Monday, 24 July 2017

Harassment Via WLAN/Wi-Fi

Who does it?
Nutters, extremists who disagree with your right to have opinions that differ from theirs, property developers who want to force you to sell your house at below the market price, nerds who just think doing this sort of thing is "cool."

What Happens?
Especially when you are trying to work on the computer rather than just use it recreationally, the internet connection becomes slow or even stops altogether. This always happens at the most frustrating times possible, and calls to the ISP, helplines etc. never resolve the problem. (Although this is achieved using the WLAN, it still slows the router itself down to a crawl, so will affect you even if using an ethernet cable connection to the router.)

How is it done?
Somebody has studied your habits at length and by various means, including monitoring activity on your WLAN, so they know when you are likely to be doing something vital to your work or living your life. This is the basic method behind all forms of stalking, and it is generally something which the stalker greatly enjoys doing. Sometimes there is no other motive than the fact that the stalker gets off on doing this sort of thing.

They fit a surplus desktop computer that has a WLAN card, with a "directional aerial" aka "high-gain antennae" (often looks like a black Pringles tube) and they position this somewhere with a line of sight to your house, and preferably to wherever your router is, within your house. Using "net-stumbler" and the high gain antennae can help them to establish exactly where all your wireless devices are, so aiming the thing directly at your router is no real problem.

They use a progamme (which they can write themselves or buy online and download for a few pounds, dollars or small fragments of a bitcoin) to repeatedly poll your router, through the WLAN network(s) (you may have more than one from the same router, they will poll them all) for access. They don't need to have the password: the router's MPU still has to pay the attempted poll attention to determine that the supplied password or key is bogus. That's the point: the MPU works in "timeslices", and every timeslice it devotes to an attempt to handshake with it over the WLAN, is a timeslice that it cannot use for communicating with your device over the same WLAN, or via the Ethernet. It can't use that stolen timeslice for transmitting and receiving data over the actual internet connection, either.

Since the stalker's computer does nothing else except repeatedly make failed handshakes with your router, the router's MPU ends up with few, if any, timeslices with which to process your legitimate activity and your connection stops working. 

Remember: a violent or hysterical reaction to this is one of the payoffs for the stalker, and he will have taken steps to mislead you, so that any violence by you is directed against an innocent party, and the stalker will be quick to call the police and spin them a tale, designed to get you arrested or shot. This leads into another form of stalking: "SWAT stalking" whereby repeated false emergency calls are made to get the victim arrested by armed police.

The stalker is probably breaking several laws: fitting a high-gain antennae to a source of radio interference is illegal in most jurisdictions, as is creating a public nuisance, and it is misuse of a computer and harassment.

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