Sheriff says criminals target unsecured Wi-Fi connections

By: Ashley Harding

The Lancaster County Sheriff says there's something many of us do with our internet that could be inviting criminal activity. 

For most people, having Wi–Fi in their home or business is a necessity, so is having a password. Thor Schrock owns a computer repair store here in Lincoln. He says having a password is a must.

 “Imagine you took your phone inside your house and hung it on the wall outside your house or maybe on the mailbox by the curb. Anybody who drove by could pick up that phone and make a phone call. You have no record of who was called or what was said. The same thing can happen with your Wi–Fi,” said Schrock.

Officials say having an open connection can invite trouble and criminals are taking advantage. They say terrorists have used them to communicate amongst themselves to avoid detection. Others use them to download child pornography. Here in Lancaster County, a suspect used someone else's Wi–Fi to open a fake credit card. The scary thing is, it gets traced back to you.

 “The investigation led us to that IP address of that open Wi–Fi connection. So we knock on somebody's door and they have no idea what we're talking about and it was somebody that was really nearby that had accessed their internet account,” said Sheriff Terry Wagner.

Officials say protecting yourself is key. When you get a router, change the default password and keep it private. You should also buy anti-virus software.

“It doesn't matter how you restrict it, whether you turn off the SSI broadcast or all that stuff. If you don't have a password on it, you're a sitting duck and you need to secure it quickly,” said Shrock.

Officials say if you have any questions about securing your Wi–Fi connection, contact the company that manufactured your wireless router. Your internet service provider can also help.

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