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06-28-2002, 05:29 PM
Searches by police, FBI target bandits of bandwidth


Detective Bart Beavers loads a modem and other computer equipment confiscated during the raids into a police van. Police and FBI agents served search warrants at 13 residences.

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Authorities investigating the theft of high-speed Internet cable service yesterday seized modems and other computer equipment from homes in Toledo and surrounding suburbs.

Members of the Toledo police computer crimes task force and FBI agents served search warrants at 13 residences, including an apartment, a condominium, and single-family houses. Investigators believe cable modems that connect Buckeye Express customers to the Internet were altered, allowing computer users unauthorized access to excessive amounts of bandwidth.

Bart Beavers, a member of the task force based out of the FBI office in Toledo, said search warrants obtained for six other residences were not served because the occupants were not home or for various other reasons.

Task force members, assisted by area police departments, had search warrants for six residences in Sylvania Township, four each in Toledo and Sylvania, three in Oregon, and one each in Monclova Township and Perrysburg.

They searched all but three residences in Sylvania Township, two in Toledo, and the one in Monclova Township.

Buckeye Express is operated by Buckeye CableSystem, which is owned by Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade.

Bandwidth is the capacity of a medium to convey data. The amount of capacity in the bandwidth in the network affects the amount of information that can be downloaded or uploaded through a computer.

Paul Shryock, director of information services at Buckeye CableSystem, estimated the loss from the illegal use of the bandwidth at $250,000. "Some were using a little bit, and others were using a lot," he said.

Detective Beavers said cable officials became aware of the situation in February. Authorities got involved in April. The case started when they searched a Sylvania Township residence about three weeks ago and took about a dozen computers.

In all, they seized 23 computers, including three laptops; three hard drives, and 13 cable modems. No charges were filed and no arrests were made. "To the best of my knowledge, there have been no similar search warrants executed or investigations in the country," Detective Beavers said.

Mr. Shryock said he was unaware of an Internet cable provider taking steps to have illegal bandwidth users prosecuted. "Most of the broadband providers are really just beginning to learn how the networks perform, what the possibilities are, and how they deal with theft," he said.

Detective Beavers said the users are tricking the cable company into thinking they are entitled to more bandwidth than they are.

"Itís against the law. Itís a crime we are going to enforce," the detective said.

Mr. Shryock said changing the modem to use more bandwidth is a violation of the customer service agreement. He said using more bandwidth than what one is entitled to receive affects Internet service for other customers.

"The use of excessive bandwidth is something that Buckeye does not condone or will not stand. The clear distinction between this type of theft and the theft of cable services is that there is a finite amount of resource. The more the customer uses, the less there is to go around for other customers. These customers were impacting the performance of all our other customers," Mr. Shryock said.

Detective Beavers said the users under investigation are a mix of high school students and adults. Some of the users communicated with each other and shared their knowledge on how to hack the system to enhance their personal computer use, he said.

Mr. C
06-28-2002, 06:26 PM
$250,000 is a lot of bandwidth:eek:

If I should ever be fortunate enough to get any bandwidth I'll be sure to pay for it:?:

06-28-2002, 06:55 PM
My guess says they were hosting websites, as Mr.C said - $250,000 is a lot of bandwidth.

06-28-2002, 07:32 PM
Yeah I had a few of them here suckin' the speed out of the cable but they got caught. :D
Shame they only got disconnected. :(

06-29-2002, 07:08 PM
lol thats never happened here, and some how i dont think it ever will :(

06-30-2002, 08:48 AM
The FBI will only step in if the damages is more than $5000

06-30-2002, 11:00 AM
Why do you say that Olie?

06-30-2002, 11:56 AM
I think that ya'll find that he's talkin' about his area's bad phonelines and no broadband except satellite. He lives in a very rural enviroment. :smokin:

06-30-2002, 12:22 PM
A quick bit of maths tells us if Olie was to use $200,000 US of extra bandwidth on dialup he would have used about 800,000 MB extra :D

06-30-2002, 01:04 PM
Which with his speed may take a hundred years. :cackle:
:beer: :beer: :beer:

Mr. C
06-30-2002, 01:38 PM
I'm thinking it may be closer to 1,200 years if his connection is like mine.

06-30-2002, 01:41 PM
It would take me 4 and a half years on ADSL if I stuck to my download limits.

07-01-2002, 09:46 AM
I was thinking his comment was towards Australia's (a lack of) law enforcement. Nm.

07-01-2002, 07:44 PM
the fastes thing we can get is ADSl
even then mostt phoine lines around here have poor line gain so they cant get it anyway

07-01-2002, 07:49 PM
I was thinking his comment was towards Australia's (a lack of) law enforcement. Nm.

Law enforcement exists in Australia but only toward large scale organisations or people with lots of money.