Wireless thief is caught blackmailing

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.

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.


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