Wi-Fi accounts shared without consent

Ngoc Huynh

VietNamNet Bridge – Thousands of Wi-Fi accounts in Hanoi and HCM City have been shared without the owners’ consent, but management agencies were unable to stop the activity.

Vietnam does not have a strong internet transmission, but the internet can be accessed in a simple and cheap way.

A sim card costs VND60,000 and 3G services for a VND70,000 service package. Wi-Fi is free through apps downloaded from App Store and Google Play.

In some ‘hotspots’ in Hanoi, it takes only one or two seconds to catch 2-3 Wi-Fi signals with passwords. If a user knows Wi-Fi password at a Wi-Fi transceiver spot, he can click “share” on the app.

The app will save the password and position through GPS and internet. When the user is in Wi-Fi shared areas, he can use his device to scan network signals to find shared Wi-Fi, then retrieve passwords for use.

The app even allows operation in offline status based on data storage on used devices.

An analyst commented that the app improves security and helps in case owners type passwords incorrectly. Account users will not have to inform their friends about new passwords after changes, while friends still can obtain information about passwords provided they are within coverage areas.

However, Hoang Duong, the owner of The Coffee Inn in Hanoi, said she does not feel comfortable if her Wi-Fi network is shared by many users.

“The network will lag if too many access internet at the same time,” she said.

“The only solution you can do is change your passwords. But you cannot always change passwords to prevent those who try to share your Wi-Fi for free,” she said.

A security expert said there was a good technological solution to the problem which is being applied at Starbucks’ shops. Every bill issued to clients will include a code for them to access Wi-Fi.

However, the expert warned that the solution will be costly, and therefore, it may not be suitable to the majority of cafes, especially small ones.

Nguyen Luong Bang, the developer of the app who allowed sharing of Wi-Fi passwords, said this was a community sharing app.

The information to be shared across the app is submitted by users, like the model of Facebook and YouTube. The application itself does not collect users’ information.

However, the app does not show any warning to users about security risks they may face when using Wi-Fi through uncontrolled accounts.

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Source : http://english.vietnamnet.vn/