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USA Has More Open Wi-Fi Hotspots Than EU 274

Mark.JUK writes "Some 40% of wireless (Wi-Fi) Internet access hotspots in the USA are unlocked and do not require a security password, which compares with 25% in Europe; according to WeFi based statistics. Across the world, approximately 30% of recorded Wi-Fi access points are unlocked, while some 70% are locked. Nice to see everybody taking security so seriously, then. It should be perfectly possible to 'share' Wi-Fi while using WPA or WPA2 security measures at the same time."
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USA Has More Open Wi-Fi Hotspots Than EU

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:32AM (#30694046)
    Yeah, number one, baby!
  • by vasqzr ( 619165 ) <vasqzr@n[ ] ['ets' in gap]> on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:33AM (#30694058)

    Good! The Internet was founded on free and open access.

    For the first year or two I was using a (very limited) free dial-up shell. Otherwise I would have never been able to get online. I live my access point open, I've had hundreds of users over the last few months.

    • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:47AM (#30694268) Homepage Journal
      The tag line for this article complained that you should be able to have open access..AND WPA2 at the same time.

      I got one of these netgear ones [] recently and it works great.

      I can set up different access through it...and even click to allow guests, etc.

      I have some old computers that just can't get anything stronger than WEP to run on them (an old iBook for instance), so I set up a WEP connection for them, which the router blocks off from direct interaction with any other computer on my system...everything else is WPA2.

      There are wireless routers out there that do some neat things, but you gotta be willing to spend more than $20.

      • by standbypowerguy ( 698339 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:00AM (#30694476) Homepage
        DD-WRT can do this. I use it on an old Linksys WRT-54G. I've configured two separate private subnets, one for secure connections via WPA, the other for open access I share with my neighbors. All of my PCs, including those with wired connections, exist on the secure subnet. Wireless guests get insecure access. I also have a few wired ports on the insecure subnet. Comes in handy when I want to work on an infected PC, or when I want to give a visitor wired access without them seeing my network.
      • My friend has a Windows Mobile phone.
        The phone can handle WPA2 ok, it can handle Skype VoIP ok, but it can't handle both.
        The accesspoint is WEP because that still stops strangers from just connecting, signals "private network, do not enter" and meanwhile allows to use Skype on that phone.

        Anyway, you don't have to have flawless protection, just better than weakest of your neighbors.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 )

        you should be able to have open access..AND WPA2 at the same time.

        But what would be the point? You need encryption at the application layer, since after the router it's all cleartext otherwise, so if WPA2 isn't being used for access control, what would it gain?

        • by hardburn ( 141468 ) <hardburn.wumpus-cave@net> on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:58PM (#30696400)

          This. For a local wireless network, what exactly are you worried about? People driving by and using a bit of free access to check email is no big deal. Even if they're making mischief trying to frame random people for child porn, it's unlikely they'll hit you up when they have to be physically near your place to pull it off. It's not like general perimeter security, where you have to be worried about automated scripts even if nobody is directly targeting you.

          If somebody is really abusing your bandwidth, then handle that on a case-by-case basis. Otherwise, WEP/WPA just cuts into your local throughput and makes it inconvenient for guests to connect.

    • by onionman ( 975962 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:50AM (#30694314)


      When I travel, I want to be able to go into a coffee shop, get my espresso, and sit down and use my laptop on the internet without having to hand out credit card information or any other sort of credentials. I make a point of only frequenting businesses with open access points because I want to reward their community service. I recommend that others do the same!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by uncledrax ( 112438 )

        When I was in Frankfurt last year, i found a nice cafe near our Pension/hotel.. it was basic WEP keyed, but it was the sorta combination some idiot would use on their luggage [].

        [ unfortunately, I can't see any YouTube iwth the full combination 'skit' in FMV, so here's the audio clip with someones art [] ]

        Anyway.. point being, just because it's "not open" doesn't mean it's "secure". They 'secured' thier Wifi as a point of precaution, but all I had to do was ask for the key and I got it in two different languages

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'd like to see support for doing this properly be more common in consumer level hardware. There are a few commercially available stabs at it(fonera, possibly others) and it isn't rocket surgery to whip something together with OpenWRT and the contents of the average geek's junk collection; but it isn't something you'll just get off the shelf at best buy.

      By "properly" I mean segregation between the internal LAN, on a secured wireless link, and the open guest wireless; along with QoS prioritization of all
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by omnichad ( 1198475 )

        It's real simple to get this included on consumer routers. Just make a command-line tool that will run easily on busybox, then open source it. Give it a real cryptic name. Linksys and the like will include it on their next router, come up with a cute name for it, and call it their own.

      • All good points, but I assume the original poster is referring to Hotspots that you would find in public areas and cafes, not home systems.

        For public area systems, I don't see the value in having free public access and security. If it's free and open, then it shouldn't be encrypted. I like the convenience of just opening my laptop and getting a connection without having to go through any config nonsense.

        Of course my home system is completely secure as I want to protect my data, but a cafe owner wants to

    • That's the first thing I thought too, but there are a majority of people that buy a router off the shelf, plug it in and just start using it. (...I'm pointing at you Mom and Dad...) I've secured it in the past, they forgot their password so my Mom went and bought another one. Granted, they live 3 miles from the closest single traffic light town and anyone willing to drive up the driveway to get in range is willing to get a warning shot... but that's not the point.

      Wifi is a convenience, and having to secu

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GIL_Dude ( 850471 )
      I'm glad you have neighbors you can trust vasgzr. I don't even have relatives I can always trust. At one point my wife's cousin's daughter (17) stayed with us for a few days. She brought her notebook. I gave her our WPA2 key and a lecture about "don't use my internet connection to do any copyright violation - no music or movies, etc.". Next morning I come downstairs to find her downloading a bunch of songs on Limewire. WPA2 key changed, no more privileges for her. I can't trust my neighbors (or their guests
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DarthVain ( 724186 )

      If I didn't have a bandwidth cap I would leave mine open.

      I blame the greedy telcos.

  • by IBBoard ( 1128019 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:33AM (#30694064) Homepage

    One of the guys I work with used to be a "penetration tester" (paid/hired hacker ;) ) and still has an interest in the area. He showed us a map of his route to work after he drove in with an Eee with wifi and GPS attached. With a bit of representation help, Google maps and a bit of colour coding then there was a surprising amount of people using WEP. Technically that's secured, but realistically it is as good as open for anyone with about 2 minutes and the right app (saw it demoed on the same Eee).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by olsmeister ( 1488789 )

      One of the guys I work with used to be a "penetration tester"

      Boy, you set the ball on the tee, now it's time for someone to hit it out of the park!

    • there was a surprising amount of people using WEP

      Mostly that will be people with older wireless APs, from before WPA was common, that use WEP by default. Many (A)DSL routers with built in wireless provided by ISPs come pre-configured with the ISP's current standard (now usually WPA, but previously WEP was common) with the default key for the unit printed on a sticker attached to the bottom of the unit. Most people never change these security settings (hence there are many APs left with the default of no security at all) so will stick with WEP until such t

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SharpFang ( 651121 )

      Realistically, it depends on traffic. I assure you a WEP network with long key and running a low transmission (for example instant messenger + RSS + WWW surfing, vs video streaming, torrents or online games) can take good many hours to break. Speaking from experience, two lunches, four beers and about 8 episodes of Cowboy BeBop before that nice mexican restaurant became Internet-enabled for me.

  • Truly Open? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:33AM (#30694070)
    I wonder if this accounts for networks locked down to MAC addresses. I've never encountered an "open" wifi that was truly open (in UK), despite a lot of them appearing to be open, I just wonder how thoroughly they checked.
    • I wonder if this accounts for networks locked down to MAC addresses. I've never encountered an "open" wifi that was truly open (in UK), despite a lot of them appearing to be open, I just wonder how thoroughly they checked.

      Interesting question. I wonder how difficult it is to sniff the traffic, discover a permitted MAC address, and then simply spoof that MAC address in order to utilize the network.

      Even if the aforementioned was somehow impossible, I still would use WPA2 simply to prevent sniffing.

  • No wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:39AM (#30694132)

    because, at least in Germany, you are then liable for everything that is transfered over that hotspot. If someone downloads CP or warez you are fucked.

  • by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:40AM (#30694142)
    Or does the USA just have a higher percentage?
    • For all intensive purposes [sic], only percentage matters.

      Scientists distinguish "intensive" properties of a population [], which hold regardless of the size of the population, from "extensive" properties, which are proportional to the size of the population. For example, in physics, density is intensive while mass is extensive. Or in chemistry, concentration is intensive while molar amount is extensive. Intensive properties, such as percentage of open APs, are more important for some surveys than extensive

      • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

        What about variance within population densities, both between different nations and different portions of the states?

        For example, any wifi up at my Dad's ranch in Wyoming isn't likely to be protected in any way. On the other hand, if you ever got your wardriving rig close enough to sniff it, he'd see you and know you were there. His dogs would have alerted him to your vehicle's approach before you located his house in the distance.

        Anyway, there would seem to be a lot more rural WiFi in the US than in othe

  • by Ferzerp ( 83619 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:46AM (#30694242)

    More people who may hop on your network and negatively impact your performance would likely cause you to learn to secure things. We have a much lower average population density, so you are more likely to be able to remain ignorant (or just not care) and leave your AP open. If I have 4 people who can see my AP, they are much less likely to wreak havok on my quality of service than if I have 50. I would like to see stats on open AP% vs population density. Of course, the article may have this info. I didn't rtfa.

    • "More people who may hop on your network and negatively impact your performance would likely cause you to learn to secure things."

      I have yet to meet someone who locks down their wifi network because of concerns about performance. All of the people I know were concerned about what people will use their connection to do, and of the possibility that they will be accused of having committed some crime.
    • I'll give my stats: I live in a rural/suburban area. There are two open networks in the area, mine and someone else's, and when I check logs I see one person getting on mine maybe once every two days. My brother lives in an area that has apartments and condos close together. He can see about 14 networks, none open, and every time he opens his up just to see what happens, roughly 5 people are using it at any given time. Based on that, I think it's clearly density-related from my limited data.
    • by cptdondo ( 59460 )

      And then again there is ignorance. The elementary school across the street from me runs an unsecured network. They also use channel-hopping APs, with the result that WiFi is utterly unusable in my neighborhood between 7 AM and 2 PM.

      I tried dealing with their IT guys; basically I surmised that this is how Cisco provisioned the APs (in other works, how they came out of the box) and that they have security on their network.

      True, to acutally use the network you have to log in, but without WPA or even WEP, any

  • Relevance? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:47AM (#30694248)

    The US also has more McDonalds, too. How is this even interesting?

    • I wonder how many of those APs were from "Free Hotspot" businesses like McDs, local coffee shops, book shops, etc.

  • Did they account for MAC filtering and(rather more importantly) all the captive portal setups out there?

    Obviously, if the SSID is the name of a consumer networking vendor and the hotspot is unencrypted, somebody just isn't bothering. However, particularly in commercial areas, there are large numbers of APs that are "open" in the sense that they aren't using WEP, WPA, or WPA2; but are good for absolutely nothing except dumping you at an HTTP/HTTPS login screen the first time you open a browser. A naive ne
    • It would also be interesting, though hard to figure out, what the motives are behind the remaining open hotspots. What percentage are simple cluelessness, what percentage are somebody having to support a legacy device with broken wireless capabilities, and what percentage are altruistic.

      The motive would be to encourage people to come with their laptops, connect to the internet as easily as possible without hassle, and stay long enough so they buy food and coffee.

      Also a fully open network means they dont have to train staff in its use, dont have to pay much to maintain it, and dont have to wrestle with customers that can open a browser but dont know much else.

      Having an open network at a coffee or restaurant (which is what the article is referring to) is a GOOD thing, not bad.

  • I have 2 customers that have 100% open Wifi access points that are secure. Why? you have to be trespassing even with a dish and bi-quad antenna to connect to them. and if you are trespassing, the dogs are eating your butt. Plus we used RF control devices (copper screen) to eliminate signal from going to the direction that would even possibly allow access from outside the estate. (2100 feet is the closest point and still filled with trees, shrubbery that all suck up wifi like sponges)

    My home has an Open a

    • Hello.

      I'm posting this reply from my iSlate, on large stilts next to your fence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      Back a few years ago when I built a giant faraday cage around my house--they said I was crazy. The homeowner's association sued me, my wife left me, the mental health people wouldn't let me see the kids, and I lost my job after extolling the virtues of the faraday cage to all the other employees at every opportunity.

      But, in the end, I showed them! Now they see I wasn't so crazy. My house has the most secure wifi on the block!

  • Someone told me that unless you are sure that you can secure your Wifi you are best off leaving it open. If someone downloads illegal content because you haven't secured it proplerly (used WEP or a compromised key) a court will here "secure wifi" and you will probably be screwed. If you say it was completely open then it will be very hard for a court to show "beyond reasonable doubt" that it was you.
  • And your point is? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kenh ( 9056 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:51AM (#30694328) Homepage Journal

    Mark.JUK said "Nice to see everybody taking security so seriously then." Is there something inherently wrong with an AP that is connected right to a DSL (or other) internet connection to provide free access in, say, a coffee shop, library, city park, airport, or other common areas? McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, and many airports (thanks Google!) are offering "free WiFi" - by definition these can't be "closed"...

    There are "wide open" residential gateways, but that number is dwindling (at least in my experience).

    I work in a school district and we offer WiFi in all rooms in every building, but we have two "SSID"s - one secured (with access to our internal network, for administrators and district-supplied laptops) and one public (with only filtered access to the public internet, no internal resources available).

    • If there are wide open residential networks, that probably just shows a larger number of early adopters who got on board with broadband before ISPs started locking them down (that, or it shows European ISPs are more security conscious, rather than European broadband users). In any event, I'm not sure what we're meant to take away from this knowledge, if I really wanted free WiFi it seems a bit drastic to move to the US to obtain it! (Not least because I've been in several large public organisations in the p
  • Have they actually try to connect to the world using the "open" access points or just discovered unencrypted networks?
    Because the latter really are abundant, but many of them require special cookies, login to proxy, VPN, correct MAC address, or just disconnect you as soon as you connect, basing on some premise you would be hard pressed to divine.

    Sure I -see- about 25% of open networks when I start up Kismet while riding through the town. But only about 5-10% of networks are genuinely open - just connect and

  • Dumb people have open hotspots. Smart people have closed hotspots. Very smart people have open, secure hotspots. Since I'm egotistical and put myself in the final category, let me explain:

    My WAP is wide open to anyone who wants to connect to browse the web, check their email, etc. It's an OpenWRT firewall that allows regular, NATted access to the Internet but nothing more than SSH and OpenVPN (with SSL certs) to the LAN. I live on a quiet cul-de-sac, so the only people connecting to it would be my neighbors

    • At least in the UK you would be violating your ISPs terms and conditions by knowingly allowing your neighbors access. Not sure what the US rules are.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy ( 3352 )

        There are no "UK" or "US" rules. There are agreements between people and the businesses providing services to them. In my case, I'm complying with my agreement, and still would be if I lived in the UK and had the same contract.

        • Ok, terminology difference. I'm referring to the terms of the contract as the rules, which seems reasonable to me. I'd be very suprised if you could find a UK contract that would permit what you are doing, it's a standard exclusion.

          My comment that "Not sure what the US rules are." just meant, I wasn't sure if such terms are standard for US-based ISPs.

      • I don't know of many ISPs running around with WiFi sniffers looking for their clients to be sharing.

  • This difference might be caused by different default settings. In France for example, all the WiFi routers provided by the ISP I've seen so far have WPA pre-activated.
  • Some wireless hotspots do not use a WPA2 (or WEP, or whatever) password, but they do require a password to get past the access point's router and onto the Internet. Does this survey classify those access points as secured or not secured?
    • Nothing whatsoever. It's just a crap press release from some outfit that no-one has heard of before that got picked up by and then Slashdot. Not news.

  • In the US you have unlimited bandwidth, choked to a certain speed, in the UK you pay for a certain amount of data transfer, and from what I understand can be charged for overages or cut off.
    So there you go, I have no financial incentive to close my wireless access point. It is firewalled from my real network (I.E. my wired network containing all of my desktops, fileservers, and media boxes), is completely open... the SSID is FREEINTERNET.

    of course I live in a small neighborhood in the boonies, it would
    • by slim ( 1652 )

      In the US you have unlimited bandwidth, choked to a certain speed, in the UK you pay for a certain amount of data transfer, and from what I understand can be charged for overages or cut off.

      This isn't generally true. I'm in the UK and I have unlimited data. Many Americans have a download cap (just read the /. discussions on any OnLive story).

    • And Europe is UK...since when?

  • USA has a lower population density, so for many USAians, physical distance from any perceived threat may be sufficiently greater than the signal.

    It's definitely that, and absolutely not that Americans don't read the manual or that Europeans think their neighbours are all crooks. Definitely.

  • I'm doing my part! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:20AM (#30694746) Homepage Journal

    "Across the world, approximately 30% of recorded Wi-Fi access points are unlocked, while some 70% are locked. Nice to see everybody taking security so seriously..."

    F U, I've been intentionally open since 2002 or so. (Basically, since I got it.) It's like, if you leave your lights on and windows open, someone can sit outside your house and read a book with the light you're giving off--OH NOES!

    First of all, it doesn't cost anything to share a bit of WiFi. If someone happens to be driving by and needs it, they can park and use it. If a neighbor loses their connectivity for a day and wants to use mine, FINE, GO AHEAD--I won't even notice or care. Nor will my ISP.

    Secondly: security? What security? I doubt there is a band of leet hackers hiding behind my fence trying to get financial data off my wife's laptop (hint: it's usually closed) or trying to pull my credit card number or bank login name as it whizzes by among gigs of other data. (Hint: you'll also have to crack HTTPS.)

    You're worried about credit card fraud? Worry more about the 19-year-old you give your card to at a restaurant who disappears with it for a couple minutes. My family and I have had credit card info stolen and abused several times in the last decade and not once was the Internet involved, let alone hackers sitting outside our house at night doing MITM attacks. I'm more worried about an ACTUAL break-in (which I've also experienced) than a cyber one.

  • With [] you can have many more available WiFi hotspots.

  • by Gribflex ( 177733 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:23AM (#30694806) Homepage

    I moved to France last year and was pleasantly surprised at the ISPs attitudes towards sharing wifi.

    My provider,, by default enables guest access on my router. However, it's not completely open.
    In order to access the connect, you must enter your account details (login and password), and then you are given access to a limited connection.
    Should you not want to share your connection with other people, you can easily disable this feature; but doing so also disables your account from being able to access roaming wifi.

    I really love that the community sharing feature is enabled by default.
    As long as I'm willing to share my connection with other subscribers, then I get access to their bandwidth when I'm away from home. And, as one of the larger providers in the area, this means I have access from just about anywhere I go.

  • Many Europeans live in a much more urban setting then we do in the US. I live in a suburb and therefore I don't bother securing my wireless. If someone wants to use my bandwidth they'll have to be on my property to do it, because I don't get much range out of my house. Why should I bother securing it? It's much more conveniant to leave it open, especially when friends stop over or I'm working on someone's PC. All of my banking etc is run over SSL so it's encrypted endpoint to endpoint anyway. If I liv

  • A while back, during my mundane but arguably misspent youth, I set up a "special" open AP.

    Bog standard Linksys box, SSID "Linksys", no security(other than a decent password on the http admin panel). The WAN side of the router was connected to the internet; but went through a hub that was shared by a box silently running tcpdump and listening...

    I never caught anything all that exciting, and eventually got bored and shut it down; but it wasn't a difficult exercise, nor are thoughtless and ever so vaguel
  • On purpose? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by smoyer ( 108342 )

    I take security very seriously but have purposely left my wi-fi accessible to whoever would want to use it. Instead of password protecting the wireless link, I made sure that the access point was secure and isolated from the rest of my network. Want some free wi-fi? Come and use mine for free!

  • I'm Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:33AM (#30694990) Homepage

    Nice to see everybody taking security so seriously then. It should be perfectly possible to "share" Wi-Fi while using WPA or WPA2 security measures at the same time.

    I take security very seriously, so my machines are properly secured for direct access to the Internet, and my important machines are behind their own firewall.

    I must be missing something about WPA or WPA2 -- how can you make your network show up without the little lock icon when a stranger passes by, so they know they can log in?

    Why would I want to encrypt the channel, anyway? As soon as the comm hits the Internet it hops nodes I don't control. If I want it secure, I had better be using an encrypted channel at a higher layer. Admittedly, I could transfer sensitive files in the clear on my own network, but why? I use SCP for everything, which is easy (easier, IMO, than GUI) and it is a good habit to get into.

    Which all is to say: I think the "WPA/WPA2 == security" thing is a bad meme. Good security starts above the network layer, and generally can end there. Meanwhile, securing all our Wi-Fi nodes kinda sucks in terms of making the network universally pervasive.

    Free the APs, secure the machines and processes.

  • "...It should be perfectly possible to "share" Wi-Fi while using WPA or WPA2 security measures at the same time."

    While it is perfectly "possible" to share WPA-secured Wi-Fi, it's not feasible, or the path requiring "minimal effort", which in many aspects of consumer electronics today, seems to be the mantra.

    Also, maybe I'm alone in my thinking here, but generally if I see somewhere advertising a "hotspot", I tend to get a bit pissed when it's not easily (i.e. you connect and it just works) accessible. Isn't that the whole point of offering a "hotspot" to begin with? I don't read these statistics of unsecure "hotspot

  • security? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spikenerd ( 642677 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:40AM (#30695090)

    Nice to see everybody taking security so seriously then

    Why must you assume it's a "security" thing? Isn't it possible that some of us *want* to share our Internet access? This is the same attitude that people only use P2P for piracy. It's only mostly true.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:44AM (#30695150)

    I must rant ...

    I'm rather sick of hearing 'OMG NOT ENCRYPTED' or 'OMG USES WEP INSTEAD OF WPA' when talking about WiFi.

    If you're talking about it while using a wifi hotspot, then you're just a fucking moron without even the slightest clue.

    No one gives a fuck about your data. They aren't sitting at an airport trying to gather sensitive information. You know why? BECAUSE ANYONE WHO HAS SENSITIVE INFORMATION IS USING ENCRYPTION FOR ALL THEIR CONNECTIONS NOT JUST WIFI. It doesn't freaking matter if the wifi is sent in the clear, their actual session to their file server, mail server or web server is going to be encrypted via SSL or over a VPN.

    Any half way competent admin treats wifi as an external network, regardless of encryption used on it, even their own internal wifi networks.

    So fucking WHAT if your Starbucks wifi is clear text? You're upset because you're sending it over the air without encryption, but you're fine with the fact that it travels all over the Internet with no encryption? You're afraid someone at the airport may snoop you via wifi, but you don't care if they snoop you via the lan the wifi connects to? You somehow think that because it requires a password, that all the other people that have the password somehow can't see what your sending?

    If its public, you're retarded for encrypting it or worrying about the encryption. Everything you're going to do that needs security has a different, BETTER way of handling security and encryption than ANYTHING wifi has to offer.

    You don't need to 'share' wifi and use 'wpa or wpa2' at the same time, just fucking make it clear text and stop acting like its 'super secure' when its not. If anyone can buy in or someone easily get your wifi key than your encryption is 100% pointless. Wifi passwords are only useful as a limited effectiveness way of preventing people from using your bandwidth, thats it, nothing more.

    Anyone who thinks they are 'secure' because of wifi encryption is just ignorant. Theres no reason for a hotspot to be encrypted, its there to be shared.

    And for fucking reference, a hotspot is a place that allows random people to connect. Your WAP at home isn't a freaking hotspot, its just a wireless router. You don't have a hotspot in your home, Starbucks has one, McDonalds has one, the Airport has one. You have a WAP.

    So you know why there are a lot of unencrypted hotspots? BECAUSE ITS RETARDED TO DO IT ANY OTHER WAY, the only reason it gets done other ways is shear ignorance and paranoia because of other twits on the Internet that scream OMG ENCRYPTION ENCRYPTION ENCRYPTION!@$!@%$!@%.

  • It is very simple really. ISPs in the densely populated EU quickly figured out that if they don't restrict internet
    access to the paying customers, many other users from the nearby apartments/townhouses will free-ride.

    So, they simply sell the model and the wireless router as one package, with a passcode that is setup by the ISP
    and printed on the back of the router.

    It is not that European users or ISPs are more aware of security. It is because ISPs want to make sure people
    do not free-ride on their services,

  • Well yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:14PM (#30695680) Journal

    ...the MOST unlocked hotspots? SWEET.

    The fact that most of them connected to the web at something around 48kbps, not so sweet.

    We have the largest tin-can-and-string network IN THE WORLD, BITCHES.

  • by Penguin ( 4919 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:18PM (#30695752) Homepage

    User from Denmark ( EU) here.

    I admire the amout of (deliberately) open wifi hotspots in USA. A couple of friends traveled around the States last year and found free wifi services everywhere - except Las Vegas.

    This seem to be an interesting phenomenon. At first it might seem reasonable: wherever you are expected to pay for services you are also expected to pay for Internet access.

    However, this leads to some curious cases. I have experienced hotels in Denmark, England and Spain that charge for internet access. But on the other hand it is not uncommon for hostels (that are cheaper and where one would expect a lesser degree of service) to have free wifi.

    The economic background is interesting. The cost of putting up a hotspot is pretty low, especially at simple hostels that probably already have internet access and wifi for the employees. But the expenses of putting up a payment solution and handling support is high.

    This leads to an interesting paradox: It is the payment solution that might not be feasible at "cheap" places such as hostels; not the Internet connection by itself. The result is that since it is not worthwhile putting up a payment solution the Internet access is simply free!

    In some places this leads to even more interesting results:

    The suburban railway service in Copenhagen has free wifi on the the trains. These trips are usually short, hence the payment process might itself take too long to be convenient.

    However the inter-city trains where travel times are usually about 1½-4 hours there is a wifi payment solution. At first it might make sense but as it is charged per minute any delays underway would lead to a larger travel time and therefore a higher total cost.

    Free Internet access could partially make up for a bad travel experience with delays (one would be able to still work online, pass time by casual surf, chat and so on or update successive travel arrangements). Instead passengers are simply punished further economically when the travel is delayed underway.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.