Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wireless Shenanigans

I was in Borders about a week ago, and thought I would pick up the latest issue of 2600. I started reading 2600 regularly when I was a freshman in college, although I had read the occasional blurb on its website or in the newsgroup. The great thing about the print 2600 is that it's very well geared towards hands-on people. It's like Make Magazine, only older, and black hat.

Anyway, fast forward to this week. I'm in Michigan where two friends from college are getting married, and I'm staying in the same hotel as the reception. I plopped down my MacBook Pro yesterday to check my email, and I was greeted with the ubiquitous Terms of Service page. I was about to click through when a light popped on in my head.

I typed "" into the Firefox address bar, and, lo and behold, the hotel's wireless uses the same equipment that was given a step-by-step "how-to hack" in the latest 2600. Yikes.

IP address space abuse aside, I was not at all shocked at this discovery. Hotels don't subscribe to 2600, and from the hotel's perspective, I'm sure they are happy to pay someone else to take care of their wireless. Indeed, part of the TOS for wireless usage specified that a different company handled the wireless service, but hey, if they are in the business, then they should be aware of the (massive) security breach.

Long story short, I decided not to follow the instructions in the article, turned off Airport, and used the (probably) more secure wired connection. But I will definitely think twice before hooking up to another hotel wireless network.

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