South Africa's Wild Web: bandwith theft uncovered

I guess the post's title explains it all. But for those of you who want some extra details, here's a brief summary of the events: on September 19, I've signed up for a ADSL account and connection with South Africa's national ISP Telkom*. Ten days later I had (allegedly) used up all my bandwith allowance, i.e. 5GB. Today is October 2, and it seems like nearly 900MB have already gone...incredible!

Above: bandwith usage in just over 24 hours, in which no films, live streams, Skype video calls, or system updates were downloaded. I wish I could download that much by myself! (Click to enlarge)

After emailing Telkom and receiving no support, no acknowledgment, no nothing, I've scanned Internet forums and found this thread: a little dated but still current. The same topic was in the news sometimes last year: the article argues that modems of many brands can be easily hacked. Move number 1: change all passwords, not only wireless router — as it is unlikely the hackers are doing their things just outside my porch — but also modem and Internet account.

I hear people suggesting the uncapped Internet would solve this: is that the case? Discuss, both on this blog and on #bandwiththeft and #internetcap on Twitter: do you have a similar story? What is it like in your own country? Are you also capped or do you enjoy unlimited connection?

Stay Tuned.

*Also know as Hellkom in certain circles, for reasons not directly related to this post. For now.


Dani Bora | Sunday, 04 October, 2009

UPDATE: after changing all the passwords of my home network, the unauthorised, wild downloading seemed to slow down to more acceptable limits. Until last night, when I jumped in dismay at 350MB-worth of data downloaded in a single evening!

Advice? Suggestions? Feel free to email me directly on

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