WiFi hacking could cost you

Jonesboro, AR - JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Criminals could be stealing from you and not even have to step foot on your property. It is WIFI hacking, and the problem does exist. Numerous people are affected daily, and might not even know it is happening.

So many people don't secure their WIFI. You could drive down any neighborhood, and be able to get access to free internet, but it is when individuals take it a step further that crosses the line. Over the years, with more sensitive information transmitted, individuals need to be aware, without proper security, criminals could be accessing your WIFI network.

"If I'm just the average Joe and somebody's hacking into my WIFI - with the sophistication of the tools now-a-days you will not be aware of what going on," says Tim Blalock, who has a degree in computer networking. "It is security auditing. Preventative maintenance is what I like to call it."

He says in order to prevent hacking you have to be able to think like a hacker.

"In the mind of a hacker I would think the value of the target," he said. "Am I trying to retaliate or disable their network, or use their network to try to hack from their network to get to other networks? So if I was detected it would show I was coming from their location."

"Numerous crimes happen on the internet daily," said Detective Ernest Ward with Jonesboro Police. He say your WIFI is hacked the results could be very damaging. "There is phishing, child pornography, that's traded daily, you have internet fraud, financial identity fraud, purchases that are made with stolen credit cards, all of these, all of them if someone were to hack into your WIFI, everything is going to point to you."

That is because it's tracked to your IP address. Not having the proper security on your WIFI is like locking the front door but leaving the windows open. So if you want to be sure to dead bolt your WIFI, Blalock says, "It's critical to keep up-to-date with all the software patches. If Microsoft comes out with a new patch you need to be aware of that and go ahead click update."

"Change your passwords often and make them hard passwords," Ward said, and if you change your password make sure to change it on the router and each computer.

He also says to keep your network hidden. One of the best ways to keep someone from doing real damage with your WIFI is to have a good firewall.

"There are some out here that you can actually get to, connect to, but you can't go anywhere once you connect," Ward said.

Be aware if someone is caught stealing the internet; they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, and if any information is obtained it's a felony.

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