Man Hacks Neighbors’ Wi-Fi to Frame Them for Child Porn (and More)

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A Minnesota man just got sent down for 18 years for breaking into his neighbors’ Wi-Fi network and trying to “frame them for child pornography, sexual harassment, various kinds or professional misconduct and to send threatening e-mails to politicians, including Vice President Joe Biden,” reports Wired.

Angry with his neighbors, Matt and Bethany Kostolnik, after they reported him to police for allegedly kissing their young son, Barry Ardolf used password cracking software to break the security on their Wi-Fi router. Then, connected to the internet through it, he began setting up email accounts in their names and causing trouble.

(MORE: Fired IT Guy Sticks Porn into CEO’s PowerPoint Presentation)

The FBI got involved because he made the mistake of making death threats against Vice President Joe Biden, thinking it would get the Kostolniks into trouble. Investigators soon worked out that they weren’t the perpetrators.

Wired‘s Threat Level reports:

“After the husband explained to his law office superiors that he had no idea what was happening, his bosses hired a law firm that examined his network and discovered that an ‘unknown’ device had access to it. With Kostolnik‚Äôs permission, they installed a packet sniffer on his network to try and get to the bottom of the incidents.”

If you end up with someone like Ardolf as your neighbor, there’s not much you can do to deter them from trying to hack into your Wi-Fi. His victims had, after all, taken the usual precaution of locking their network down and putting a password in front of it. That wasn’t enough to keep him out, though.

Assuming your neighbors aren’t quite as determined, there are simple steps you can take to make people think twice before trying to connect to your network.

One of those is to edit your Wi-Fi network’s name. The technical term for this is the “SSID” – it’s the name your network shows when other computers are seeking out networks to connect to. Most SSIDs are generic and dull, but if you change yours to something like “$10 Per Minute Access Fee” or “Monitored By Police” or “Too Slow For YouTube,” you’ll at least have a chance of putting off the casual surfer looking for a free ride.

MORE: How Hackers Easily Stole User Data from Citigroup

[via Threat Level]

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