1 Hide
    C00lIT , May 14, 2010 12:50 PM
    Good, extra work for the techs in Germany.

    It's a good thing overall.
  • 0 Hide
    scott_madison1 , May 14, 2010 1:23 PM
    nawatI believe all of us have secured our wireless network. This mainly applies to people who are less tech savvy and just getting the wireless to work for them is already a difficult task not to mention securing it.I hope the process to set up and secure wireless network gets easy enough for most users. I just found out that one of my friends still uses default SSID, router IP address, router password, with DHCP turned on, and without encrpytion. You know what that means. I could hear the router screaming "hack me."


    I did that to teach my nephew a lesson one time because he did the same thing. He spent 4 hours on the phone with the isp trying to figure out why it wasn't working. When he found out what I'd done, he sure was ...............!
  • 7 Hide
    heffeque , May 14, 2010 2:03 PM
    xbeaterunless you live in the middle of nowhere, it is stupid not to secure your network.

    Interestingly enough, some people actually LIKE to share their internet connection with society. I know several people that have their internet connection with two SSID, a protected private one and an open public one (it's really easy to do with DD-WRT). The open one is set to have minimum priority in QoS and all is good.

    Not everyone is as greedy as you are it seems.
  • 1 Hide
    Camikazi , May 14, 2010 2:16 PM
    CTPAHHIKAnother law that does not make much sense, yet limits your freedom. If you are not liable for your wireless content people can claim that their wireless was protected, but hacked and used for file sharing. I do not block anyone from my router; however, I do try to block all possible file sharing ports for non-static routes and have uPnP disabled. If explicitly set your firewall on home PC to block all non-static IP addressed within your DHCP pool your home PC will never be discovered. On the other note, it really sux when people block all access to wireless. When I travel there is a lot of access points, but all of them are either secured or charge for access. In the end I have to pay $15 (hotel charge) to check my email or place a call to relatives. I'm sure there are neighbors around you that do not have high speed internet and would not mind using your occasionally. Do not assume that everyone will run torrents, try to hack or abuse your internet.

    Unless those people who want to connect to my net are gonna pay me I will not allow my router to be open, just like I won't let just anyone enter my house unless I know them or am renting an apartment. I don't trust random strangers at all, cause I don't know their intentions and will not get in trouble cause of them, my router stays locked at all times.
  • 2 Hide
    jellico , May 14, 2010 2:21 PM
    chunkymonsterI agree that WEP is easy to crack. However, by cracking it, it proves malicious intent and further absolves the owner of the wireless router from legal action.

    Cracking a network, in an of itself, does NOT prove malicious intent. Lots of us do penetration testing, and have no ill-designs on the networks we crack. It's actually kind of fun to see how quickly you can breech a network.
  • 6 Hide
    sot010174 , May 14, 2010 2:30 PM
    What I don't get is why won't Linksys, D-link and whatever sell their routers with security already enabled with a random password printed on the bottom of the router? Job done!
  • 3 Hide
    eyemaster , May 14, 2010 2:37 PM
    Some people don't mind leaving the wireless router opened for others to use. Some people like to share. Don't be too quick to judge.
  • 1 Hide
    HalJordan , May 14, 2010 2:39 PM
    Marco925WEP is probably what most people will put on, it's so easy to crack. i don't think it will slow down or deter wardrivers.


    True, but why hack when the culprit can just drive down the road a little farther to find more unsecured routers. From my home I could hit up at least 3 unsecured routers. Poor security is better than no security. /shrug
  • 4 Hide
    quantum mask , May 14, 2010 2:46 PM
    I keep mine open. I figure if I'm paying $40 a month for high speed, I'm glad someone is using it while I'm at work.
  • -1 Hide
    cadder , May 14, 2010 2:49 PM
    I've had people come to my house and want to get on my wifi, but can't because of the security. People who aren't as good as some of us have trouble typing in a 40 character password and getting it right the first time, or second or third times, and eventually they give up.

    I'm on my 3rd home router now, and we have our second or 3rd router at work. Each time we have to learn a different system of accessing the router, setting passwords for the router itself, and then entering WEP or WPA passwords. Then on top of that at home I've got 5 wireless devices that we have to change. This would all be a little easier if the manufacturers would standardize a little bit on how their routers work.
  • 1 Hide
    jryan388 , May 14, 2010 2:52 PM
    My brother-in-law was trying to fix my grandmother's router one day, and accidentally signed into a neighbor's router and renamed it with a new password without realizing.
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