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How to Use a Neighbor’s Wi-Fi Internet Connection | Techwalla
You can share your neighbor’s Wi-Fi network, if they authorize you.
Wireless network signals travel for hundreds of feet from the location of the access point; if that point is connected to the Internet, anyone within the radius of the signal can, in principle, access the Internet over that Wi-Fi network. You can connect to a Wi-Fi network belonging to your neighbor, as long as you acquire their authorization in advance.
Click “Start, ” then “Control panel. ”
Select “Network and Internet, ” then click “Network and Sharing Center. ”
Click “Manage wireless networks” on the left side of the window. A list of wireless networks within range of your computer appears.
Find your neighbor’s Wi-Fi network on the list. If it’s not listed, you aren’t getting a strong enough signal to use it from your location. Try an alternate location.
Ask your neighbor if they allow you to use their Wi-Fi network. Do not join the network without having secured this authorization, for several reasons: it is illegal to access computing or network resources without the owner’s authorization; your neighbor can be held liable for any adverse consequences arising from your Internet activities; and the network bandwidth you use may impact the performance of applications your neighbor needs to run on his or her network.
Obtain the network key from your neighbor. Many Wi-Fi networks are encrypted and require a key.
Follow Steps 1 through 3 to bring up the list of wireless networks in range of your computer. Click the entry for the neighbor’s network, then click “Connect. ” Enter the network key when prompted. After a short delay, your computer will join your neighbor’s Wi-Fi network and you can start accessing the Internet.
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Hacking your neighbour’s Wi-Fi – the mango zone
Hey kid, wanna hack some Wi-Fi?
This article is your 100% lactose-free guide to hacking home Wi-Fi. By the end it’s okay to feel afraid, insecure, or even the urge to bulk-purchase home networking equipment. It’s okay. We’ve all been there.
Isn’t is strange how when you move into a place and get an internet connection, you typically get given a home router as part of the package? Isn’t it strange how this router is held together using nothing but matchsticks, broken promises, and man’s hubris?
Did you know that anyone nearby can kick you off a Wi-Fi network?
Did you know your phone constantly broadcasts the names and locations (by proxy) of every Wi-Fi network you’ve ever connected to?
Yeah it’s all pretty broken hey?
Below are the steps for breaking it more.
Step 0: Don’t actually do this
I’m using “your neighbour” as an easy-to-remember example here.
You might be having what seems like a genius idea, and that’s “wowee I should hack my neighbour’s wifi because uhhhhhh”. This idea is a bad one, in the same way that trying to break into your neighbour’s house is a bad idea.
If you want to actually hack some Wi-Fi, try disconnecting and doing this to your own Wi-Fi.
Step 1: Find the right Wi-Fi
So in our 99. 99999% theoretical scenario, you and your laptop are within range of your neighbour’s Wi-Fi router. You don’t know the password, but you want to connect. Time to do some crimes.
The first thing you’d do is take out your laptop and run airodump-ng, a tool for precisely the job of hacking Wi-Fi.
Here’s what it looks like.
You see the names of nearby Wi-Fi networks and also their “BSSID”, which is a bit like an ID for Wi-Fi networks. It’s actually exactly like that.
Step 2: Get the password hash
Once you know the BSSID of your neighbour’s Wi-Fi, the goal is to get the Wi-Fi password. The router won’t tell you the Wi-Fi password, but it will give up the password hash1.
A password hash is like a scrambled version of the password. You can’t unscramble it. Kinda like how you can’t unscramble scrambled eggs back into the white and the yolk.
We’re going to find the hash by watching……the secret handshake.
The secret handshake
You heard me.
“is that real”
You might be wondering why there’s a secret handshake happening every time you connect to Wi-Fi, and that’s fair enough, I’m glad you asked.
Let’s say you’re a legitimate businessperson just connecting to your home Wi-Fi. No funny business. You know the password. But you need to prove to the Wi-Fi that you know the password. And the Wi-Fi needs to prove to you that it knows the password. The trouble is, everyone else can hear you.
Wi-Fi is broadcast as radio waves out of your device and router all the time. Anyone within range can hear what you’re saying.
It’s kinda like if you came up to me at a party and you said “I know your Facebook password”. It gets real tense. I nervously glance up at you and say “Really? ”. I want to know if you really do know my Facebook password, but I also don’t want you to just say “Your Facebook password is cooldude69” because everyone else at the party is listening.
So, the secret handshake lets you and the Wi-Fi router both prove you know the password without saying it.
The trick is that by spying on the handshake, an eavesdropper (that’s us) could see:
A randomly chosen bit of text (e. g. 3b5ef)
The same text, encrypted with the Wi-Fi password as the key (b8%&G)
You know the text, you know what it encrypts to, and you know how to do the encryption. The only thing you don’t know is what the key is. This means that you can guess something as the key, and check if your guess was right.
We see “3b53f” encrypts to “b8%&G”
Try encrypting “3b53f” with key “password1” -> “AAERJ” // Wrong!
Try encrypting “3b53f” with key “cooldad1964” -> “b8%&G” // Found it!
What if you just encrypt the text 3b5ef with cooldad1964 as the key, and it happens to encrypt to b8%&G?
Then you know that the password was cooldad1964. And if 3b5ef encrypts to something else, then you know your guess was wrong.
Step 3: Crack the password
So using the trick above, we’re going to just guess the password. The trick is that we’re going to be able to guess passwords way faster than if we were just typing them into the “Enter the password for this Wi-Fi network” box.
So, get out your pen and paper and blow the dust off that compass and straightedge because it’s time to do some encryption.
Just kidding, we’re not going to use pen and paper you big bozo. We’re going to use a graphics card.
Graphics cards are the part inside a computer that lets the computer be able to play 3D games such as PLAYERUNKNOWN’S ALLCAPS Murder Paradise and Viva Piñata: Party Animals. They also happen to be really fast at encrypting stuff.
So we’re going to get a big list of millions of passwords, and try them all to try and guess the Wi-Fi password.
Alright so you know how websites get hacked?
Sometimes, the hackers release the passwords of everyone on the website at the time it got hacked. You may have heard of these as “data breaches”.
Sites that got hacked recently and had passwords publicly exposed include LinkedIn, Adobe, and Myspace.
You, a person with an internet connection, can find these lists via Google. No dark web, no getting behind 7 proxies and insisting that your parents only call you by your “code name”, no nothing.
There are two kinds of home Wi-Fi networks: The kind that are called NETGEAR-7BDFC, which probably have randomly generated passwords, and the kind that are called Chris & Liz 2013, with passwords that are in these password lists.
I’m going to guess that your neighbour’s password is probably in one of the heaps big lists of passwords. But to find out which one it is, we’re going to have to encrypt 3b5ef (in this example) with every single password in the list as the encryption key2, and see if any of them match what we saw the Wi-Fi password encrypt to (b8%&G).
(If your neighbour has one of those randomly generated passwords, then you’re out of luck. JUST kidding click here for a fun time. )
Now that you’ve “acquired” these password lists, you gotta figure out which password is the Wi-Fi password.
Rapid-fire password guessing
Hashcat is software that can take a password list and a hash3 (“b8%&G”) and try to “unhash” it by comparing it to all the passwords in the list. To give you an estimate of how long this takes, my computer can check 10 million passwords in about 10 minutes. Specialised computers overflowing with graphics cards can do this in seconds.
You just plug the file containing the handshake that you got in Step 2 into hashcat, as well as your password lists.
And that’s it. Hashcat will likely just spit out the password, and you can just type it in the Wi-Fi “Enter the password” box. The main part is furiously guessing millions of passwords until we find the right one.
Why does this work?
Because people pick easy-to-guess passwords. English word with the first letter maybe capitalised then one or two numbers? That pattern covers a lot of people’s passwords and a computer can just quickly check all of them.
If you’re an average internet user, your password for everything is the same, and it’s your pet’s name followed by your house number. Even worse, it’s probably a password hackers already have in their password lists. What I’m saying is that on average, most Wi-Fi passwords people choose don’t stand a chance against these password lists.
You can check whether your password has been stolen by hackers (and published) by browsing to
So you can probably hack home Wi-Fi. What’s the point of doing it?
Finding your neighbour’s ISP password
Routers often store the password used to connect to the ISP in their admin pages.
This password would let you prove that you are your neighbour when talking to their ISP. You can cancel their internet all together. You can see their billing information. You are them.
Let me walk you through the complex process of hacking a home router.
First you open up the popular hacking software, Google Chrome, and go to 192. 168. 0. 1, which is usually the IP address of the router.
When you get there, you’ll see something like this.
Easiest admin/admin of your LIFE right there.
Once you’re in the router, the password is in the config page.
Oh no! The password is just dots! Your hacking career is over before it started!
Fear not, young keyboard warlock, for there is a deus ex machina that saves you in this cutscene.
You can Right Click > Inspect Element (hacker voice: i’m in) on the password field, and you’ll see this:
Edit that HTML to remove the type=”password” aaaaaaand
That’s right, the dots were only put there by your browser. The password was under them all along. You were trapped in a prison of your own mind.
Steal your neighbour’s data
So this one isn’t as cool as it used to be, but using ancient forbidden techniques like ARP poisoning (not nearly as cool as it sounds), you can spy on what your neighbour is sending to the internet.
This won’t work for websites with that lovingly hand-forged green HTTPS lock, since your neighbour’s data will be encrypted.
But, there are still plenty of sites that will ask for your password or credit card information over plain ol’ HTTP.
Even for some HTTPS sites (which do not use Certificate Pinning or HSTS or other Dark Rituals), you can force your victim to use plain unencrypted HTTP with SSLStrip.
It’s possible that reading the words on this hypertext page has made you question the bulletproof security of your own home network situation.
Here are some things you can do to stop worrying about your home Wi-Fi security.
1. Absolutely nothing
Don’t even worry about it. The pool of people who can attack your home Wi-Fi is limited to the people in physical range of it.
A website like PayPal is attackable by:
anyone with a computer
Your home Wi-Fi is attackable by:
anyone nearby your house
What I’m saying here is that the chance of someone with skills and motivation to hack your Wi-Fi actually doing it is… small. Probably your neighbours are just that nice family and that one guy who always leaves his beer bottles in your recycling bin.
Anyway that guy’s not gonna hack your Wi-Fi. This is why it’s not a total catastrophe that most people’s Wi-Fi security isn’t very good.
You might leave a spare key under the mat, or not bother to lock your windows even though someone could easily climb through them, because you’re not worried about someone physically breaking in. In the same way, your house probably doesn’t need extra-strong Wi-Fi security.
So don’t worry about it! Go to the beach! Work all day to make a rich dude slightly richer! He might thank you, but probably not! Eat a cupcake! Your Wi-Fi security probably isn’t worth worrying about.
2. Enable Paranoia Mode
“Wait what if there IS someone trying to hack my home Wi-Fi, like my local government or perhaps a particularly intelligent bird? ”
I mean the government has far easier ways to spy on you, but if you really want to tighten up your Wi-Fi security, you can:
Use WPA2-PSK, and change the Wi-Fi password to something unguessable but easy to share (for your guests, of course).
Good examples include fresh*life*fresh*mangoes and gday$one$internet$please. Or randomly generate one like [email protected]&*3Wj if you hate your guests and love typing.
Install custom router firmware like DD-WRT.
This has far fewer security holes than whatever 1997 PHP spaghetti your router came with.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post.
Big ol’ thanks to these heroes for their large brains which showed me how to do words more good.
If you want to talk to me about this, @ me on Twitter I guess.
How to share your Wi-Fi with neighbors during the pandemic.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.
Amid the pandemic, communities all around the world are coming together to help address some of the immediate needs produced by this public health crisis. Mutual aid groups are running errands for the most vulnerable populations and making masks for health workers.
Another crucial way we can help one another is sharing our internet service. The Federal Communications Commission estimates that in the U. S., more than 21 million people, or 6. 5 percent of the population, don’t have access to broadband service (fixed home broadband reaching download speeds of 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of 3 Mbps). Independent studies indicate the FCC has seriously undercounted the problem and put the number of Americans lacking broadband internet service at somewhere between 42 million and 162. 8 million people. Lack of internet access is particularly harmful for already marginalized and vulnerable populations, like those living in rural areas, on tribal lands, in low-income households, and schoolchildren.
If you live in an area where basic broadband infrastructure is lacking, you may not have consistent internet access to share with others. However, in urban and suburban areas where there is widespread broadband infrastructure, opening up your network may help neighboring households that are underserved or can’t afford fixed home internet service. Opening up your personal network may provide schoolchildren—who might otherwise have to rely on mobile internet to connect with their teacher or do their homework—with steady fixed home internet service. One teacher in South Africa asked a neighbor for Wi-Fi to get online and hold math class. Additionally, with some internet service providers halting home visits for installation or maintenance due to the pandemic, a neighbor may also ask if you can share your Wi-Fi network with them until their connection is fixed.
The easiest way to share your Wi-Fi securely is to simply give your neighbors your password. This isn’t the most technically secure approach, but if you know and trust your neighbors, go ahead and slip the password under the door of that neighbor who you know doesn’t have an internet connection.
If that’s not an option, there are a number of ways to securely set up a separate “guest network” for your neighbors to access. This is a little bit more difficult, since every router comes with a different interface, and not all suggestions work for every device. But our instructions should help you figure it out if you can.
To start, consult the instructions that came with your router, or find your model’s page on the internet, to figure out things like finding the administrative interface for your device. You’ll also need the administrative password for the router to make any of these changes. If you have no idea what the password is or was, you can perform a factory reset. This will wipe out all of the configuration on the router, so you will need to go through and set everything up again, so only do this if you really can’t find the password. Generally, that involves some form of holding down a reset button, but every router is a little different, so be sure to double-check with your manual. Once you’ve done the factory reset, you will be able to use a default password to log in to the admin interface. The default password should be in the user manual, and you can often also find it by searching for your router model with the phrase “default password. ” For that reason, don’t forget to change the password afterward, and don’t use a password that you use for anything else—which is good advice for all passwords.
Once you’ve gotten in to your router, you can start setting up network sharing. The easiest way is if the Wi-Fi/wireless section of your router’s settings has a “guest network” option that you can enable. If you can’t set up a guest network on your current router, the next best route is adding another Wi-Fi router to your network. Having a second router means that you can create cleaner points of separation between your home network and the space that you are opening up for neighbors. For example, turning off the guest network temporarily becomes as easy as unplugging it. You can absolutely pull an old router out of a closet for this. But a new one can cost as little as $25–$30. If you are really looking to gear up, you may want to look into outdoor equipment with a longer range, which starts at around $50.
You should then configure the second router to have an open Wi-Fi network and give IP addresses on a different subnet. There are many resources available on networking that explain home subnets in depth, but simply put, a subnet is a set of addresses that a device can communicate with, without any help from a router. So for instance, your laptop might send traffic to your printer without asking the router for directions. By putting guest traffic in a different subnet, guests will not be able to communicate with devices on your network. You will want to connect the port labeled WAN on your newly configured old router to an open Ethernet port on your current router, and you’re on your way to digital mutual aid.
The “how to” is only part of the process here. First, you need to consider the potential harms to your own security and internet connection quality. Sharing your Wi-Fi network can lower your network’s security if you aren’t careful about how you set it up. The potential harm is allowing someone to eavesdrop on what you’re doing by inspecting your internet traffic and/or looking for insecure devices on your network. To be fair, this is similar to the risk of using coffee shop Wi-Fi. That said, if you set up a properly separated network for your neighbors, they will not be able to see your traffic.
Your real problem may not be poor security but the annoyance of a potential slowdown in internet speed once you open up your connection. You only have so much bandwidth coming into your house, which often isn’t much to begin with if you live in the United States. If your entire apartment building tries streaming Netflix off of your Wi-Fi, no one will be happy. There are technical solutions to this problem known as Quality of Service, which you can learn more about here. More simply, you might manage your slower speeds by turning off the open Wi-Fi network when you need more bandwidth for yourself, maybe before settling in for a Golden Girls marathon at night, or a marathon of virtual meetings in the day. You can turn your open network back on when you don’t need to use all the bandwidth yourself. It may take a few days to figure out that balance, but it’ll be worth it. If you have an unlimited broadband plan, which is likely, your bandwidth is like a constantly running stream. Sometimes you need to run your mill, but the rest of the time, that water is just flowing by. So why not let others use it?
If you’re worried about the rules you might be breaking, it’s unlikely that opening up your internet connection to others will get you in trouble. However, you should consult the terms of service for your internet plan. Some internet service providers do specifically forbid it, which might encourage you to reach out and ask if they can update their terms to provide some temporary leniency around this prohibition given just how essential an internet connection is right now and in other public disasters. Other ISPs have instructions on how you might set up an open network using their equipment. As for any risk of liability if someone starts using your Wi-Fi to download copyrighted content, our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have put out some guidance and resources explaining that in general, if you are simply making Wi-Fi available and you act reasonably and responsibly, you should be OK. (But this is not legal advice. Consult a lawyer if you need one. )
If sharing your connection seems too difficult, or you run into trouble during the setup, there are also some larger-scale efforts underway to help people get or remain connected. Some brand-name internet service providers have adapted their usual service policies to improve and expand access. For example, Comcast, Charter, RCN, and Altice have pledged not to disconnect service for customers who cannot pay their bills during this crisis. Comcast, Charter, and Altice have also opened up their Wi-Fi hot spots in businesses and outdoor locations around the country for free, regardless of whether users are subscribed to their service. Mediacom and Cable One have temporarily suspended caps on data usage. Local philanthropic efforts like the DC Education Equity Fund, which looks to purchase tablets, laptops, and Wi-Fi hot spots for students in traditional public and charter schools through private donations, are also popping up to support local communities.
During these times of physical distancing and isolation, it’s more important than ever to get everyone connected. If you do end up sharing your connection with a guest Wi-Fi network, don’t forget the last step: a clever name for your new public network might make your neighbors smile from inside the safety of their own, now-connected homes.
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