Is there a term for this (wi-fi related)

Is there a specific term for using a neighbor’s wi-fi? For example, if I have a laptop and I’m sitting on the back deck of a bar, and I’m using the signal from the cafe next door. I’ve never actually done this myself, btw.

Sharing or stealing, as the case may be. There’s no technical term, it’s all just radio waves. There may be some term adopted by people who do it, but it wouldn`t be a precise technical term, and I’m not aware of any anyway.

Wardriving / warbiking / warwalking involves finding them while driving / biking / walking around. Not sure if it was ever expanded to include using a neighbor’s. Originally coined as WiLDing by BAWUG - Bay Area Wireless Users Group, of which I have / had no affiliation whatsoever.

My understanding is that, unless the wireless is intentionally available to any users, it’s called “pirating bandwidth.”

Normally, not a problem, but if enough users are running enough activity through someone else’s wireless access point, they will begin to cut into that person’s connectivity. This is why we have security features on wireless networks, such as WEP keys. Generally speaking, I would assume anyone who doesn’t have any security on their WiFi is intentionally making it available to whoever wants to use it. I would also submit that the cafe mentioned in the OP would probably appreciate it if the user threw some business their way (ie, bought something from them) from time to time, as that’s probably the only reason they have WiFi in the first place.

’jacking (as in hijack) is a common term.

As noted above - unless you are invited, it is wrong. And an open AP is NOT an invitation.


I believe that it’s a criminal offence in the UK, under the Communications Act 2003. Someone was successfully prosecuted for it in 2005. They were fined £500 and recieved a 12 month conditional discharge.

He was convicted of “dishonestly obtaining an communications service”.


I’ve heard it called piggybacking.

At my old apartment there were about 12 connections at any given time and 3 or 4 were not secured.

Note that if you piggyback on someone else’s connection they can do whatever they want to the packets they’re sending you. (So can your ISP, in fact, but if the ISP gets caught they have to face questions and prosecution.) They could turn the images you see upside-down, for example. Or make every page redirect to something rather unpleasant. They could also sniff the connection for juicy tidbits (passwords, email, etc.) to use against you.

So “jacking,” or “leeching” or “piggybacking” is immoral, illegal and unwise. Thanks to all.