"Free Public WiFi" is not what it claims to be

“Free Public WiFi” is not what it claims to be.

[newsimage]http://static.rankone.nl/images_posts/2010/10/ABmQpg.jpg[/newsimage]When you’re using your laptop anywhere other than on your home network it’s wise to get information about the WiFi connection you should be using before attempting to connect. Though this may seem like common sense to many, people are connecting to, and subsequently spreading, rogue networks that could eventually be used to access personal files on their systems.

Read the full article here: [http://www.myce.com/news/free-public-wifi-is-not-what-it-claims-to-be-35286/](http://www.myce.com/news/free-public-wifi-is-not-what-it-claims-to-be-35286/)

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I’ve seen the “Free Public Wi-Fi” show up in many areas also. Usually this always shows up as an Ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network, which is the give-away that this is not an access point.

With the price of public Wi-Fi, I bought a Mi-Fi, which is a battery operated 3G/HSPA wireless router about the size of a flip-phone. For the price of an hour’s usage at most public Wi-Fi points in the UK and Ireland (especially at an airport), I can get a whole month access on it, it works anywhere there is 3G coverage and the Internet connection is faster than what I’ve experienced with the Pay access points. Unlike public Wi-FI, it uses WPA2 encryption, so other users can’t join the access point to eavesdrop on it.

A few tips I’ve learned when using public Wi-FI:

Most hotels and many restaurants do have free Wi-Fi. If you’re unsure about a network, bring up the network list and ask the reception or service desk, as they should be able to identify their own network. In fact, when booking a hotel, I would rather choose a slightly more expensive hotel to have free Wi-Fi than one lacking it, as I’ve seen hotels that charge upwards of €8/hour for access.

For airports and shopping malls, expect to pay plenty for Internet access. On the other hand, I have seen free Wi-Fi from time to time. For example, the last time I was at Denver International airport, they had free Wi-Fi (can’t remember the network name), which was ad-sponsored. The initial page would display a video advertisement. Once the ad finished playing, I could browse away after that.

If the network shows up as a “computer-to-computer” network, don’t touch it

Free Public WiF

Warning :cop:this is a Ah-hoc and should never be used. This is how you get your identity stolen and give out your password to unsavory people :cop:. This is another forum of Ah-Hoc. So when you see the “Free Public WiF” don’t connect to that network or your going to regret doing so. Also if you don’t recognize the name should also be a warning and as other posters here have said here check with the location your at to verify their WiFi is a legit one that your going to connect to.

[QUOTE=Seán;2549453]Most hotels and many restaurants do have free Wi-Fi.[/QUOTE] And some hotels, who advertise “free” Wi-Fi, in reality only let you access landing pages where you can pay with your credit card to get actual Internet access. :doh:

If MODs allow here is some reading of what dangers await those unprepared whom use ad-hoc aka “Free Public WiFi”. Hopefully this will better inform those who see those networks that pop on their laptop Wifi networks: “ad-hoc” aka "Free Public WiFi’ :iagree:


[QUOTE=DrageMester;2549465]And some hotels, who advertise “free” Wi-Fi, in reality only let you access landing pages where you can pay with your credit card to get actual Internet access. :doh:[/QUOTE]

So far all the hotels I’ve been at over the years that advertised free Wi-Fi had free Internet access.

There was one hotel I went to that advertised free Wi-Fi in their brochure and I remember going into the bedroom and ready to connect only to see a note about Internet access available for €4/hour. When I complained, the person said that the Wi-Fi is only free in the main lounge. They had a clever Wi-Fi signalling setup, as while I had no problem surfing in the lounge, as soon as I left the door of the lounge, I lost access.

The main term to watch out for is “Complementary”. If a café, bar, hotel, etc. says it has complementary Wi-Fi, then it usually requires payment, at least from my experience.

Wouldn’t the use of a VPn get around this? Or is this a more fundamental flaw in the OS/Wifi protocols?

In the Netherlands, several hotels got a letter from the telecom watchdog “OPTA” claiming they need to register as a Internet service provider because they offer internet access. So after copyright organizations the hotels are now being accused of offering Internet services - How about that :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=DrageMester;2549465]And some hotels, who advertise “free” Wi-Fi, in reality only let you access landing pages where you can pay with your credit card to get actual Internet access. :doh:[/QUOTE]

Most of them you can still cicrumvent by adding /?.jpg to the url. Usually jpegs are not blocked. :slight_smile:

I wonder what would happen if someone collected a bunch of 30-minute coupons inside those hotels and used them to torrent midget porn.