Computerworld is reporting this week on the existence of a new piece of software that could trick users of hotspots into logging into the wrong place. Called Airsnarf, the Linux-based software is a “simple rogue wireless access point” that could be used by hackers to send out a Wi-Fi signal that any user would intercept instead of the signal from their hotspot’s actual access point. Airsnarf works like a honeypot and brings up a fake log-in page. Entering a username and password on this page would send the information to the person running Airsnarf. The creators of the software, called the Shmoo Group, say the software was created to demonstrate the vulnerability of 802.1b hotspots and that it is not intended to be used criminally. So far there are no reports of stolen passwords by any of the major hotspot providers. To solve problems like this, security is becoming more of a necessity in public wireless venues. T-Mobile, for example, will be installing 802.1X authentication at all its hotspots by the middle of 2004 for user who want the protection. Schmoo Group says it has also developed a hotspot defense kit to help venue owners and providers protect against hackers. — November 26, 2003
The East Valley Tribune of Arizona is reporting that Arizona State University and the city of Tempe are in discussions to create a public WLAN that would cover the campus and a major street running adjacent to the campus. ASU currently has five hotspots. Neighboring cities Mesa and Scottsdale are also considering building hotspots in their downtown areas, according to the story. — November 26, 2003
BT plans to offer a hotspot-in-a-box package in Ireland via its subsidiaries Esat BT and BT Northern Ireland. The product, called “Openzone in a Box,” is aimed at small business owners who don’t want to pay for the company’s full-service solution. The package, which will sell for 500 euros ($595), includes a wireless access point, 60 prepaid vouchers for service, marketing materials and tech support. BT currently operates 50 hotspots in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland through its subsidiaries, and plans to deploy 370 of its own by 2006. It hopes the Openzone in a Box package will help raise the total to 500 locations. — November 26, 2003
Passing through Mentor, Ohio any time soon? The News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio says that local restaurant Yours Truly now comes complete with Wi-Fi access — plus tables with extra outlets. A partner in family-run location said making the local a hotspot was a “no-brainer” and builds on the restaurants business crowd clientele. — November 21, 2003
FastLine Internet of Vivian, Lousianna — a company started by two locals who were sick of waiting for broadband so they set up their own mesh network using LocustWorld Linux-based equipment — has unwired another town, this time in Linden, Texas. The town of 2,256 people is now served by four LocustWorld nodes that provide wireless broadband to almost every business and residence, and since it’s a mesh, it can grow as needed. FastLane is also working on a rollout for the town of Gun Barrel City, Texas. LocustWorld mesh got its start in England. — November 21, 2003
WISPs that specialize in hotels like to call their service HSIA: high-speed Internet access. Who are we to argue? Acronyms are fun. The latest company to do so is Golden Tree Communications, which said today it has now gone all-wireless in 100 out of the 400 hotels they support with HSIA. The reason for the growth, according to the company VP of business development, is the improvements in security and the decrease in cost. You can find a list of their hotel locations on their Web site. — November 21, 2003
Swiss telco Sunrise has launched a network of hotspots aimed at business users. The operator said it plans to expand the network with partner Monzoon, and will have around 70 hotspots in Switzerland by the end of the year. The hotspots will be in locations such as hotels, airports, train stations and conference centers. Sunrise will offer three usage plans. Current mobile subscribers can get unlimited WLAN access for 59 Swiss francs ($45) a month. Prepaid cards are also available, with prices ranging from 15 Swiss francs ($12) for two hours of use to 98 Swiss francs ($75) for seven days of unlimited access. Users can also pay for access directly with a credit card; prices range from 7 Swiss francs ($5) for 30 minutes to 98 Swiss francs ($75) for seven days. — November 20, 2003
The Netherland’s PicoPoint has partnered with African wireless ISP Ericonet to provide hotspots in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Under the agreement, PicoPoint will provide Ericonet with a back-office and roaming solution, including authentication, authorization and billing services. Ericonet is focusing on upscale locations such as the Dar es Salaam International Airport and the Golden Tulip Dar es Salaam Hotel. — November 20, 2003
The Six Flags Fairfield in Douglas County, Georgia has just gone completely wireless in its 81 rooms and all common areas — even the pool deck — thanks to lodging-oriented WISP StayOnline. The hotel is one of twelve run by Pineapple Properties, and is their second to get StayOnline’s service (after the Coral Bridge Best Western in Fort Myers, Florida). StayOnline is one of the few WISPs out there that offers a degree of wireless security, using 128-bit wired equivalent privacy (WEP) through its EZAir service. — November 19, 2003
Canada’s newest hotzone: Fredericton, New Brunswick. The province’s capital city says the Fred-eZone is there for free access to any Wi-Fi user, and it spans the entire municipality (downtown and Knowledge Park, to start, with full coverage of the city’s public spaces expected). The city has had its own high-speed fiber optic network, the Fredericton Community Network, since 1999, a network the eZone connects to for Internet backhaul. The hardware behind the deployment is Cisco based; in fact, Cisco Systems is helping with the installation. — November 19, 2003
Low-airfare pro JetBlue is offering free Wi-Fi to any and all customers who pass through its east coast base: Terminal 6 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Set to work with any 802.11b device at the departure gates, the entire network was built in house by JetBlue. The company also has the same service at the LA/Long Beach Airport in Long Beach, Calif., their west coast base. — November 19, 2003
The Basque region of northern Spain will soon be getting public WLANs. The area’s telecom company Euskaltel has contracted with ServiceFactory of Stockholm to use the latter’s Orbyte Wireless System in hotspots. Euskaltel has been trying Wi-Fi hotspots on for size for a couple of years, and recently made official 75 sites with Wi-Fi services. According to BWCS, there about 190 hotspots in Spain by the end of September this year, most run by Kubi Wireless. — November 17, 2003
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