A 22-year-old Queensland man has been arrested after using stolen wireless internet access to send anonymous blackmail messages by email.
The man used a BlackBerry-style handheld device to illicitly gain access to various private Wi-Fi internet networks around the regional Queensland city of Rockhampton, The Australian reports.
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He then sent emails making threats and demanding money from several individuals and organisations, in some cases using the email accounts of owner of the Wi-Fi internet network he was using to hide his identity.
He was eventually arrested in a police sting when he went to collect money he had told one of his blackmail targets to drop off in a local park, and was charged with demanding property by threat and using a “carriage service” to threaten serious harm.
Online security experts say the case highlights the huge security risks posed by theft of Wi-Fi internet services. Australian High Tech Crime Centre director James McCormack said people who use Wi-Fi need to consider encrypting access to their networks to prevent unauthorised access.
“We worry about unsecured networks because it means people have put up a wireless router without taking the time to set the security settings,” McCormack says.