Secret Downsides of Stealing Wireless Internet - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Secret Downsides of Stealing Wireless Internet

RICHLAND, Wash.- Wireless technology continues to grow and become more available, now people are finding new and creative ways to take advantage of it and save money.

People who live in apartment complexes often find that they can avoid a hefty Internet bill by connecting onto someone else's Internet, but as more people start to catch on, police say it could get both the user and the provider in trouble.

It's as easy as a click of the mouse.

Windows XP and other systems allow users to easily search for wireless networks, find out if they're secured and connect right up, and new technologies are allowing people to connect from further away than ever before.

One person's router can provide access to an entire neighborhood, but that doesn't mean it's legal.

Police say just because you can connect, it doesn't mean you can use it.  But to help protect themselves, the people who own routers also need to make sure their networks are secure.

And you'd never know until the police showed up at your door.  The only way to tell if someone's on your network is to check your router.

The average router can hold hundreds of computers, and the only thing that might tip you off is slower Internet.

It only takes a few keystrokes to stop everyone from logging on.

It's pretty easy to lock down your network.  Most of the time it's in the directions for your router.  If not, just go on your router company's website and they should be able to help out.

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