Breaking into my Neighbour’s Wireless Network

My Chilean neighbour accused me of cloning his laptop’s mac address and trying to log into his wireless router.

“Felix” is an older teenager (or perhaps in his early 20s) that I mentored and introduced to various Gnu-Linuxes –such as Debian and Ubuntu– as well as the BSDs. Our last conversation took an accusatory tone; He mentioned that my IP address has been shown to try to break into his router and to clone his laptop’s mac address. He claims he’s actually seen my laptop “acquire” a new mac address, his. Gee, sorry Felix but no software –to my knowledge– will allow you to see this. The best it will allow you is to spot one mac address and then another out of the blue, but this does not mean that one turned into the other. Rather, this is an assumption based on two separate observations that need not be related.

What’s ridiculous is that he doesn’t actually know my laptop mac address or router’s mac address (as he claims) because he’s not physically been on my system, yet he thinks that he knows it, and thus he’s accused me of trying to break into his router’s hot spot. I know that if I was about to do some questionable things, I’d camouflage my mac address with someone else’s (and this before I started broadcasting), meaning I would not access a foreign wireless network with my own mac address. I’m not stupid.

What’s also ridiculous is that my denying his accusations was taken to be a sign of culpability. Gee, I guess I would be assumed innocent if I were to admit to everything. Is this influenced by Chile’s old school “guilty till proved innocent” line of thought? This logic is certainly reminiscent of the Inquisition, but it’s probably just idiosyncratic of simpleton Chilean youth.

He also complained about my changing the name of my wireless network. Gee, sorry for changing my own network’s name and not keeping you up to date or asking for your permission, as if you need to know because my hot spot’s name is your business.

I reserve this term for special cases, so here goes, “you idiot!”. You’re still an amateur if someone can so easily fool you by cloning my mac address for theirs, and getting you to believe it.

Here’s a bit of advice Felix.

  1. Close your router with an encrypted password. This way, you’ll not complain about the average user trying to log onto your wireless router without your permission.
  2. Enable invisible mode on your router so that it doesn’t broadcast its SSID. People can’t log into your wireless router if they can’t see it, now can they?
  3. Change your SSID and encryption regularly, just in case they crack these.
  4. Lastly, minimize the range your wireless covers.

Do the above and be done with it. And don’t come crying to me about someone hacking onto to your network, especially if you’re not doing the above. As for me, let me be clear, I don’t have the time or interest to break into your wireless network. I’ve got other things to worry about, such as grown-up things. Lastly, what’s with you sniffing my router and commenting that it’s up to weird stuff? What business do you have lurking, or enquiring as to what wireless card I have? It seems that I should probably follow my own advice above.

Maurice Cepeda

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3 thoughts on “Breaking into my Neighbour’s Wireless Network

    • Nope.I realized that most? laptops are configured to latch on to the first hotspot around, especially if they can’t find the last one previously used. So I assume he may have been complaining about that behaviour (If even that), the worst case scenario which is incredibly ridiculous.

      Still, I think he was off his rocker when he mentioned my router was doing funny stuff and especially when spoofing his mac address.

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