Police Raid Wrong House, Steal 18-Year-Old Girl's Computer Thanks to Unsecured WiFi Connection


Police in front of house

When Evansville, Indiana, police officers started receiving threats against their families, they acted fast. The police traced the threats to the IP address of the Milan family on East Powell Avenue. And on June 21, they sent in a SWAT team to put on an impressive show of force. 

Evansville police arrived at the the home of 18-year-old Stephanie Milan and her grandmother, smashing an already-open door and tossing a couple of flashbang grenades in the building. The police said say they knocked, but that knocking in these instances is intended to "distract."

Lucky for us—and for the Milan family—the cops also thoughtfully invited a local news crew, which recorded the results for the world to see.

In the video, the knocking is not apparent. After smashing the window and busting open the door, they throw in two flashbang grenades, and then barge into the building to do their thing. The stated reason for the raid was that the police officers were concerned for the safety of their families. Yet they seem to show little concern about the prospect of bringing loaded guns into a family home. They also took Stephanie's computer and cellphone for analysis.

After the raid, police determined that the WiFi connection was unsecured, meaning that anyone could have borrowed the connection to post the threats. Well, mistakes happen.

Repairs to the house were made at city expense. But were there any lessons learned?

In pursuing another lead on the same case this Monday, law enforcement visited another house. This time, they knocked. The Evansville Police Department is making no attempt to apologize for their raid on the Milan home, however.

As Ars Technica noted in its coverage of the event, incidents of this nature are common, and easily solved with the most trivial of precautions. Police: Check to see if a network is unsecured before you start smashing doors. Internet users: Secure your network, for crying out loud.

Find more on overzealous police raids, look here, here, here, here, and here.

ReasonTV covered police raids here.

NEXT: Steven Greenhut on the Supreme Court, Public Sector Unions, and the First Amendment

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  1. Internet users: Secure your network, for crying out loud.

    Sorry, but I'm not going to put any blame on a teenage girl and her grandma, who probably don't have a heck of a lot of technical literacy, probably not even enough to know what the difference between a secured and unsecured wifi network is, much less how to implement one, or why you would want to.

    1. If they were technically proficient enough to set up the wifi in the first place, they're technically proficient enough to set a password. Seriously? It's more work not to secure it with most router installations. If it's unsecured it's unsecured by choice.

      And the "teenage girl" in question is a legal adult; also nice misogyny you've got going there with the assumption that she's not technically proficient because she doesn't have testicles.

      1. If it's unsecured it's unsecured by choice.

        That's simply not true at all. Most wi-fi routers don't require any setup. Plug the wires in and go.

        1. Every router I've had has required setup.

          1. I guess you haven't owned every router on the market then.

        2. I mean, how can you even find the network on your computer if you haven't set anything up?

          1. Plug in the wires, boot everything up, it'll show up as "Linksys" or "Netgear" or whatever.

            1. IT turns out I have five neighbors that are facilitating crimes in my neighborhood alone!

              Who would have thunk it!

              1. Yeah. This. I've also run "open" networks with a whitelist. Why remember two passwords when you can just add a new MAC address and save the password in your browser?

                1. I've also run "open" networks with a whitelist.

                  That's a secured network, just with a different kind of security.

              2. Well, you have two choices:

                1. Inform your neighbors of their likelihood of becoming accessories to criminal behavior.

                2. Call SWAT to take down those fuckers.

                I'd pick option 2.

          2. I mean, how can you even find the network on your computer if you haven't set anything up?

            tulpa, most people don't want to find "another computer" on their network. They want to find a thing called "the internet".

            With modern (routers made within the last 15 years), DHCP and the like make it very simple to do so.

            Most people also forget that to qualify for the 802.11 WiFi standard, your network has to install unsecured. That's actually part of the standard. Whether that's changing with the newer standards such as 802.11n etc., I haven't kept up.

            1. No. It hasn't changed. Although most setups will walk you through security immediately and big ISPs will come out and install a router for you and put an initial password on it.

              1. When Fios installed the connection at my house, they setup the modem/router unsecured. As soon as the technician left I changed all the settings.

            2. ulpa, most people don't want to find "another computer" on their network. They want to find a thing called "the internet".

              OK, what does that have to do with what I said? My question was how do you find the NETWORK to connect to if you don't know the name.

              1. Sorry, I misinterpreted your statement.

                Now you're talking about hiding the SSID, which is considered a poor practice in proper wifi setup. And hiding the SSID isn't locking the network anyway. That's amateur-hour security.

                SSIDs should be broadcast, but locked down.


                1. But none of this matters, Tulpa. Because the police were wrong, used the wrong tactics, and should be reprimanded, and the person who ordered the raid should be fired without a pension.

                  PS: My hospital offers an open wifi connection for patients. SWAT gonna raid us everytime some yahoo on the street makes dodgy threats to the cops?

                  The logic that she gets whatever she deserves because her wifi was open is wanting. Just admit it and walk away with what dignity you have left.

      2. She was 18, so whatever the police did to her was A OK. Got it.

        1. Hello Mr Strawman!

          1. You are a blithering idiot.

      3. She's not fucking responsible for the cops' fuck-ups, or the barbarity of their raid.

        1. but was a dog shot?

          1. No, no cops were shot. Didn't you read the article?

      4. also nice misogyny you've got going there with the assumption that she's not technically proficient because she doesn't have testicles.

        Hello Mr Strawman!

        1. Right? The "not technically proficient" couldn't have come from the fact that she had an unsecured network - noooo.

          1. Interesting that he brought up the totally unrelated genders and ages of the people involved, then.

            Plus, that would be a circular argument anyway. "It's not their fault for having an unsecured network, because having an unsecured network means you're not technically proficient, which means you don't know how to secure the network."

            1. Tulpa, simmering in your own geeky juices; I'm sure lots of technical things seem extremely obvious to you. But not everyone is as brilliant as your are.

              And thanks for the thoughtful accusation of misogyny. It was shitty of me to ignore the fact that 99% of teenage girls and grandmas are techno-wizards.

              1. You'd be justified in assuming an elderly person (of either gender) is not technically proficient. Not an 18 year old.

                1. You'd be justified in assuming an elderly person (of either gender) is not technically proficient. Not an 18 year old.

                  Bullshit. Your average 18-year-old can show you all sorts of ways to re-arrange your facebook page or find the right video on YouTube once the network is configured, but configuring that network is mystery to them.

                  1. configuring that network is mystery to them.

                    This. My 17-year-old daughter sat at home with no Internet for 6 hours the other day because a storm knocked out the power long enough to upset the modem and router. She had no idea how to even reset them both to get back online.

                2. There's a difference between being good at playing on the web and having hardware skills. A huge difference.

                3. You'd be justified in assuming an elderly person (of either gender) is not technically proficient. Not an 18 year old.

                  I don't know what 18 year old's you're exposed to, but uhh, there's a shit-ton of 18 year old's who are very savvy about setting up their facebook and twitter accounts, using apps on their iphones, but have next to zero knowledge on how the right way to set up an IP network with proper subnets, gateways and DNS settings, or what those things even mean or the significance of getting something slightly wrong.

                  And don't get me started on doctors who think they're networking technicians.

            2. God damn you are a contrarian ass sometimes Tulpa.

              It couldn't have anything to do with those being the facts of this particular case. Nope, none at all.

              (now if a similar story comes out about a boy and his grandfather and Joe doesn't mention their genders or ages you might have a point.)

      5. Maybe it had WEP. That's as good as unsecured.

        1. In a world of wide open wifi, it's the same as having a cheap lock on the door. If I'm looking for open wifi, why am I going to waste time on your padlock, when I can walk down to the next house and find it unlocked.

          Now, if I have a particular reason to hack your network and am willing to spend the time, then yes, WEP is easy to crack.

          1. The thing is, there's really no time involved at all. You can hack it in a couple of minutes with readily available software. In some ways it's worse than an open network, because people *think* they are safe, and in a case like above, you might get cops who don't realize that anybody could have cracked it in minutes.

      6. "If it's unsecured it's unsecured by choice.'

        This might be dumbest thing I've read today. Not the worst or most horrible- the dumbest. You obviously have no techno-retarded relatives.

    2. The router and internet connection are hers to do with what she wishes. No excuses should be afforded the Alliance thugs for their incompetence.

      1. Broadcasting death threats is one hell of an externality.

        1. Methinks the police need to hire someone who knows how to, you know, set up an IP network so he can advise them on things like, "Yes, if the suspect has an open wifi, then the thread could have come from anyone in town. So maybe busting through the door and throwing flashbangs isn't your best strategy.

          Which wouldn't be the best fucking strategy even if the wifi were locked down. Because it's not the best strategy.

          1. Are you saying that busting into peoples' homes and wrecking up the place is not the best strategy?

            1. If they haven't traced the threat to a home with a known felon who has a bumper sticker that says, "Fuck the po-lice", has a "Born to lose" tattoo on his arm and has a long record of doing thrill-seeker liquor store holdups and all evidence points to the fact that, when he's at home in front of the TV drunk with the old lady in the back room, he's armed and dangerous, then the institution that is police should give pause before tossing flashbangs.

              Or, in more technical terms, when the police have no direct evidence to believe they're going to die in a hail of gunfire from Earl "I'll never be taken alive" FelonBanger, then increased tactical risk must be taken by the police officers to insure the safe investigation of the premisis.

  2. Hey, they actually let you keep the article up today. I guess reason was too busy SWATting the SC ruling yesterday to let something like this get in the way.

  3. Leaving your wifi unsecured so that scumrats can commit internet crimes using it is like leaving your car unlocked so bank robbers can use it as a getaway car. Maybe it's not illegal, but you shouldn't be surpised when you're the suspect and are treated as such.

    1. Maybe it's not illegal? IT IS NOT ILLEGAL. PERIOD. And if a criminal steals your unlocked car and uses it to commit another crime, you have no liability for that whatsoever. So what is the point of you ridiculous analogy?

      1. He's defending the actions of the police like a good little copper cock gobbler.

        1. Not quite -- the raid was waaaaay over the top and bee on the pail.

          Just questioning the handwringing over this "innocent girl" getting a visit from the cops.

          1. There wouldn't have been any "handwringing" if the fucking turds in blue had just paid her a visit to investigate instead of sending a fully armed and armored paramilitary brigade to investigate.

            1. *a normal visit

              1. I thought this was the new normal?

            2. I have to agree. But once the handwrining starts I must deploy.

          2. What's with the quotes around innocent? Do you have some sort of soooper seeekrit evidence that she was a manipulative criminal mastermind behind threats to the police? She's either innocent of any crime (by all evidence) or she's not. The stupid scare quotes don't make any sense.

          3. You put "innocent" in scare quotes, Tulpa. Why?

          4. "bee on the pail"?

            That's awesome in some way, I'm sure.

        2. Naaah.

          One of the Tulpa's fine qualities is that he considers himself to be the sole arbiter of what's reasonable.

          If he had a fetish about chastity belts and made his wife wear one, he'd be on these threads arguing that women who weren't wearing a chastity belt were totally asking to be raped.

          If he liked painting his own house, then anybody burgled by a guy they hired to paint their house would be totally asking for it, ad nauseam.

          He makes a point of securing his network, so therefore anyone who doesn't totally deserves any misfortune that befalls them.

          1. Yep, this sounds accurate.

          2. He's also a copper cock gobbler.

          3. If you think it's an unreasonable expectation you're free to make your case.

            And as always I must say "Hay!" to your strawman; indeed, in both cases you mention, it's the victim of the crime who the Tulpa inside your head is blaming, not an accessory to the crime. Quite different (as well as being totally untrue, unsurprising since you don't even know me in real life enough to make that diagnosis).

            1. I've heard of people intentionally leaving their wireless networks unsecured so that people who can't or don't pay for internet can have access.
              Call it "sharing" if you will.
              Granted I think it's unwise, but to raise it to the level of committing a crime simply because it isn't what you would do is nothing short of pompous arrogance.

              1. Pompous arrogance? Tulpa? Nooooooooo.

              2. but to raise it to the level of committing a crime simply because it isn't what you would do

                I'm (a) not for raising it to the level of a crime and (b) not doing it "simply because it isn't what I would do". You and tarran have some serious strawman issues. Other than that you hit the nail on the head.

                If you want to be the Mother Teresa of wifi, go for it. Just expect to face consequences when people bite the hand that feeds them with something like this.

                A crime was committed with the aid of their property, and a BASIC means of preventing that abuse was not taken.

                1. Using someone else's property without their knowledge or any intent on their part does not make them accessories. Even if the intent is there most jurisdictions also require some overt act as well.

                  1. Dude, mens rea is, like, totally outdated.

                2. a BASIC means of preventing that abuse was not taken.

                  Seriously, are you aware that almost every OTS wireless router comes with a little book that shows how to plug it in and go so that even technical retards can setup a wireless network?

                  No, obviously we should SWAT every computer illiterate person who just wanted to turn on a little box with flashy lights so they could use their laptop in another room.

                3. "I'm (a) not for raising it to the level of a crime"

                  Yes, you are. For example:

                  "it's the victim of the crime who the Tulpa inside your head is blaming, not an accessory to the crime"

                  a. Being an accessory to a crime is a crime.
                  b. You are accusing the girl of being an accessory to a crime. Yes, you are, see quote. Seriously, you really really are.

              3. Good thing Tulpa is here to once again show us that he is completely ignorant of how criminal law actually functions. Calling these people accessories is absurd.

                1. It's pretty sickening. But he can't help but look for a way to somehow blame the victims.

                  1. But he can't help but look for a way to somehow blame the victims.

                    The alternative would be to question authority, which he is hardwired to worship.
                    So he must blame the victim.

                2. They're not accessories in legal terms, but they did provide aid to the crime (unwittingly).

                  Also, of course, I condemned the implementation of the raid but the folks here can't let the truth get in the way of a good strawman.

                  1. It's good that you're condemning the implementation of the raid. It's bad that you think the women are responsible in any way.

                  2. Maybe it is because the majority of your posts have blamed the victim of the raid. Which likely means you don't condemn the raid at all but are saying so only to try and save face.

              4. ditto, I have an old G router on a DMZ that is wide open for neighbors to use. It isn't like I use all the bandwidth I have, and if they saturate, I can just unplug them.

            2. Except, even the police have determined she wasn't an accessory to a crime. Period. End of story.

              1. Legally. Not morally.

            3. Well, strictly speaking, the article makes clear that the police had to take the equipment into the lab to determine that it was unsecured. Do you think its reasonable to expect every citizen to have enough knowledge to secure a network, when you don't expect the police to be able to figure out if a network is secure?

              1. No, that's not it. They took the computer to the lab to determine that it was not the computer used to make the threats.

                The fact that the network was unsecured did not automatically mean they hadn't made the threats.

                1. No, but it should have caused them to do a bit more actual investigation. But then they wouldn't get to play with their fun toys and act like tough guys.

      2. Yep, but it's not the cops' fault for suspecting you of the crime. You were an accessory, if an unwitting one.

        There has to be some deterrent to people helping criminals by their negligence.

        1. Tulpa's little brother, right? Or Tulpa's kid. Or one of Tulpa's friends spoofing, right? Not even Tulpa would just the shark like this.

          "There has to be some deterrent to people helping criminals by their negligence."


          1. I'm not talking some heroic sacrifice here. Just basic, common sense precautions to avoid helping criminals.

            Should it be required by law? Probably not, too messy. But it is required by morality and basic civic virtue. Just like locking your car without the spare keys inside, locking up your guns, etc.

            1. 1) I never lock up my gun unless somebody I don't know is running around my house.

              2) I often don't lock my car at all, and I've left the keys in the car before.

              3) "Civic virtue"? Che Dio benedica la tua virt? singolare, oh grande arbitro, oh Mussolini!

            2. There has to be some deterrent to people helping criminals by their negligence.

              Should it be required by law? Probably not, too messy.

              Make up your mind.

              1. No contradiction there. Dealing with the unpleasantness of being treated as a felony suspect is deterrent.

                1. No contradiction there. Dealing with the unpleasantness of being treated as a felony suspect is deterrent.

                  And being guilty unless proven innocent is a deterrent too. Good thinking!

            3. But it is required by morality and basic civic virtue.

              WTF, are you saying someone with an unsecured wifi is immoral?

              1. Non si pu? mettere in dubbio l'arbitro grande, si pagano insolente!

              2. WTF, are you saying someone with an unsecured wifi is immoral?

                That is exactly what he is saying.

                Not securing your internet is inviting someone to commit a crime with your IP, and thus completely and totally warrants having your pets killed and your property stolen.

                You deserved it you stinking unsecured wifi user.

                Die in a fire!

              3. Either immoral or blissfully unaware of the evils that can be perpetrated with a stolen IP address. Either way, they'll benefit from a good kick in the pants.

                1. You've officially jumped the shark. Congratulations.

                  1. RPA, why should he care about what you think, you've already admitted to being immoral and with no civic virtue AT ALL.

                  2. Either way, they'll benefit from a good kick in the pants.

                    You've officially jumped the shark. Congratulations.

                    Yeah, that's pretty much it for me. Nothing like an armed police raid to give you "a good kick in the pants".

                2. Either way, they'll benefit from a good kick in the pants.

                  If nothing else, they will hate the police and the asshats who support everything they do. That is a benefit.

                3. I eagerly await the kick in the pants coming to everyplace who offers free wi-fi, like McDonald's and Starbucks.

                  Are they deserving of the kick (delivered by SWAT, if necessary) or just private citizens?

                  1. I eagerly await the kick in the pants coming to everyplace who offers free wi-fi, like McDonald's and Starbucks.


                    I doubt he thought of that.

                  2. I hadn't thought of that. Yes, they should be encouraged to have people register to use the free wifi.

                    1. Would you be okay with the police serving a warrant on the McDonald's because the threat came from their IP?

        2. Great point!
          I say that leaving your car unlocked should be a felony!
          Unsecured router? Off with her head!
          Someone breaks into your house, steals your gun, and uses it in a crime? Death by firing squad!

          Tulpa, you're a genius!

          1. I believe this is GynSgt Hartman argument: "If it wasn't for dickheads like you, there wouldn't be any thievery in this world, would there?"

            1. I'm surprised no one put the FMJ explanation up earlier, but at least I read the comments and didn't make a fool of myself. 😀

          2. Tulpa is saying that while the raid itself was not conducted properly, it's not really the police's fault if you carelessly make your property available for criminals to use in a way that points straight back to you as a suspect forensically.

            Even if the cops did show up at the house, whip out the wifi on their cell phones, and see that the router is unsecured, that's still their best lead on the crime. And since the crime involved violent threats against the police, you can bet that "officer safety" will be a high priority, if you catch my drift.

        3. It's not the cops fault for suspecting you of a crime even when they shouldn't have. Blame 18 year old for her use of unsecured internet? Check. Absolve cops of breaking down the door and using grenades to terrorize innocent people? Check. All ina day's work for a statist fuck.

        4. Yep, but it's not the cops' fault for suspecting you of the crime. You were an accessory, if an unwitting one.

          There has to be some deterrent to people helping criminals by their negligence.

          The city of Seattle maintains open wifi networks. If I make a dodgy threat to someone in the police force, do we SWAT raid the mayor, Tulpa?

          Wait, fuck... Tulpa's on to something.

        5. SWAT raids are not (supposed to be) some sort of extrajudicial punishment for annoying a thug in a blue suit. If they are being used that way, the person authorizing it needs to get a stone tablet with the bill of rights carved into it crammed up their ass.

    2. What? There's no legal requirement to secure your network, nor are you morally responsible for people pirating your connection to do bad things.

      Not to mention, some basic forensics here--like driving by and seeing the wide-open network--might've clued them at least to the possibility.

      It's a tangled web when we allow these kinds of raids. Even more tangled when we try to justify them.

      1. Checking the network from outside might have been a gentler thing to do, yes. But they still need to be made aware of the dangers of router promiscuity.

        1. Might have been gentler than breaking down their door and brandishing guns! Might! And you have to love the justification at the end -- well, at least this violent raid educated these folks on securing the their router, so some good came of it. Unbelieveable.

        2. I just don't get that reasoning. A reasonably foreseeable risk of an open network are cops blowing your door down and coming in armed to the hilt?

          I have no problem with suspecting someone because something appears to be happening at their location. Not surprising. But there's a long, long way from that to violent and possibly life-threatening entry.

          Once they had determined that the network was open, the strong possibility that it wasn't them should've maybe tempered their response.

          It's ridiculous what we've come to, where this is even arguable.

          1. I just don't get that reasoning. A reasonably foreseeable risk of an open network are cops blowing your door down and coming in armed to the hilt?

            No, it's not. But once you suggest that, you stick with that reasoning rather than back down. Otherwise your reputation might become besmirched.

            As was pointed out above, if you secure your router with WEP, it's quite easy to crack (Airsnort!), so you could take the logic further and say, "Well, she used WEP which is 'as good as unsecured' so therefore we can flashbang the entire building!"

            Or maybe, because you secured it with WEP, it gives them even greater justification because now you've got some semblence of security, so that makes it even more likely the dodgy threats were coming from within, so if you secure with WEP, we can shoot your dog.

            If you secure with WPA, then we can just walk in and shoot everyone on the premisis.

            If you've secured with a RADIUS server using AES, then we can bomb your house from 30,000 feet using Dronez!

            1. This reminds me a bit of the debate that went on during the carefree 90s when the Clinton administration was working tirelessly to inflict the Clipper chip on all of us. And of some similar anti-encryption measures in force back then.

              Basically, strong encryption was something they tended to view as suspicious, in and of itself.

              1. Basically, strong encryption was something they tended to view as suspicious, in and of itself.

                My reading of the Zeitgeist is they still do.

                "Clipper chip". Oh how I remember those days. Lulz!

        3. with guns, smashed down down doors, shattered windows, and flash grenades?

          1. with guns, smashed down down doors, shattered windows, and flash grenades?

            Officer safely; yours be damned.

            1. *safety*

        4. But they still need to be made aware of the dangers of router promiscuity.

          The only "danger" was the fucking police raid.

    3. You mean leaving my wifi unsecured so my neighbors can borrow it without asking me for a password is like leaving my tools where my neighbors know where to get them.

    4. How fucking stoopid is this statement?

    5. Locking your car? That's crazy. Just encourages people to break your windows.

    6. I actually agree with Tulpa here (to an extent). However, allow me to explain. There is simply no excuse for having an unsecured wifi. Does this mean the girl and the grandmother deserved this militaristic intrusion? Au contraire, of course not. These is how cops get popped IMHO. Justifiably so as well. Personally, if someone crashes into my home, you shall certtainly be reading about it the next day. In sum, the victims here have NO culpability whatsoever. Unsecured network, stupid yes, a crime deserving of such display of an overzealous cop frenzy, certainly not.

      /back to work

      HAve a nice weekend folks.

      1. *"This is how," not "These."

  4. From the article:

    "While Thursday's raid may not have netted an arrest yet, the investigation is far from over. It's an investigation that hits close to home for many of these brave officers.

    "They're making threats and we're going to address that. We owe that to our families, to our children and to the community. We're not going to let these types of people take over and have us scared in our own homes."


    Sorry little girl, but we had to break your house and use grenades against you and your grandma. We owed it to our families to terrorize yours.

    1. Some families are more important than others.

  5. Clearly, the cops were putting on a show for the camera.

    After all, once they had the IP address, and had mapped it to a residence (by supoenaing the ISP) the next step is to investigate the residents.

    I they thought the people living there were dangerous, they would not have brought the TV cameras.

    The appropriate response would have been to knock on the door and present a warrant for the computers, not to conduct a live-fire training exercise.

    1. This sums it up well.

    2. They could have brought a lap top too, and maybe noticed that there was no password needed to get on the wifi. They would entail non-Eric-Cartmanesque policmen though.

      1. Not even a laptop. I'm sure most/all of those cops had phones with WiFi capability in their pockets.

      2. Or cops with the first clue about IT. Until the police have some liability for excessive use of force in executing warrants, shit like this will keep happening. I have previously proposed that if police want to conduct paramilitary raids, they should have to do the whole thing, including audio and video surveillance to identify all parties who may be involved in their raid to the judge before getting a warrant. It would take care of 99% of the problems if they had to present a list of photos and schedule of all known residents and regular visitors.

      3. Hell, any basic smart phone would have been enough.

      4. Good imagery Emmerson!

        Because fuck you that's why.

  6. Good thing they didn't have a dog.

  7. Whew, I am glad we could get away from the SCOTUS coverage back to the indefatigableness of pigs acting like fucking pigs.

    1. Just wait for when the fucking pigs get to enforce the individual mandate...HOLY SHIT!

  8. I'm not sure how much "securing your network" can help. It can actually hurt. Breaking WEP protection is trivial. Breaking other types of protection is more difficult, but it can be done. And IP addresses (and MAC addresses) can be easily spoofed.

    And if that stuff is broken, the cops would have even more reason to look at you, since it "had" to have come from your house, since your WiFi was protected?

    1. Meh, most people looking for a wireless connection will skate past anything with even minimal security set up. It's just easier to drive on and find an unsecured line.

      1. True, but if you wanted to SWAT somebody...

        1. Or even better wanted to get away with an actual online crime.

          If you used an unsecured network eventually the cops would figure out that the owner of it wasn't the guilty party. However if you cracked the network and spoofed the owners Mac Address you could do your worst and then the investigation would stop right there with the poor sap you hacked because "obviously the crime came from his house because the network is secured so he is guilty" after that, the cops stop looking for the real guilty party.

    2. You don't mention how it can hurt.

      And yeah, no means of protection is going to be totally impenetrable. But it's one thing to have a skilled criminal evade your barriers and another to not have a barrier at all.

      It's not hard to pick locks if you have enough practice; that doesn't mean you shouldn't lock your stuff up.

      1. But you're not responsible if someone takes advantage of your not locking your shit up to commit a crime. Do you understand that?

        1. But you should be RPA, because you have an obligation to society to keep all of your things locked up so nothing bad can happen. And if you get SWAT called on you then it's your fault for not being a good citizen.

        2. Legally, no. Morally, maybe. Particularly if the thing you failed to secure is inherently useful for crime.

          If you leave your pantyhose out and a bank robber steals it and uses it as a mask, I could forgive that. But not leaving your gun or car free for the taking.

          1. "If you leave your pantyhose out and a bank robber steals it and uses it as a mask, I could forgive that. But not leaving your gun or car free for the taking."

            So after they've committed an illegal act by taking your stuff, your responsibility is still intact? That's fucked up.

            1. So after they've committed an illegal act by taking your stuff, your responsibility is still intact? That's fucked up.

              If I made it easy it's not fucked up at all. I would be sick to my stomach if my gun got stolen and used against an innocent person.

              1. Unless you left your keys in the ignition and the door open, I don't think the car is close to the gun.

          2. Oh, yeah. I forgot, you're the guy that thinks I should have multiple layers of security on anything potentially useful to a criminal so I don't bear some moral cuplability after he breaks into my house and steals my shit. Because, after all, I was at fault for his B and E and all.

            At least you're consistent. Deranged, but consistent.

          3. Sure, Tulpa. And the girl walking home from the club at night deserved to be raped for dressing like that, right?

          4. If you leave your pantyhose out and a bank robber steals it and uses it as a mask, I could forgive that. But not leaving your gun or car free for the taking.

            But both the pantyhose and gun were used in the commission of a crime. To be consistent, you would have to consider both immoral.

        3. "If it weren't for assholes like you who leave their goddamned footlocker unlocked, there wouldn't be any thievery!"

  9. Are you SURE they didn't raid the house because Grandma was suspected of not paying her Health Care Tax??

    1. It might be just a rumor, but I thought I saw somewhere that the cops were commenting on what big eyes, ears, and mouth she had.

      1. "DOG!"

        BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM clicklicklick...

        1. BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMB clickclick...

          Did we get it? WTF were we shooting at, dude?

          1. Uh, guys, I just called in fire. May want to get to minimum safe distance.

    2. Not this time, but you know that's what's next. SWAT door-busting on Health Resistors and Health Terrorists.

  10. Securing the network is not even remotely close to the point. Sending the SWAT team in for stuff like this is absurd, and is just a way of meting out punishment without due process. The police probably suspect the actual perpetrators will get away with a slap on the wrist.

    Unfortunately for the family, they got punished for something they had no part of. If the police would actually investigate things this wouldn't happen regardless of unsecured networks.

    1. They're probably doing it because of that new law allowing people to defend themselves violently against unlawful cop antics.

      "Well, if they're now empowered to make us stop doing immoral and barbaric shit, just send in the paramilitary brigade and overwhelm them with raw force!"

      1. ^^This^^

    2. If Mr Thompson had only dealt with the raid, I would have had no prob. It's his attempt to mitigate the responsibility of the wifi donors that I have a problem with.

      1. You've officially jumped the shark. Congratulations.

        1. It's more proof that people with PhDs aren't necessarily smart about things outside their field.

          1. Someone should tally up the different fields Tulpa gets completely wrong in every thread.

          2. I have never tried to use my degree as an "I are smarter than you" license. That was MNG.

            I back my points up with cogent, rational, and witty argumentation.

            1. I back my points up with cogent, rational, and witty argumentation.

              Citation needed, Tulpster.

            2. Don't forget the self flattery. Are you jacking off to a picture of yourself right now?

      2. What is the responsibility of the wifi donors for the police breaking down their door and holding them at fucking gunpoint? Perhaps you can enlighten us as you try in vain to justify this raid while professing that you are really doing no such thing. The sophistry is so obvious that you may as well drop it already.


        Jesus Christ Tulpa! And you wonder why you're mocked by the AOG.

    3. meting out punishment without due process.

      That's exactly what it was.

  11. Also, Tulip = MuNG

    1. Nah, generally MNG was the type of person who would disagree without being 'disagreeable'. Tulpa disagrees and is is a dick as well.

      1. It's because he's better than you and he knows it.

      2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

        Cause I remember some very heated threads with MNG.

      3. It's more the "arguing ad infinitum" that's the same to me.

        Give it a fucking rest already.

        1. All I did was opine on the raid, just like everyone else here. Unlike everyone else here, I immediately was accosted with insults and strawmen.

          If I don't respond, how will any of you respect me?

          1. "unlike everyone else here"


            That WAS good! Have a good weekend, Tulip!

          2. You'll know if we call you in the morning, I guess.

          3. Your first 3 posts in this thread -- at a minimum -- had nothing to do with the raid.

      4. Anybody who has the stamina to go toe to toe with with John everyday in pissing match deserves respect, no matter what his politics is. MNG was that 'anybody'.

        1. Meh. I've effectively driven my adversaries off the blog entirely. When was the last time Brooksie, Epi or Warty actually said something substantive?

          1. Christ Tulpa, you are full of yourself.

            1. Christ Tulpa

              I never claimed to be a messiah.

            2. He is a legend in his own mind.

          2. Congrats, you're a bigger douche than MNG. Way to go.

  12. So, let me see if I have this right: the wifi router was unsecured, but they didn't take the router, they took the girl's computer. That's some good police work there, Lou.

  13. I assume that if Tulpa were in charge he would have a van tour the city with a SWAT team and a laptop with wireless capability, and when it found a hit he would send in the troops to give the owners a good scare.

    Maybe shoot a dog or two if the opportunity arises.

    That'll teach 'em.

    1. I hope they don't leave the van "unsecured" while they're making their raids or the cops would be "aiding and abetting" if it were stolen and used to commit a crime (say, breaking and entering to steal a computer and router from an 18 year old girl and her grandmother).

  14. Look, I think that a situation where a suspect has specifically threatened violence against police officers is one of the few times I would agree with utilizing a no-knock SWAT raid.

    So this raid is, right off the bat, more reasonable than 99.9999% of the no-knock raids out there.

    No-knock raids designed to "preserve evidence" are per se unreasonable, in my view. No-knock raids where someone has said, "If a cop shows up on my doorstep I'm going to blow him away!" are not.

    That being said, I think the real error here was evidentiary. You have to be absolutely stupid to think that tracing the posts to their router is enough evidence to tell you what house to raid. I bet more than 50% of the wireless networks in existence in the US are unsecured. You need more evidence that the suspect is who you think they are than just an IP address.

    1. We should just make it a crime to leave your network unsecured, then the cops are covered either way! /statist

    2. There is not a single unsecured network in range of my apartment.

      1. So, generalizing, there are none anywhere.

        Got it.

        1. Two anecdote enter, one anecdote leave.

      2. When I lived in the city I never paid for internet. Even the "secure" ones were easy enough to crack.

        Username "admin", password "password".

        1. *scrambles to change username and password...*

          1. "admin" "admin" usually works.

        2. "1-2-3-4"

      3. Mine is not secured and I have no idea how to do so, and no interest either. I live in the middle of nowhere so it really doesnt matter.

        Still, I accept no responsibility if someeone used it for evil purposes. They make the decision to commit evil, not me.

        1. If that's your standard of morality, that's your choice I guess.

          1. And that's the difference Tulpa. In a nation of 312 million, there are going to be different standards of morality. Laying a boot on the neck of every person who doesn't fall into the same standard is you is going to leave everyone on the ground under a boot.

            1. nah, just the ones who don't work for the government.

      4. That's funny, if I go on the roof of my parking garage I can find at least five from my tiny apartment complex.

        1. That's impossible. Tulpa doesn't have any, therefore no one does.

    3. I have to disagree with you from a common-sense approach, Fluffy. If a guy says 'if the cops show up at my house, I'll never be taken alive and I'll take those pigs with me' you now have two options.

      A) Show up at his house, where he has had all the time in the world to turn the whole place into a man trap and fort up.


      B) Wait until he goes to the grocery store, pull him over, and then take him back and serve the search warrant on the house while he's outside in cuffs.

      From a straight tactical perspective, which is smarter? And which one do cops do more often?

      So, I'm forced to conclude for all the training these SWAT douchebags get, they're just not very bright.

      1. Yeah. As I've said. They like the dressup and kick shit down part of paramilitary. Not so much "the establish the most tactically advantageous" (read as: least risky) situation possible.

      2. From a straight tactical perspective, which is smarter?

        Smart has nothing to do with it.

        The real question is this: Which is more fun?

        Besides, what's the point of having all that military hardware if you're not going to use it to terrorized a teenage girl and her grandmother?

  15. Huh, no one seems to pointing out that it seems unlikely that any crime had been committed. Making vaguely menacing statements about unspecified people is not a crime.

    1. But... WAR ON COPS!

    2. #WINNING

  16. WEP and WAP basically suck. Passwords are generally weak.

    I just changed the name on my SSID and then told the router not to broadcast the SSID. You can sit in my living room with a laptop and you're not getting on the network unless I tell you the SSID.

    1. That and the router is in the basement. There are places in the house that I struggle to get a consistently strong signal. The street is 100 ft from the front door and the nearest neighbor is more than a 100 ft.

    2. That is a good idea. I wouldn't go that far with the moral requirement because it's beyond most people's understanding.

      1. We understand it.

        We just think it is weapon's grade stupid.

      2. Tulpa, do you realize that your logic here is exactly what statists have used to justify every single program they've come up with? "I would feel terrible if someone used my network to broadcast threats, therefore the person who did not secure her network deserved to get raided by a SWAT team" = "I would feel bad if I were rich and other people were poor, therefore rich people deserve to have their wealth taken from them and redistributed."

    3. This and the whitelist Brett L mentioned above are usually enough.

    4. You have a false sense of security, my friend. Changing the default SSID is a good idea, but it won't help if you're using WEP or no security at all.

      1. I agree on this. While it will keep Joe WindowsDefaultUser from accessing your network, it isn't hard to use the tools available with every operating system to sniff for networks that don't broadcast the SSID. Also, some security protocols don't require that the connecting computer send the SSID (which is weird, right? but the router assumes if you are sending it connection protocols, you don't need the SSID, which is just a way to display individual router identifiers to end users), so I don't think of that setting as a security setting. It just keeps your lazy neighbors out.

        1. Ah yes.

          In short, if any device is connected to your wireless network, the device will broadcast the name that anyone can see.

          1. Yes, I need to worry that a savy hacker is sitting in range of my wi-fi at the random time each evening my wife decides check her mail or download a book with her Nook.

            1. Not necessarily aimed at you. As this turned into an internet security sub-thread, I thought I would point out the limitations of "no broadcast". While I'm at it, the shortcomings of the whitelist are that the same sniffing software can identify MAC addresses of connected devices, and it is trivial to do MAC address spoofing. I used to run a non-secured router with a whitelist to annoy script-kiddies in the apartment complex, not keep out hackers. I don't have anything important enough connected to my network that relies on being on a secure network. About the worst they could do is print goatse pics to my printer.

              1. Yup. I am an old boring guy living next to a corn field in Iowa. The only thing I really need to worry about is the three grade-school boys next door that become teenagers in the next couple of years.

      2. I live in a rural development on a 1+ acre lot. On any given day, I can see two or three other access points. Only one of them is strong enough to actually use. I am really only worried about keeping the grade school kids in the only house that is actually adjacent to mine from using my router to visit bad sites. Anyone attempting to park on the street to steal wi-fi access is going to have lots of eyeballs watching.

      3. One thing I've wondered about is why you can't set the router to accept a maximum number of connections. Like, if you only have 1 laptop that will be using the network, why can't you force the router to refuse connections if there is already 1 device connected.

        Wouldn't that totally thwart any attempt by outsiders to use the network (as long as you're turning the router off when not using the network)? Or at least make you aware of the fact they were using it, if your own device gets denied access.

        1. You can on most. The problem is that if one of your devices goes to sleep, you're in the security hole. Do you turn off your printer when you want to watch netflix on the TV while using your laptop? Its not very useful.

          1. They should have a dial on it that you turn when connecting more devices.

        2. Depends on your router. I can allocate a certain range of IP addresses for use on the wireless, so if I only want one device connected, I suppose I could give a range of one IP.

          But I have like 20+ networked devices, so my requirements are a little extreme.

    5. I use WEP2 with a 63 character passkey and a hidden SSID. Good luck cracking into that.

  17. Evansville sucks. Make sure to factor that into your understanding of the story.

    E. Powell is in a fairly nice part of Evansville, near the UofE campus. Not a hotbed of criminal activity, but rather just the sort of place that a petulant show of force couldn't be ignored or written off as legitimate crime fighting.

    1. Yeah. We set up one of our parts depots there when we were redoing our distribution network about 10 years ago.

      Y'know what's in Evansville, Indiana? NOTHING.

      Ergo, good thing they have local SWATzi to keep it that way. Clearly needed.

      1. Don Mattingly was from Evansville...but I'd imagine he didn't move back.

    2. It sucks even more now. They just went no-smoking in every bar, restaurant, etc.... except Casino Aztar.

      1. The Ohio River is international waters.

    3. Hey. At least we have easy access to Ellis Park.

  18. Did I just hear that shitstain cop say that the reason they stormed the house was 'we wanted to see if there was any evidence in the home..."?
    How exactly do they get permission to conduct such a raid?
    "No evidence judge, but if you sign here we can go fishin' for some. "

    1. Duh - Precogs!

    2. That the ISP led them to that location was enough to get the warrant. Warrants are basically jokes anyway, due to the wildly stupid way the 4th has been interpreted.

      BUT... this was probably a good warrant in the modern sense because they had the ISP evidence and they could describe that they were going into to find a computer or other device capable of sending the threats.

      I fucking loathe the police, but the problem here is the way the went in, not the why.

      Of course the notion that they deserved the violent raid to teach them a lesson edges into a realm of moral imbecility.

    3. "No evidence judge, but if you sign here we can go fishin' for some. "

      ... or just fishin'. We'll provide the bait'n beer.

  19. I enjoy articles like this. Part propaganda, part stimulus-and-response experiment.

  20. OT: Where the fuck is Lucy Steigerwald? Ima check and see if she's still employed here. Hmm...yep, name and contact info.


    1. Probably discriminating against her because she's a girl and doesn't know technology....

      /Tulip's Definition of Misogyny

    2. She was seized under the federal government's taxing power.

    3. I've wondering the same thing. Maybe she's working on a book?

      1. All the girls here disappear eventually.
        Paging Mangu-Ward.

    4. She's being groomed to take over Nick TV job. As such, she is being fitted for her own Jacket. A spore shed by the original is being grown in low Earth orbit as we speak. Lucy just consume a variety of rare earth minerals and maintain a state of deep focus to survive the process.

      1. She's enduring the gon tufar ritual to see if she's a Kwittheshitz Hadenough, "one who can be offended many ways at once." If she survives the ritual, she may attempt to take the sandcows as her skin and become the God-Editor of Reason.

  21. Regarding FLash Bangs. Much controversy locally because of noise from the Sig Arms training academy. I live 6 mile away, and heard the flashbangs. After hearing automatic gun fire during the afternoon, the flashbangs sounded like cannon. To hell with anyone that thinks it's OK to toss a flash bang into a residense.

    1. The NIMBYism over that has been fun to watch. Closer to me, the 'Brookers are are now bitching about the local police run firing range. FFS, it's NH. If you're not used to the sound of gunfire in the distance, you haven't lived here long enough.

      (Yeah, I know, I am underplaying how loud the Sig range is.)

      1. In all honesty, I love the fact that I routinely hear gunfire in the distance when I'm in my backyard. Proud even.

  22. The thing that disturbs me here is I could imagine Sheriff Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show handling this more professionally and more effectively than these guys did. He'd have probably made more progress in the investigation, as well.

    1. Unfortunately, the Barney Fifes are running the show now.

      1. Barney only had one bullet.

        1. Yeah, and when Andy was in charge, he had to keep that bullet in his pocket.

      2. Well, okay, but can't we restrict them to a single bullet in their shirt pocket, "in case of emergency"?

  23. Police Raid Wrong House, StealSieze 18-Year-Old Girl's Computer Thanks to Unsecured WiFi Connection

    Dear Cal; Language matters. Unless you are arguing that the warrant was not valid, the police did not "steal" anything. Sincerely, kinnath

    Calvin Thompson | June 29, 2012

    1. Dear Kinnath: Editors are a thing. Seize was the original term used in the headline. But since you wish to argue semantics, I will say that it was theft, be it legally permissible or otherwise. All seizure of property is theft. State theft of property is illegitimate as well.
      Sincerely: Cal

      1. Seize was the original term used in the headline.

        Good to know.

        All seizure of property is theft. State theft of property is illegitimate as well.

        Making the headline semantically correct, if philosophically debatable.

        Thanks for taking the time to respond. It is much appreciated.


      2. Congratulations on the new brain damaged contributor, Reason.

        1. If your self-proclaimed victim-hood, condescension, authoritarian leanings, and inability to admit error in discussion are the hallmarks of sanity, I will take your remark as a compliment. 🙂 Thanks for the read.

  24. OK so who comes up with all that stuff??


  25. One thing I havn't ever seen brought up in any of these posts is using unsecured wi fi intentionally as a form of civil disobediance specifically to protest the legal assumption that an IP address proves identity both in criminal and civil trials (aka piracy)

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