Linux Blog

Linux Wireless Morals

Filed under: General Linux — at 2:40 pm on Monday, April 7, 2008

Is it moral for some one who uses Linux to borrow some ones Wireless?

Lets say you are at a hot spot and you need to jump online really quickly but some the internet house your are at charges for wireless. Is it moral to connect to some one else’s wifi?

Maybe you just moved and the internet has not arrived at your house yet. Is it moral to use a neighbors for an undefined amount of time before you are settled in and have the internet set up?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may either be cheap (like me) or have low morals. Either way, there are ways to protect your identity and information while borrowing wireless by using Linux.

A good way to protect your self while borrowing some one else’s wireless is to tunnel with SSH. You can use a squid proxy on a port and set up your SSH to forward a local port to the squid server. Once this is done your unencrypted http traffic is now tunneled through an encrypted SSH session. If the person who owns the wireless network (or any one else) were to sniff the packets they would just see the destination address and not the full traffic information.

Use SSH for everything that is unencrypted. SSH to a known host and use these protocols here. FTP and POP are good examples of protocols that can be used by SSH. Don’t use an instant messenger through the internet, it is very easy to sniff the packets. Some times a friend may give out incriminating information which could get you in trouble.

A good device to help with protecting your information while using some one else’s wireless is DD-WRT. Once installed on a supported device it has many functions that can be used. Bridging mode, VPN passthru, advanced routing can all be used to protect your information. DD-WRT would be especially good if set up as a bridge to the other persons wireless. You could use a NAT firewall to hid how many devices you really have connected and change the mac addresses of the clients.

In the future I’ll be showing you more ways to hide your privacy while using wireless technologies so stay tuned!



Comment by Diazamet

April 8, 2008 @ 5:30 am

Rather than set up Squid, you could just use ‘ssh -D’ which will treat your SSH connection as a SOCKS proxy.


Comment by Greg

April 8, 2008 @ 7:08 am

In my view if someone has an unencrypted network they are usually not smart enough to know whos using it or dont care. So I would consider that a public access point. But if you feel you have to go through measures to hide your identity then obviously you feel you are doing something wrong and as such shouldnt be doing it at all. By using countermeasures to hide your identity you are simply making prosecution easier by showing criminal intent.


Comment by Owen

April 8, 2008 @ 9:42 am

Its not criminal intent but rather to protect my information such as website cookies and sessions for sites that I log into from other prying eyes. I would rather not log into Facebook or send my POP password over clear text if I were using a public access point. I’d rather know that when my iwconfig is set to connect to any that I have a way to securely access sensitive information.


Comment by Aaron at

April 10, 2008 @ 10:10 am

I don’t think it’s wrong to “borrow” someone else’s wifi, I do, however, draw the line at borrowing someone else’s wifey.

Great blog Owen.


Comment by Owen

April 10, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

@Aaron haha I totally agree with that one. Thanks for the comment!

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