Friday, August 29, 2008

Warwalkers Afoot

Lately I've noticed people with backpacks and laptops sitting in very unusual places outdoors while using their computers, such as doorways and window sills. It didn't take long for it to dawn on me what these people are doing: they're warwalkers—people who walk around with their computers looking for unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots so that they can use someone else's Internet connection for free (and somewhat anonymously).

These warwalkers look like American college students and are quite brazen, since they sit in windows and doors right on the street. I saw one sitting in the doorway of a closed restaurant (I've seen him there many times, it must be his favorite spot), and another one sitting in the window sill of a private residence. I assume the proprietors were on vacation, or they were incredibly unobservant (I'd notice someone sitting in my window).

One wonders exactly what these people are doing on the Internet that requires them to anonymously steal Internet bandwidth instead of just going to one of the thousands of places in the city that offer legitimate Wi-Fi access.

I also wonder if they shoplift and steal electricity as well. Most of them look innocent if you don't realize what they are doing.

This is why I don't use a wireless network at home.

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