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One step can protect you from many Internet crimes


WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  Internet crimes are everywhere, yet a large number of people don’t take the simplest step to protect themselves. That’s according to Eric Szatkowski from the Attorney General’s Office. He says that one step is putting a password and encryption on your wireless router. When criminals with portable devices find unsecured routers at homes, businesses, or apartment buildings, it’s a free and usually unnoticed access to the Internet that is difficult to trace back to them.

Szatkowski says investigators look for the source of illegal activity by tracing the IP address, the unique Internet address that is assigned to the service subscriber.  Even though you may have done nothing wrong, Szatkowski says you could be inconvenienced by an investigation.  In some cases may lose your computer equipment until it’s checked out.  Szatkowski says after your equipment is checked out, investigators can start trying to figure out who used your Internet access through your unsecured router.

He says there have been cases where trace evidence was found in people’s routers that helped identify the actual user, but it’s hard to get. 

Ben Bliss is an advisor and Internet developer at Midwest Communications in Wausau. He says you need to take steps to secure older routers but many new routers are ready out of the box, and often come with a built-in password that you may use or change if desired.

Szatkowski says the vast majority of Internet crimes are not from people finding unsecured routers, but says taking care of your wireless access tools can prevent you from being dragged into an investigation.