Feeds

Drive-by Wi-Fi 'thief' heavily fined

Michigan man busted for failing to buy coffee

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A Michigan man who parked outside a local Wi-Fi cafe every day to check his email has been fined $400 and sentenced to 40 hours' community service.

Sam Peterson can consider himself unfortunate since if he'd simply popped into the Re-Union Street Cafe in Sparta, Michigan, for a coffee while checking his email he'd have avoided punishment. Peterson was collared for fraudulent access to a computer network after his presence outside the cafe drew the attention of local police chief Andrew Milanowski.

Peterson admitted he was surfing the web using the cafe's unsecured Wi-Fi network. He didn't realise piggybacking on the network might be an offence so it must have come as a surprise when he was summoned to court, charged with offences punishable by a maximum five years' imprisonment.

"I knew that the Union Street had Wi-Fi. I just went down and checked my email and didn't see a problem with that," Peterson told local station WOOD Tv.

Although Peterson escaped prison, his punishment still seems harsh, especially considering his "supposed" victim had no problem with what he was doing - other than the fact he didn't patronise her establishment and his crime was prosecuted as a misdemeanour rather than a felony. Donna May, the owner of the Ru-Union Street Cafe, was far from aggrieved at Peterson's supposed theft of Wi-Fi service.

"I didn't know it was really illegal, either," she told WOOD Tv. "If he would have come in [to the coffee shop], it would have been fine." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.