Q. Someone piggybacked onto our Internet connection and downloaded a bunch of illegal movies and a game. Now our Internet provider has terminated our service. Please help!
- Corey from Apache Junction, AZ, listens to my national radio show on KFYI 550 AM.
A. Thanks for the question, Corey, and for listening to the show. I'm sorry about your Internet connection woes, but I'm not surprised.
Criminals have a tendency to use unsecured wireless networks for downloading illegal content. You're lucky it was just movies and games.
Many criminals go after financial information. Even worse, some perverts roam for unsecured Wi-Fi networks to download child porn. If you think losing your Internet connection is a pain, imagine federal agents showing up on your doorstep.
This is exactly why I urge people to secure their wireless networks. It only takes a minute, but can prevent trouble like this.
What's done is done, however. So, what can you do now that your ISP terminated your service? The answer, unfortunately, is not much.
Music and movie companies routinely monitor file sharing sites and trace illegal downloads to specific IP addresses. Lists of offenders are sent to the appropriate ISPs.
If copyrighted content was illegally downloaded from your IP address, that violates your terms of service. However, major ISPs have an agreement with music and movie companies to issue escalating email warnings to subscribers before discontinuing service.