Unauthorized Free Wireless Internet Access

So, there I was in this motel, Econo Lodge, which was not too posh (if you know what I’m talking about). I mean, the logo and name look and sound cheap! Anyway, I assumed that there would be no Internet access included in this wonderful motel package. I looked in the Econo Lodge booklet and found no information. I was too embarrassed to call the operator and actually ask if there was a way to access the Internet. He or she would probably tell me, “What do you think this place is? A Hilton? No! This is ECONO LODGE!” I thought to myself, maybe there would a stray open wireless network floating about the airwaves. I doubted it. I mean, I was really in an out-of-city old-fashioned small town. It really wasn’t the type of place where cutting-edge technology harbored. Boy, was I wrong!

To my surprise, as scanned the airwaves, I came across two networks. The first one, which had an acceptable signal of 60%, was DAYS_INN. I thought, “Well, that makes sense! There is a Day’s Inn next door!” Unfortunately, I was unable to access the network. I guess they only let their customers access it, which is only natural. I scolded myself for not staying at the Day’s Inn.

econolodge.gifThe other network was called PRE-N. The signal was a next to nothing, a pitiful 0-1%! I wasn’t too enthusiastic about this network. Then, when I told my Wifi client to connect to the network, it seemed to work smoothly. Cautiously, I opened the DOS prompt (Start Menu, Run, “cmd” or “command” for those of who do not know) and entered “ping google.com.” It worked perfectly! I was so excited! Free Internet access!

Later, after checking my mail and doing some routine business, it dawned on me that I was getting a decent speed (400kbps) on a 1% signal. How could this happen? Then I remembered that the name of this network was PRE-N. The 802.11n protocol, as opposed to 802.11b and 802.11g, had not been completely standardized. That didn’t stop manufactures from selling networking components that had some features of the promised 802.11n. These products were of the Pre-N class. One of the promised features of 802.11n was long distance over low signal. I was impressed! I bet that the wireless router that was supplying Internet access to me was several buildings away!


So what did I learn from this experience?

Always Test the Airwaves
antenna.jpg The first one is obvious: Even if it is not likely at all, test the airwaves for a signal. You’ll find them in the most unprobable places. The university that I attend is in Keene, TX on the outskirts of Fort Worth, TX. I wouldn’t even call it a small town…just a community. Our small mobile home is of comparable size to their city hall. Aside from the university’s wireless Internet access (which is really weak), Keene is not really on the top of my list for places to look for free, open wireless Internet access. Again, I found quite the opposite. My friend and I were “wardriving.” Wardriving is a “techie sport” where you cruise around while looking for wireless networks. I think that we found more then fifty! I was surprised that we even found one!

Secure the Network
secure_computer.jpg I cannot stress this enough! People need to secure their wireless networks and prevent unauthorized intruders from accessing them. Though, I appreciated the free Internet access, if someone who was more sinister accessed this network, the owner of the network would have been screwed. In addition to leaving the network open, the owner didn’t even change the default password on the router! When I connected to the network, just for kicks, I tried to access the router control panel. To my surprise, it worked! I also discovered that it was not even password protected! That gave me ultimate control of the network itself!

To secure a wireless network, go to the control panel. And look for something that talks about encryption or authentication. Some keywords too look for are “WPA” and “WEP.” Those are two encryption schemes. Some routers (and network cards) only support WEP. When possible, try to use WPA. This is the most secure. If you need help creating an encryption key try the WLAN Key Generator from the SpeedGuide.net.

Closing Remarks
Routers have different ways for changing the password. So, you will have to look in your manual for that. It is important to remember that everything you download and upload from an open, unsecured wireless network (like the one at Econo Lodge) can be intercepted by anyone. This includes bank account intermission, email addresses, messages, and passwords.

So here I am typing this article on someone else’s Internet connection. Some people question the legality of this. It is a really shady field. Really, the only bad thing I am doing is using bandwidth, not really hacking. But again, you can liken this to using someone’s phone line. Personally, I really don’t think this is wrong. It is a controversial subject and it will get even more controversial as wireless networks proliferate. Comment on your thoughts!

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21 Responses to “Unauthorized Free Wireless Internet Access”

  1. [GEEKS ARE SEXY] Tech. News Says:

    WPA is prone to dictionnary brute force attacks now, so use WPA2 if you can 🙂

    WEP can be easily cracked under 10 minutes, so using it will only discourage amateurs from connecting to your WLAN. A wardriver will bust through your protection in no time.



  2. Matthew Says:

    What university do you attend in Keene, TX?

  3. Lea Says:

    I was in a borders on the highway once and I got pretty crystal clear internet from the hotel across the street. I forget what it was called but It really worked nicely. I dont believe it is hacking either because they are leaving the network out in the open and therefore letting anyone use it.

  4. WPA Says:

    About this comment, “WPA is prone to dictionnary brute force attacks now, so use WPA2 if you can”

    That is not true if you use the WLAN WPA Key Generator. From http://www.speedguide.net/wlan_key.php

  5. c-layer Says:

    Hey That is awesome!!! I wish i had a Pre N card! i think ill just wait till the real thing comes out though. Awesome post keep it up!

  6. max Says:

    No website just a 76 year old surfer. Enjoyed your site. Thought you might like to know Steve Gibson (grc.com) has a site one can generate a one of a kind unbreakable wireless password generator. called “ultra high security password”

  7. Breakfast Club Says:

    Millions in store!!!!!

  8. geek Says:

    how do you crack wep internet please give information

  9. Furqan Says:

    How can i crack WiFi WEP 40 Passwods m a dummie n i need some free softwares , there are more than 10 networks near my room

  10. duffman Says:

    i was wondering if anyone new how to hack WEP security???
    if so could u pls send me the instructions-
    my email

  11. blogger Says:

    aircrack-ng has pretty comprehensive attack tutorials and videos. check out these two URLs

  12. allien70 Says:


  13. Naomi Says:

    i need an hacker that can alway help me out contact me on coolestcick002@yahoo.com and also i am on yahoo messnager on id coolestcick002

  14. sahil Says:

    i need an key generator for free access to a neighbouring official wireless network . previously it was open but now they have put network key so when i try to connect it asks for network key . i need one software to generate the key so that i can acess that networ for my regular surfing.i hope u would help me out.


  15. meezo al nidami Says:

    hi der..
    how r u ……
    i live in saudi arabia..
    here v have many wirelss networks but da problem iz all of dem r password protected…….
    i need a solution..how 2 crack da paawords of wirless networks

  16. tin tin Says:

    Well nidami..it is very easy to hack someone network,but what you asking is kinda illegal,don’t you?
    take my advice don’t even thing about it.
    have fun.ZzZ

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