Would You Warn Your Neighbor If They Had An Unsafe Wireless Network?

When you are the purchaser of a brand new laptop for your home you will, if you are anything like me, have a tendency to explore the settings.

And, if you also bought a new router so that you can have wireless internet in the house, then you will really start to explore!

In the time that you are exploring your new settings you might glance over to the section of your computer where you can connect to a wireless network and that is when you see it…. one of your neighbor’s computers is unprotected and it is easy for anyone to get on their network.

Now this unprotected network could be anybody’s but let’s just say for example that the name of the SSID allows you to make an educated guess as to who the network belongs to.

Should you tell your neighbor or just leave it alone?

C'mon, tell the truth now...

C'mon, tell the truth now...

There are both pros and cons to whether you should tell the person or not.

I will begin with the cons of telling your neighbor that they have an unsafe connection and after that I will give you some of the plus sides of telling them.

In Their Eyes You Just Became A Wireless Hacker

One of the biggest cons of telling your neighbor is that they might think that you somehow messed it up.

A lot of people do not understand how computers and their parts work and so sometimes they will lash out at a person who is trying to help them.

This is something that has happened to me many times – I’ve offerred to help people with their computer problems only to then be accused of causing the problem!

Another con of telling your neighbor is that they might figure if you were smart enough to detect the problem then you are smart enough to fix it which may not necessarily be the case and, guess what…. if you do fix their computer problem for them one time, you automatically become their go to guy for all of their computer troubles.

What starts off as a simple favor then becomes an unpaid part time job for you.

Neither one of these scenarios is desirable!

Alternatively, You Become The Local Computer Hero

The positives that can arise from telling your neighbor that they have a hole in their system are that you will generally feel good – after all, it is nice to help people every now and then and this is a big way to help someone.

Your help can prevent them from having major problems with their network down the road.

Another reason why you might want to help your neighbors if they have a problem with their wireless network is so it doesn’t attract people to try and take advantage of it.

There are plenty of people who war drive and try to leech an internet connection from people.

The less that happens in your neighborhood; the better it is for you.

If the person who is war driving wants to all of the sudden explore the other wireless networks in the area, you do not want them to try and break into yours!

Keeping your wireless network safe is good for you, keeping your neighbors safe might be good for you as well.

The question, then, is would you point out security issues to your neighbor?

And, if you already have done, did it lead to grief or a good friendship?

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Now this one would make for a hard decision, while telling them you probably would also be protecting yourself, not telling them may have its uses also, free connection, just kinda kidding.
    Then if you should help them it may be a continuing thing on a regular basis.
    While i have told friends about security issues an they have been welcomed i have noticed a business owner will sometimes just shrug it off like they dont care.
    Telling family members, thats a whole different ballgame.

    • I totally agree about telling family members but for everyone else its a rather grey area – I’ve certainly regretted giving security advice to some friends, thats for sure.

  2. This post is just screaming for an embedded poll.

    • I tried adding a poll but, unfortunately, it slowed the loading time for the page right down to a crawl 🙁


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