About this blog

They say blogging is passé. Well, I don’t believe them.  Who are “they” anyway.

When you publish a product and you are trying to build a community, you need tools for meaningful and lasting communication with your user community and target audience.

That said, in this blog I want to write about,  WiFi and security in the context of how we use  WiFi on a daily basis today, and how we may be using it in the future.  It may get technical some times, but only when there is no way around it.

Communication is a 2-way street. So, whenever you don’t agree with my writings, or you have something to add, or your want to bring in a new topic around WiFi and security, just write a comment or send me a mail (blog at hotspotid.com).

And lastly, the standard blogging house rules apply.  We are all civilized people who respect each other and should behave as such. Misbehaving will not be tolerated.

Happy surfing. And remember, you are safe-r on WiFi with HotspotID.

The missing evidence on WiFi attacks

There is a lot of talk on the media these days about WiFi man-in-the-middle attacks, rogue WiFi access points, drones injecting malware via WiFi, etc… Everyone talks about it, but has anyone ever “seen” one these occurrences?   Most likely not, because (up to now) there were no real convenient tools to reveal rogue access points in the wild.

We want to change this with HotspotID.  Besides giving the user tools to detect rogue WiFi access points, we want to share with everyone, when and where this happens.

Introducing : The WiFi ALERT meter.

HotspotID detects Evil Twin attacks in real time.
HotspotID detects Evil Twin attacks in real time.

The map shows all registered access points represented by their reputation icon.

Location of registered access points, displayed with the reputation value.
Location of registered access points, displayed with the reputation value.

Check it out on our Live Data page: qr.hotspotid.com.


HotspotID – How it works.

HotspotID is the first (and only) app to protect you against WiFi Pirates (a fake, or so-called rogue WiFi access point (AP)) and helps you stay safe on public and private WiFi networks.

How HotspotID works:

  • HotspotID fingerprints each WiFi connection you make and sends the collected data to the HotspotID server.
  • Each fingerprint includes ± 20 data points, depending on the phone model, network configuration and app settings.
  • On the server all fingerprints are registered and checked to verify you are connected to a legitimate access point not to a WiFi Pirate. If a WiFi Pirate is detected HotspotID will warn you and turn off WiFi on your phone. (This action can be managed in the settings).
  • All fingerprint check results are tracked to calculate the overall reputation for each corresponding access point. The reputation is displayed in the app a green, yellow or red icon (looks like a WiFi person) in the right margin by the access point name. The number of fingerprints on which the reputation is based is displayed in brackets next to the reputation icon.
  • Standard use of HotspotID is anonymous, but you can optionally register to setup an account. When you are logged in you can give user ratings on access points and you can save an AP in a “My Places” list. The features for registered users will be expanded in the future.

App Settings

In the settings you can configure the following parameters:

  • Automatic Fingerprinting : ON / OFF
  • Share phone location data : ON / OFF
    (The phone location data is ONLY used to register / verify the location of the access points you connect to.)
  • Mobile Data : ON / OFF
    (HotspotID uses Wifi to connect to the server. But if no WiFi connection is available, we can use Mobile Data to retrieve the reputation data for all the access points in range and any given time).
  • Buzz / audio warning when a WiFi Pirate is detected : ON / OFF
  • Turn off WiFi when a WiFi Pirate is detected : YES / NO

WiFi Pirates

This is a term we invented to label WiFi access points (AP) which could jeopardize your WiFi safety. They are also referred to as spoofed AP, rogue AP, Evil Twins, etc…

Whatever they are called, in almost all cases they are setup by hackers or snoopers to trick you in connecting to the Pirate, in order to steal private data or inject malware into your phone or computer. Unfortunately, up to now (i.e. before HotspotID came along) there have been no tools for normal WiFi users to protect themselves against WiFi Pirates.

Crowdsourcing & Sharing back to the community.

HotspotID is setup to collect live data for all the WiFi connections made by all HotspotID users.

This is called crowdsourcing. This crowdsourced data is used to; 1) verify each WiFi connection for each user in real time and 2) calculate a reputation profile for each registered access point based on all connections made. The more data we collect for each access point, the more reliable the analysis will be.

In return for collecting this data, we share with the full user community, in real time, the reputation data for all the access points in our database, so that each user can benefit from the data contributed by the whole community.

So, the more users we get, the more data will be collected and the more reputation data will be produced to share with all users.