back to article Connect at mine free Wi-Fi! I would knew what I is do! I is cafe boss!

Stop the digital presses, hold the home page – I have breaking news for you! An organisation somewhere in the world has NOT been hacked into today! Of course when I say "been hacked into", I mean "allowed anyone with a computer and the slightest inclination to take an unauthorised copy of confidential customer records with the …

Welcome back! We missed you!

Nothing brightens my day like an official Dabbsy rant!

*Happy sigh*

Dabbs is back, all is right in the world again.

=-)p.

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Pint

Re: Welcome back! We missed you!

Well we've got Dabbs and On-Call, so we just need a BOfH from Simon to round out the holy trinity nicely. But as they say, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, and will certainly do until beer o'clock...

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"This is baffling, given that I only ever mention such crowdfunding projects here in order to ridicule them. "

"Say good things or bad things but talk about my product" - Rule of acquisition 234

smart doorbell

Fascinating! I'm launching right now a crow(d)funding project for a smart doormat which will be able to connect to your smartphone to warn you if the guy at your door walked into dog shit. Once I have collected €1,000,000, expect first delivery as soon as 2037.

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"Fascinating! I'm launching right now a crow(d)funding project for a smart doormat which will be able to connect to your smartphone to warn you if the guy at your door walked into dog shit. Once I have collected €1,000,000, expect first delivery as soon as 2037."

Shut up and take my money!

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Smartbel

The smart doorbell has existed for years: http://doorchimesuk.co.uk/catalog/Smartbel.php

We have one: We have a property of about 1.3 microwales and renting out cottages to tourist; our gate is about 9 Brontosauri from our house. We then put the contraption there as opposed to running cables; it also means we can hear the bell anywhere in the property. So there...

BTW, it is just a mobile phone ringing one particular number.

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FAIL

One of the hotels I stayed in whilst travelling around Vietnam had the default username and password on the router, I kept logging in as admin and rebooting it when things got clogged up.

I was going to tell them when I checked out, but had second thoughts due to a surprisingly well built Vietnamese gentleman working reception that morning...

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You could have saved yourself some grief by setting QoS for VPN traffic and then only connecting a VPN to the wi-fi. No need to constantly re-boot.

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FAIL

Dialling time

Normally it takes a few seconds to connect a call over a mobile phone network; I suspect that in this time the person at the door will get bored and sod off (or "helpfully" pop your parcel into the dustbin to "keep it dry").

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I saw an advert on the TV for the smart doorbell the other day and though what kind of idiot thinks that's a good idea? It's not like the woman walking down the street wasn't surrounded by noise that would make it obvious she wasn't at home.

My utilities provider is also utterly determined that I must have a smart meter, and think it's very odd that I have concerns about devices being externally accessible from my house. They keep sending me emails with pictures of 80s telephones telling me that I don't use one of them anymore so why would I use anything else from then.

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Coat

You can tell them than you head predates 1980 (hey I'm making an assumption here, ok?) and you are still using it and in fact, you consider it better than some newer models of human heads.

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TRT
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I'm sure you can get an upgrade. Like Arnie did.

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They keep sending me emails with pictures of 80s telephones telling me that I don't use one of them anymore so why would I use anything else from then.

Ooh, I wish they'd do that to me, I could send them back a photo of my Tele8746 in the hallway, with a message saying "wrong!"

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I have a 1926 neophone in the office. :)

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Smart doorbell has potential

If only they hadn't advertised it on TV (this is "Ring") and shown everybody how it works.

You can pretend to be in, that's the main idea. You also can photograph people, and this works BEFORE they ring the bell because it can be motion sensitive. (Yes, this means if a cat does a whoopsie on the doorstep. Yes, there are repeats on of "Some Mothers Do Have 'Em".)

Delay in answering is normal for door phones as well as bells.

Rubbish sound quality is also normal for door phone. If it's bad enough then your visitor won't know where you are or what you're saying. For that matter, the app could be written to play pre recorded messages such as "Can you tell the man next door, I'm just getting into the bath" etc. Or a big barking dog would be a great sound effect to use.

Also if it is a burglar by the look of it then you can call the police straight away. It seems unlikely that the naughty boy or girl will win that battle of wits.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Just another attempt

I don't the problem with an unsecured wifi hotspot - perhaps you can enlighten me?

A secure connection only gets you as far as the wifi router - that could have any kind of software running to intercept your traffic, so if you care about security, you need to be using some other security layer anyway.

That might be a VPN, or it might be plain old https

please enlighten me. I understand that if I connect to an unsecured router, then anyone around me can see my http traffic, and they can also see the domain for my https requests. Is that really a problem?

If it is - then I'm pretty paranoid; How do I know I can trust the owner of the secure hotspot not to look at the same stuff?

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Re: Just another attempt

I agree. Its similar to when you walk down one of those unsecured pavements. People can see which cake shops you go in!

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Re: Just another attempt

I agree, as well. I thought the main point of password-protecting wifi was to prevent unauthorised people jumping on your bandwidth. I am willing to be enlightened.

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Re: Just another attempt

Absolutely. It's also much more preferable than the type that requires you to create an account first, then they forever email you with the latest offers from that chain & all its partners.

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Windows

Re: Just another attempt

People can see which cake shops you go in!

Which is just a gauge on taste and sophistication - It's people knowing how many cake shops you go in, though...

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Re: Just another attempt

Unsecured routers expose you machine to everyone else on it by default.

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Pint

Re: Just another attempt

"type that requires you to create an account first"

Whenever I see that page (usually at airports), it reminds me that I don't really need the internet so much after all, and should just head for the nearest bar instead.

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Re: Just another attempt

"Unsecured routers expose you machine to everyone else on it by default."

Perhaps we should have some kind of protection at the device level then? firewall , AV, encryption etc?

Teach your phone not to take sweets from strangers?

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Re: Just another attempt

Isn't that the same for secured APs as well though? Once people are connected then there's not much difference unless the router has some firewall policies blocking inter device connections (which isn't what we're talking about here I don't think?).

Plus if it's a public WiFi then the Password isn't going to be hard to get hold of (on a notice by the cash register etc...) so not really much of a security gain...

As someone said above though I'm more than willing to be proved wrong.

Matt

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Flame

Re: Just another attempt

In CanadaLand places usually offer free WiFi Access, which basically turns out to be "Hi are you a Shaw customer, No! FOAD or see about moving to us". Telus free WiFi its more a case of a simple account creation.

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Re: Just another attempt

I connect to an unsecured router, then anyone around me can see my http traffic, and they can also see the domain for my https requests. Is that really a problem?

1. Who are they using for DNS? How do you know it's a legit DNS and not one that sends you to dodgy.macdodgyface.com instead of farcebook.com?

2. Are they doing MITM attacks and presenting fake https certs?

3. There are a lot of attacks that can be done against local, wifi-attached devices. Are you willing to trust that someone isn't doing that to you on a cheap public wifi? Very few of them offer device segregation.

Admittedly, the last one can be done against your device even if it's using VPN but the first two get excluded by using a VPN (especially if you use a IP address as the end-point and not a DNS name)

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Re: Just another attempt

I agree, I don't understand the fuss. When you send any data out onto "The Internet", it is by definition insecure. I don't see why using public Wi-Fi, secured or not, is less secure than using the internet from home.

Once the packet leaves your house, it can be intercepted. Period. Whether you send that packet from your own router/access point doesn't really matter.

If you are connecting to a server or share on your own private network with your own Wi-Fi, then of course you want the Wi-Fi to be secured. Otherwise, outside of your network, it really doesn't matter if the Wi-Fi is encrypted. As others have pointed out the hotel owner could be packet sniffing.

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Re: Just another attempt

Unsecured routers expose you machine to everyone else on it by default.

So do secured ones. Whether you're running open, unencrypted or WEP/WPA secured one has nothing to do with whether wireless devices see each other.

Of course any half decent AP has an option for running in isolated mode but that is a completely different matter and usually needs to be specifically switched on.

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Re: Just another attempt

Whenever I see that page ... it reminds me that I should have found the email address of the company's marketing dept so they can eat their own spam.

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Re: Just another attempt

As for creating an account to use free wifi. So far typing a fake email addy and Robert's your mum's brother. I've never had to verify it, and can't think of a way it would work - not everyone has access to their email account, So it's something like wdfdwfdwf@gmail.com everytime. (My apologies to Mr. wdfdwfdw by the way. Sorry about all the spam).

And why I would want it? Mostly boredom - checking the news etc.

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The BOFH's absence explained

"A secure connection only gets you as far as the wifi router - that could have any kind of software running to intercept your traffic, so if you care about security, you need to be using some other security layer anyway."

Simon is in fact on a "working holiday" Greece...

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Happy

Re: Just another attempt

"And why I would want it? Mostly boredom - checking the news etc."\

The last time I was in Greece I was accompanied by a couple of cracking attractive Scandinavian ladies.

I can assure you that the lack of internet didn't bother me in least.

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Re: Just another attempt

My less than expert understanding is that HTTPS sometimes still uses plain old DNS, so they can't see what you're accessing, but they know where from. Which is still info leakage. Unless you have DNSSEC enabled somehow?

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Devil

Re: Just another attempt

Just use the email address of the CEO of the chain or the manager of the hotel :-)

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Pint

Don't worry, Dabbsy.

They've formed a Cyber Police Academy! The graduates are going to form a Cyber Patrol to protect us! (Why am suddenly I glad that E. E. Smith missed the computer era?)

Welcome back to the mad house. This round's on me.

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Please to be using our free WiFimabob.

Probably not applicable to greasy spoons, or whatever the equivalent Greek purveyor of e-coli is, but the majority of this free WiFi is simply another method of tracking. Since it's free, you have no expectation of level of service so if they fling an ad or two you're not going to ask for your money back.

Of course, we all have a VPN service to connect to, don't we? RSN with AES doesn't really matter when you have an encrypted pipe to the Internet, does it? And we'd never accept their DNS as canonical, would we? Think again. They're collecting MACs, linking them with customer data and they have a globally unique ID for you from one hotel stay, regardless of the pipe to the Internet. The AP has to be able to see your dirty MAC, Mr Columbo. You may as well have an LED sign, in 16M glorious colours, advertising your presence to every smug-faced marketer on the planet until your next device upgrade when the MAC changes again.

As always, follow the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Please to be using our free WiFimabob.

The MAC of your device is usually only to distinguish it from other "local" devices. So for a free wi-fi there's probably no reason why it can't be a carefully chosen different value every time you connect. IPv6 may make that a bit more tricky.

In the early days of Ethernet it was not unusual for the MAC address to be configurable by software. That may or may not be the case nowadays.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Please to be using our free WiFimabob.

MAC addreses can be changed in software.

If (say) you wanted to play fast and loose with certain types ofsoftware licensing. Which is illegal.

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Silver badge

Re: Please to be using our free WiFimabob.

The AP has to be able to see your dirty MAC

Fortunately, advanced devices[1] using MAC address randomisation when connecting to public wifi..

[1] iOS devices and some Androids..

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Re: Please to be using our free WiFimabob.

Fortunately, advanced devices[1] using MAC address randomisation when connecting to public wifi..

[1] iOS devices and some Androids..

Or Windows 10 and Windows Phone devices, which technically qualify as advanced.

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Anonymous Coward

"Hopefully it's intelligent enough to take note that my preferences for lightbulbs is that they should produce white light when switched on, [...]"

Certainly sir. Now would you like incandescent, CFL, or LED? ES, BC, or SES? 2700K, 3000K, or 5000K? Soft, warm, or cool light? UV free?

There are other options of course...

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@AC

i don't have to pick my "white" . . . i just use NTSC.

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Re: @AC

Never The Same Colour...

Right?

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Smart intercoms/bells are a good idea, that are usually badly implemented

Current intercoms are expensive and are clunky or wired.

Current smart intercoms are crappy and expensive, most don't even have the basic physical security of having the main guts on the inside and the speaker on the outside that the normal intercoms do, AND they require internet to work, so they are useless for anywhere with a poor internet conection..

Now if your like me, and have large garden (i.e. an old house in the UK, not a new build) then you need an intercom to be able to get back to the house when a delivery comes... So it makes sense to have a network connected intercom, and having video is a bonus as you can see who is at your door/gate and not even have to answer it if your not sure who it is.

I am making my own at the moment, because no one actually makes anything good in this market right now and I need one.

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Re: Smart intercoms/bells are a good idea, that are usually badly implemented

A discreetly placed IP camera pointing at the door that can be seen on your phone, and a standard wired doorbell?

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Silver badge

Re: Smart intercoms/bells are a good idea, that are usually badly implemented

Exactly! The implementation I am thinking of would be a bell that can for example, recognise, mormons, jehovah's witnesses, bailiffs and sales people, it would wait until they are in exactly the right spot and then release a trap door into a crocodile pit.

For added value it could record and post their demise on a monetised you tube account that has no links to me but will put the revenue into a bit coin account that I can access. Now that would be really smart.

Aside from that the IoT can piss off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Smart intercoms/bells are a good idea, that are usually badly implemented

"[...] and a standard wired doorbell?"

How do you hear the doorbell? You could have an old GPO style external bell or klaxon - but that would be antisocial for any neighbours.

I use a portable 433MHz Byron bell with sufficient range to use at the bottom of the garden. To be really sure I hear it - the house wired bell circuit has a Hall effect current transducer input to an Arduino. The program generates the 433MHz ring signal up to three times - spaced by a few seconds. An "alarm" magnetic switch on the front door inhibits the repeats once the door is opened.

The Byron TX6/7 has two chimes that are dependent on the encoding of the "ring" signal. I use a Westminster chime if someone presses the door bell. The other chime is a "ding-dong" - which is sent by the arduino when an infrared beam across the drive is broken.

So a "ding dong" is a warning signal of visitor, post, or circular. If followed by a Westminster chime then it means someone is ringing the bell.

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Headmaster

Re: Smart intercoms/bells are a good idea, that are usually badly implemented

I remember that about twenty years ago, I worked in a rather large estate, and the doorbell/intercom was connected to DECT handsets. Fairly useful, that. Even moreso once the answering machine doesn't answer the intercom after the fifth ring.

(Icon because it seems to be the closest to "old fart" there is, well, or the "flammable" one?)

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IT Angle

Re: Smart intercoms/bells are a good idea, that are usually badly implemented

Now if your like me, and have large garden (i.e. an old house in the UK, not a new build) then you need an intercom to be able to get back to the house when a delivery comes... So it makes sense to have a network connected intercom, and having video is a bonus as you can see who is at your door/gate and not even have to answer it if your not sure who it is.

I am making my own at the moment, because no one actually makes anything good in this market right now and I need one.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/22/84/69/22846936bf4b2804d78694dfd016cec9--rustic-signs-wood-signs.jpg

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Smart intercoms/bells are a good idea, that are usually badly implemented

"Icon because it seems to be the closest to "old fart" there is, [...]"

The penultimate icon in the selection panel - before the "IT" one - is a bewhiskered old gent that usually represents an old fogey. Its tip title is "Windows User".

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Re: Smart intercoms/bells are a good idea, that are usually badly implemented

"So a "ding dong" is a warning signal of visitor, post, or circular. If followed by a Westminster chime then it means someone is ringing the bell."

And if it is followed closely by the sound of barking dogs and screaming then the bell has been rung by a door-to-door soul saver, utilities fraud team or a salesperson from Citrix.

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