We all got used to blindly trust all WiFi networks we connect to, because in the old days, there was just WiFi in the office, at home and at friend’s places. We could trust all of them without any reason for concern.
With the growing availability of fast public WiFi networks we are getting connected outside our trusted environments more and more. Unfortunately old habits die hard and we still use whichever WiFi network is available without asking questions about who owns or administers the network. Can we really trust the WiFi network we connect to?
An essential habit for staying safe is to make sure you can trust the intermediary who facilitates a service you want to use; i.e. car repair, valet parking, currency exchange, e-commerce site, vpn connection, etc.
Before the internet and modern communications we all had a network of family and friends which kept us informed about potential danger spots and kept us up to date on whom we could trust and whom to avoid. It was called “the neighborhood watch” and in a way this was crowdsourced security intelligence.
This is the way HotspotID works; the app installed by all users collects the WiFi fingerprints and sends them to the HotspotID server, where these are checked against all the data submitted by the other users all over the world to make sure you are not connected to a WiFi pirate. If you are, the app will receive a notification to warn you – or to turn off WiFi all together (on Android phones only). And finally, the data collected is also used to calculate and track the reputation of all WiFi access points in our database.
By using HotspotID you all contribute intelligence data which is shared back to all users. When you startup HotspotID it will show you all the access points in range along with the reputation evaluation we have on file for any registered access points. (See image on the left).
So, it is important to have HotspotID running in the background all the time. This way all the WiFi networks you connect to will be registered and their reputation will be tracked.
As I said, old habits to trust the middleman who provides a service, but new tools to make sure your trust is not misplaced.