Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wireless Internet Security

My wireless security has been compromised.

Now, the worst part isn't that someone is in my network: in fact, I'm pretty impressed by how he* blew through my 20-something character password, with WPA encryption and a hidden SSID. No, the problem is that he's using my bandwidth. Not just a few YouTube videos either: at one point, 12gig in one day.

That is not hacking. He beat me, yes, he broke into my network, smashed my security, and embarrassed me. But he also provided me with a chance to outsmart him, a challenge issued and well received. That is, to me, what hacking is about. Not making viruses, not theft, not damage to another, but the defeat of another in virtual combat: a nerdy battle to the death.

This, however, is not hacking: it is theft. The very nature of a wireless network means that I am always on the defense. To break my security is not necessarily even a negative experience: I guarantee that my defenses will be far stronger, and my security protocols more stringent overall when all is said and done. The bandwidth overages that now plague me have been a significant expense, and have spared this individual from actually paying for his own.

To hack for personal gain to me is not hacking: it is theft. Perhaps I have an overly romanticized view of it, but this is not in the true spirit of hacking.

*It's not sexism, just convenient to stick with one gender. I may not have any statistics that confirm my point to hand, but I assure you that the odds are that my adversary is male.

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