Mumbai: Sharing Wi-Fi password with stranger lands man in trouble with cops

Borivli MBA graduate's neighbour's visitor used the connection to morph photographs of a woman living in the building and upload pornographic images on to a Facebook profile in her name

An MBA graduate in Borivli landed in major trouble after he forgot the Internet’s most basic rule -- Never share your Wi-Fi password with strangers. The 28-year-old didn’t think much of it when an unknown person asked for his password, but was taken aback when the cyber police turned up at his doorstep over a year later. Turns out, his Wi-Fi network had been used to harass a young couple residing in the same colony, by creating fake Facebook profiles for them and uploading pornographic material there.

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Although the man was booked by the police last week, the incident dates back to December 2014, when a 30-year-old Borivli resident and her husband approached the BKC Cyber police station and complained that someone had created fake Facebook profiles under their names, morphed their pictures onto pornographic material and posted it online, defaming them among friends and family.

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Keep your Wi-Fi password secret. Representation pic/Thinkstock
Keep your Wi-Fi password secret. Representation pic/Thinkstock

“We registered a complaint against an unknown person under sections 354D (stalking) of the Indian Penal Code and 67A (publishing material containing sexually explicit act) and 67B (publishing material depicting children in sexually explicit act) of the Information Technology Act,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (cyber crime) M Rajkumar.

The police approached the social media network for details of the Internet Protocol (IP) address through which the crime was committed. This process took a while, and it was only recently that the police were provided the IP address, which they traced to a Borivli society. The cops were shocked when they realised it was the same society where the victim couple live.

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The IP address was traced to a Wi-Fi connection registered to the MBA graduate living in a different wing in the same society.

When they questioned him about the crime, he was shocked, and said he didn’t even know the couple or that they lived in the same colony.

The man could not recall with whom he may have shared his Wi-Fi password when the offence took place, but he told the police he had disclosed it to a boy who was visiting his neighbour.

The cops had no way to verify this, since the IP address only reveals which Internet connection was used, but not whose device (computer or cell phone) was using that network while committing the crime.

“His IP address was used in commission of the offence, and as it was his responsibility to ensure that his Wi-Fi is not misused, we booked him in the case,” said Inspector Kalpana Gadekar of the BKC Cyber police station.

The cops added that while they have not arrested the Wi-Fi connection’s owner, they will arrest him at the time of filing the chargesheet in court.

“Carelessly and irresponsibly sharing Wi-Fi password with an unknown person can land anyone in trouble, as there is no way to know what the person is using the Wi-Fi network for,” said DCP Rajkumar, appealing to the public to protect their Wi-Fi connection. Sharing the password is to be avoided as far as possible. If the password is shared with someone, it is important to take down that person’s details, said the cops.

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