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Computer crime: UK man sentenced

Date: July 29, 2005
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Jane Wakefield

A recent court case, which saw a West London man fined 500 and sentenced to 12 months' conditional discharge for hijacking a wireless broadband connection, has repercussions for almost every user of wi-fi networks.

It is believed to be the first case of its kind in the UK, but with an estimated one million wi-fi users around the country, it is unlikely to be the last.

"There are a lot of implications and this could open the floodgates to many more such cases," said Phil Cracknell, chief technology officer of security firm NetSurity.

Details in this particular case are sketchy, although it is known that Gregory Straszkiewicz had "piggybacked" on a wireless broadband network of a local Ealing resident, using a laptop while sitting in his car.

He had been seen in the area on several previous occasions over the past three months and is believed to have been reported to police by a neighbour concerned that he was acting suspiciously.

The case is some way away from that of Brian Salcedo, who was sentenced to nine years in a US jail last year for the far more serious crime of siphoning credit card numbers over the wireless network of hardware store Lowes.
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