Free Wi Fi hotspotI often travel and a search of the working Wi-Fi often turns to the boring quest.

Endless faults appear with numerous hot-spots. Sometimes, it seems that the normal Internet is a very high requirement for the hotel/café.

And nothing can be done with such problem, however there are several life-hacks which may be helpful in search of the Web.

There is a connection to the open hot-spot but the Internet does not work.

Oftentimes, DCHP-server does not work in the web. The device cannot get the IP-address and other network data, and therefore nothing works – it is enough to check the network settings in order to understand this. Accordingly, if they are written manually, everything starts working. But where can you get it? You may go over the most popular option such as IP-addresses 192.168.0.х, 255.255.255.0 mask and 192.168.0.1 getaway but this method is not ours. It is better to launch sniffer Kismet (www.kismetwireless.net) on your laptop and look at the setting of other clients which work in this network. By the way, you can also use your smartphone. There are editions of Intercepter-NG for iOS/Android.

The list of the hot-spots contains a web indicated for guests (such words as “Free”, “Guest” in the name), however nobody knows the key

I am not going to consider the option of brute forcing of WPA/WPA2 key – it is difficult to do on the laptop with discrete map. Practically, there are spots protected by WEP – in this case, the key is selected within a minute. But if WEP is rarity, there are a lot of routers with turned on WPS. In this case, it is possible rather quickly get all needed data with the help of Reaver (code.google.com/p/reaver-wps) in order to connect to the Internet. I also recommend WPScrackGUI app (sourceforge.net/projects/wpscrackgui) – GUI add-ons for Reaver which has a small base of PIN corresponding to the first six characters of the MAC-address of the hot-spot. Moreover, if you have a physical access to the router, it is possible to use WPS in the normal mode (with the help of PIN-code written on the router or with the help of WPS-button). This technology is meant in order to simplify the connection set-up.

The hot-spot is open but the connection is performed via the Welcome-page with the help of the key. Problem – the key works only on one device.

There are situations when the session is strictly attached to the MAC-address of the device. If the additional key is not found, the only way is to change the MAC-address on the lap-top (of course, having disconnected the smartphone beforehand). Technitium MAC Address Changer v6 (tmac.technitium.com) will help for Windows, and in Linux and OS this is done directly from the console.

The hot-spot provides the free Internet but only for 15-30 minutes.

There is a wide range of the shareware hot-spots when you can use the Internet for a certain period of time but then you will be offered to pay for it. The connection is preformed, as a rule, by MAC, host name and sometimes browser headers. Accordingly, if you “play” with it, you can easily be a new client and get the additional limit.

The hot-spot offer to install the root certificate.

This is not a hack about getting the web but an important nuance while using open hot-spots. I strictly recommend you to raise your own VPN (for example, on the basis of Amazon EC2) and send all your traffic in the encrypted form. Moreover, I have already met an offer to add the root SSL-certificate to the smartphone several times. I think, you understand what such action of the user means: in this case the owners of the hot-spot get an opportunity to listen your SSL-traffic. Do not accept such offers.

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