Cybercrime in Singapore

Local cybercrime is not very often reported in the local newspapers. But very often cybercrime is happening everywhere in Singapore, at this very second. When you engage in P2P sharing, downloading software and music illegally, you’ve already committed a cybercrime. However, a few years back in Singapore, there was this particular cybercrime that led to the realization that your home internet connection should be encrypted. That year was 2006…

Gary Tan, (then) a polytechnic student connected to a neighbour’s internet for free via his laptop. Nobody knows how long he has been doing this but it must have been long enough for his neighbour to be annoyed enough to report him to the police. Just as the word “mooch” referred to the sponging off of others for free, Gary Tan’s crime was coined as “mooching”. 

cow mwaaooohhh… by ~julznotdrugs

In Gary Tan’s case, he was charged under the Computer Misuse Act, Section 6(1)(a) and faced up to 3 years of imprisonment or $10,000 in fine. 

I think this particular case is really hilarious. Firstly, I believe Gary Tan and his family should have the ability to pay for an internet subscription. To tap into his neighbour’s internet connection is really a miserly and sponging gesture. He really deserved to be called a moocher, or even worse. 

But the crux of it all is that Gary Tan has been repeatedly mooching into the same neighbour’s internet connection. OK, so you may not know the first or second time when someone mooched your internet. But when you eventually found out, shouldn’t your first action to be to encrypt your wireless network and stop the moocher from mooching? No… This person allowed Gary Tan to commit the mooch time after time until he/she eventually got so fed up that he/she threw the problem to the police. 

For me, the solution to this cybercrime is very simple. Just encrypt your wireless network! For tech dolts out there, you can easily find the steps to protecting your wireless network from moochers via Google (or any other preferred search engine).

If you present the opportunity for a thief to rob you, aren’t you also at fault for the crime?



SINGAPORE: Teen, 17, first to be charged with unauthorised wireless Net access, Chua Hian Hou (The Straits Times), 11 November 2006


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