Last night I went war ... er ... bussing. From part way through the 879's route as far as the stop nearest home, there must have been over 30 hot spots. At least three weren't encrypted, and "offered" subnets to the passerby.
I'm on an 879 again this morning (2006-09-07, Thursday, after 09:00.) We haven't gone three kilometres yet and already NetStumbler has a list of over 50 hits. About half have WEP and the rest don't. And again about 1 in 10 of the total are open to the public.
Pardon my naivety, but is this the usual state of affairs?
It introduces an interesting ethical issue: no one can stop you stealing another's bandwidth if they don't take steps to protect it. It seems that you can sit in a tree outside their front gate, downloading to your heart's content and they wouldn't know it, until their ISP bills them for exceeding their download allowance, or they ring the ISP to ask why they've been shaped only to be told that one day last week they downloaded 5G of something or other.
NetStumbler's own help file says, under the heading "Wardriving", "... To avoid using the networks that you observe, go to the Network Control Panel and unbind TCP/IP from your wireless LAN card." (Inevitably?) ethics aren't mentioned.
[Later, 09:30] On the way into the Busport (inner city Perth) the list expanded rather dramatically. Some of the SSID's are more meaningful: PCEC_Dimension_Data and BHPB_NiW_Avaya_Voip, for instance. The name "metromesh" keeps coming up ... eight times so far. I wonder what that's all about?
Waiting for a 36 to take me to Midland. May start cycling there next week ... only about 30 kilometres each way.
Now working for Strapper Technologies. More about that later.