Criminals exploit open wifi networks, and police could target you because of it


Criminals exploit open wifi networks, and you could wind up under police investigation because of it.

Too many people don’t secure their wireless internet, which leaves them exposed, one local attorney said.

A Lebanon man admitted to using his neighbor’s wifi to download child pornography. But at first, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation went after the people who owned the home wifi network, not realizing 30-year-old Charles Minner was the culprit.

RELATED: Lebanon man pleads guilty in child porn case involving neighbor’s wifi

“It’s disturbing but not surprising,” said Andrew Rossow, an attorney who focuses on  cyber security. 

Even in 2018, too many people don’t secure their wifi networks. 

“We are so open with it because we are accustomed to convenience and we forget a lot of the privacy rights we give up and we also forget to protect ourselves at times also,” Rossow said. 

Rossow said the first thing you should do when you set up your wifi is to secure it by adding a password. If you have trouble any tech store should be able to help. 

A Norton Security survey last year found 25 percent of people said they've accessed a wifi network without the owner’s permission. 

News Center 7’s Kate Bartley met with Rossow at a Kettering neighborhood and showed him her laptop. It took just seconds to find an open network nearby. 

“Right now, you are on their network,” Rossow said. 

“And I could download anything?” Bartley said. 

“You could download, browse websites and do whatever it is you want to do. Open means that it’s open to being exploited,” Rossow said. 

Anyone with an unprotected network should fix that now. Especially because the as the holidays approach more people are online providing sensitive information as they shop for friends and family. 

“People prey on ignorance.” 

That Lebanon man, Charles Minner, will be sentenced on 15 felony charges in December.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com


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