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'Extortionist' turns Wi-Fi thief to cover tracks

Oz police set a trap

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An Australian man arrested in an undercover sting has been charged for allegedly tapping into home wireless networks so he could anonymously send threatening emails.

Police say the 22 year-old from Rockhampton, Queensland had sent threatening emails to various individuals since August. To avoid detection, he connected to unencrypted Wi-Fi connections so the IP addresses couldn't be traced back to him. The practice is sometimes called piggybacking. He also spoofed the email address of Tony Sarno, editor of the APC Computer magazine.

At one point, investigators knocked on the door they believed belonged to the perpetrator, but later concluded the elderly couple living there had their wireless connection accessed by someone else.

The break in the case came last week after the suspect sent a letter demanding money be delivered to a park. Police arrested him there without incident. He has been charged with demanding property by threat and using a carriage service to threaten serious harm.

More coverage is here and here. ®

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