German Court Says Secure Your Wi-Fi or Get Fined

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • N.Broekhuijsen
    unless you live in the middle of nowhere, it is stupid not to secure your network.
  • nawat
    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."
  • peanutsrevenge
    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).
    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.
  • Kryan
    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"


    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!)
  • stromm
    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.
  • nebun
    this is a very good idea
  • Marco925
    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.
  • chunkymonster
    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.
  • C00lIT
    Good, extra work for the techs in Germany.

    It's a good thing overall.