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I ain't payin' for this wifi June 17, 2012 8:24 PM   Subscribe

"Hotel internet down. I scanned the network, found wifi router running port 80, logged in as admin/admin, rebooted, fixed. All on my iPhone." Tweet by @mathowie earlier tonight. Does nothing stop the super hero staff of MetaFilter? Are there other stories of MetaStaff extraordinary efforts to stay online?
posted by lee to MetaFilter-Related at 8:24 PM (51 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

I hope he flashed it with the latest dd-wrt while he was in there, as a courtesy...
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:33 PM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Did EVERY MeFite on Twitter but me retweet that?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:34 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had this one. Unfortunately it didn't work.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:36 PM on June 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm on your LAN, installing my hacks.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 8:38 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Saw it, didn't retweet as I as watching a guy doing bird impressions in the US Open.
posted by arcticseal at 8:43 PM on June 17, 2012


I retweeted it HARD.
posted by deezil at 8:45 PM on June 17, 2012


login:admin
psswd: [space_bar][space_bar]admin

-locks out 99% of admins being locked out or not. The way to which way out is where I'll be being seeing myself in. One spacebar is probably too many.
posted by vozworth at 9:16 PM on June 17, 2012


Wow, as much as I'd want to be helpful and/or get on the Internet, I'd be unwilling to login to a machine I had no right to be on, belonging to a private business, especially in a foreign country. (Even if it's just a consumer wifi router.) I'm not being critical, I'm just a bit surprised.

I actually was recalling, just sometime in the last few days, that when I got cable broadband Internet in Austin in 1998 via the cable company's (TW) beta rollout, I noticed that everyone in town was on the same subnet and they were passing netbios traffic through. That is to say, everyone in Austin with TW's broadband Internet in 1998 were in the same Windows "network neighborhood". And, this being 1998, these were Win98 machines or prior, mostly, and access was usually unrestricted. This continued into 1999.

Only on my first notice of this did I bother browsing around other people's drives. On a couple of occasions, though, I noticed some shared printers and printed out something humorous and possibly alarming. Probably wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done, really, but in those particular circumstances, at that particular time, the situation and legality was probably ambiguous. But, really, this is a true story. When the cable companies began broadband Internet, they really were so naive (ignorant?) that they configured their routers this way.

They're not actually that much smarter now, come to think of it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:21 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I found the ethernet switch in my college dorm was sending all traffic to all ports (basically acting like a hub). I reported the problem to the admins, but they did nothing. So then I wrote a program that streamed the URLs of all HTTP GET requests sent on the network. I gave that to the admins and they fixed the problem.
posted by ryanrs at 10:40 PM on June 17, 2012


I once reset my VCR by unplugging it, banging it on the side and then plugging it into the other receptacle on the same outlet. This was all pre-internet so no one knew.
posted by AugustWest at 10:41 PM on June 17, 2012 [23 favorites]




When I was a hotel manager, I had a soft drink machine that was malfunctioning for a week, taking peoples' money. They would not make the time to fix it. So at the end of the week, I called Coca Cola and told them not to worry about coming out. I told them that the machine was now dispensing soft drinks AND a 75 cent refund on every transaction. They were there within the hour.
posted by ColdChef at 10:51 PM on June 17, 2012 [59 favorites]


[off to logon to Metafilter as admin/admin]
posted by mazola at 11:03 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Welp, that didn't work.
posted by mazola at 11:04 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


You do understand that these are secret identities, don't you? If we told you the truth, we'd have to kill you!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:12 PM on June 17, 2012


Try mathowie/password.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 11:48 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


That didn't work either. When's Matt's birthday?
posted by Decani at 12:19 AM on June 18, 2012


His password is CatSc@n.
posted by vidur at 12:29 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, I was up for about four hours with some jet lag, enjoying the USA midday emails/tweets when the outside connection seemed to die (but I still had 5 bars of wifi). I was curious what was wrong and remembered I had a network/port scanner (iNet) on my phone so I ran it for the hell of it, found the wifi router on a weird IP and saw the port 80 open.

I loaded up the IP in mobile safari thinking it might show the status of the outside connection and it threw up the server level authentication login prompt immediately and I thought before I gave up, I might as well try the admin/admin defaults, but lo and behold it worked (and this was a slight commercial grade router).

I looked at the main status page, saw that it was last rebooted 16hrs before (early yesterday morning) so I figured this is probably something that happens in the night so I might as well try that big reboot button to see what it did. I agree this is all super dodgy, and if they had logs they could easily see I was the only client on the network at 4:30am and probably find me out.

There was a tense 5-10 min where I couldn't get wifi as it rebooted and I was certain I totally messed things up and I would be found out and I was playing a game on my phone when suddenly I could submit my scores to the internet again and I saw everything was fine. Then I tweeted it because I was kind of amazed at the port scanning app and the default password. Strangely it might prove to be my most popular tweet of all time if the numbers keep up like they have.

(my favorite reply on twitter called me the Robin Hood of Port 80)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:34 AM on June 18, 2012 [23 favorites]


My only wifi coup came in a feat of social engineering: The Paris Arc de Triomphe Hilton wanted basically $30 a day for internet and while I had already been desensitized to most of the tourist-Paris-plus-euro-conversion eye-watering cost of vacationing there, this was one I was not willing to take on the chin.

Fortunately, a large US pharmaceutical company's corporate function was there all weekend. Trying to log in to the corporate wifi code didn't work without their passcode, so I called down to the front desk and explained that I was there with company and told there would be complimentary wifi with my stay. They put me on hold for about two minutes and provided me with the code. And it worked all weekend.

How is it that hotels follow the law of inverse amenities? The higher the star rating, the fewer the included amenities. Drives me nuts.
posted by disillusioned at 1:16 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I agree this is all super dodgy, and if they had logs they could easily see I was the only client on the network at 4:30am and probably find me out.

You know mathowie, IANAL, but for a guy like you who is famous on the internet and who is responsible for running a business that generates revenue I think you might ought to be a bit more restrained in "tweeting" about doing things which could be borderline illegal. Just saying.

Don't stop doing it, just don't leave fingerprints.
posted by three blind mice at 2:06 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would bet good money that the hotel staff this morning was all "Hey the magical Internet fairies successfully fought off the gremlins last night" if they even noticed, Or maybe rebooting the router is one of the day shift's normal to-do tasks.

In Italy all hotel guests have to be registered with the local police station upon check in; this is a hold over from the Years of Lead. After one of the London bombers was found in an Internet Cafe near the Termini central train station, we got the Pisanu anti-terrorism law, which I've bitched about here on Metafilter many a time. :P

One of the provisions of the law stated that businesses offering Internet access whether as a primary or secondary service (Internet cafes & hotels/bars/cafes/etc respectively) had to record acceptable ID information as well as time, device, and duration of the user's session. This was also applicable to private persons having a Wi-Fi connection open to the public. Penalties for failure to adhere were not just the usual fines, but also potentially criminal charges.

One cause, two effects. Wi-Fi networks, just starting to take off here, were locked down and the concept of "open Wi-Fi" relegated to the realm of unicorns and yetis. The second was that hotels had to scramble to get the paperwork in order and find systems that would track the required information. And overnight you got a bunch of shitty overpriced IT services offering a couple of cat5 cables and a badly configured router that would keep track of the anti-terrorism information and also let the owner charge for use if so desired.

As of this January, the Wi-Fi restrictions for private owners as well as the businesses providing Internet as a secondary service are finally off the books, but the repercussions will be hanging around for a very long time. When the earthquakes first hit in Emilia-Romagna a month ago, they were begging people to open up their Wi-Fi connections so that there was an alternative to the over saturated cellular networks.

So there you have my virtual tour guide explanation of "Why Wi-Fi & your hotel Internet connection in Italy sucks" :) I see that you've already gotten some pointers on places to eat, so my general rules of thumb are
  • if there's more locals than tourists, you're good to go
  • doubly so if you see any cops in uniform eating there
  • fish on Tuesdays & Fridays, gnocchi on Thursdays and never order the lasagna since it's usually touristic pablum.
Benvenuto famiglia Haughey & buon divertimento!.
posted by romakimmy at 2:22 AM on June 18, 2012 [13 favorites]


If someone were perhaps interested in a port scanning app, which one would be theoretically recommended?
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:11 AM on June 18, 2012


I don't know about Matt, but I like Scanny
posted by Lame_username at 4:20 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tweets? tl;dr
posted by terrapin at 5:45 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was in awe, myself. If you're going to leave your router set to admin/admin, that pretty much means open access, these days. If they're running default settings, you can usually log in just by typing 192.168.1.1 in a browser window.

A couple months back, I was surfing the web on my iPhone at 3 am during a bout of insomnia, when I noticed I had forgotten to upload a file to one of my sites, and the link was returning a 404. I didn't want to get out of bed & wake up the Ms. Rancher, so I thought hell, the file's in the other room on the tower, how hard could this be? I somehow successfully logged into my G5 via VNC, launched Transmit, logged into my website, found the file & uploaded it, all though the GUI -- it took a freaking HOUR. Never again.

I've really got to brush back up on my UNIX.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:51 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kickass, I'm in mathowie's bank account. Anyone need anything? Some rope? A escutcheon? A new oven mitt? The world is open before us!

I ordered the entire L. Ron Hubbard catalog. (I panicked!)
posted by cjorgensen at 6:53 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Saw it, didn't retweet as I as watching a guy doing bird impressions in the US Open.
posted by arcticseal


A guy re-tweeting, as it were?
posted by spitbull at 6:54 AM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hotel internet is going to be the airline food of the current generation.
posted by mullacc at 6:57 AM on June 18, 2012


I don't know about Matt, but I like Scanny

Matt was using iNet.
posted by zamboni at 7:02 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


So...Jessamyn, you couldn't get internet so you used your other internet to access the internet and visit facebook, took the trouble to leave a message on their wall, and waited for them to call the driver? Call the bus driver, while he was...driving a bus? About wifi? When you had internet? Sure seems that strolling up and mentioning it to him would have been....well, way way way easier?

That said, I don't live in a big town and our buses certainly don't have wifi, and I understand there's some sort of "don't talk to people on public transportation" rule in bigger cities. Sure seems complicated.
posted by TomMelee at 7:14 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


waited for them to call the driver? ... Sure seems that strolling up and mentioning it to him would have been....well, way way way easier?

I didn't expect them to call the driver. I figured maybe there was some VPN thing that they could do from the central office. Actually I was just posting on the facebook wall to let them know that the wifi was down ... again. I'm a frequent bus traveler and this was a problem that they'd been having for a while. I didn't expect them to really fix it at the time.

I don't live in a big town and our buses certainly don't have wifi, and I understand there's some sort of "don't talk to people on public transportation" rule in bigger cities.

I live in a town of 4500 people in northern New England and had driven 40 minutes to take the bus down to Boston so I could see my family without having to drive into the city and so I could work while I traveled. I sit in the back of the bus and the bus is full of college kids many of whom sleep on the ride down with their legs across the aisles. I'm not sure what sort of life you think I lead but your assumptions about me are way off.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:21 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


UHGGGGGHHH You and your fancy new england internet bus pshaw quit braggin. Here in new york city the roaches who drive the buses dont speak english and going 'on-line' means waiting to get punched in the the face by a giant rat.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:45 AM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Has anyone ever had the Megabus wifi actually work? It really irritates me that they get away with advertising a service they don't actually provide, at least on the various Midwestern routes I've taken.
posted by enn at 8:07 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


allkindsoftime: "If someone were perhaps interested in a port scanning app, which one would be theoretically recommended?"

The tools I have on my iPhone are Scany, IP Scanner, SeeMyIP, Deep Whois, Nice Trace and iPortScan. This pretty much covers anything I'd need for work.
posted by Splunge at 8:15 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


And now iNet. Why not?
posted by Splunge at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2012


If someone were perhaps interested in a port scanning app, which one would be theoretically recommended?

Port-Scan.com is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their ports wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:22 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, as much as I'd want to be helpful and/or get on the Internet, I'd be unwilling to login to a machine I had no right to be on, belonging to a private business, especially in a foreign country. (Even if it's just a consumer wifi router.) I'm not being critical, I'm just a bit surprised.

I wouldn't hesitate to do it I just wouldn't tweet about it. Even a crappy default password is still "securing" the resource in the eyes of unauthorized access to computer system laws pretty well every where that has such laws.
posted by Mitheral at 8:52 AM on June 18, 2012


Try mathowie/password.

I suspect it's mathowie/RobinHoodofPort80.
posted by mazola at 8:57 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has anyone ever had the Megabus wifi actually work?

I'm 1.5-for-6 on Megabus wifi. The outlets have always worked, though, which makes for a much easier ride than in the old days, so eh.
posted by longtime_lurker at 10:17 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has anyone ever had the Megabus wifi actually work? It really irritates me that they get away with advertising a service they don't actually provide, at least on the various Midwestern routes I've taken.

In my experience, Megabus's wifi works a little over half the time, and Boltbus's about 2/3rds of the time; both services tend to have working outlets like 80 percent of the time.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:48 AM on June 18, 2012


You can do email on the Megabus, but emails is usually asking too much.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:23 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The state of flakiness in transit wifi is somehow worse to me than the bad old days when it wasn't even an option. No hopes gotten up means no hopes dashed.

Of course, I live in a biggish city and our buses and lightrail don't have wifi at all; my only opportunities for heartbreak here are the occasional plane flight or Amtrak ride.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:39 AM on June 18, 2012


I had no idea there was such a thing as bus/transit WiFi. /lives in the Dark Ages
posted by deborah at 2:48 PM on June 18, 2012


NYC has been talking about wireless access in the subway for years now. But considering that the MTA is one of the worst bureaucracies in the world, it isn't likely to happen in my lifetime.
posted by Splunge at 5:02 PM on June 18, 2012


A few years ago I was in California for a wedding. I was staying for a bit in San Francisco, and then going up to Sacramento via Amtrak.

They had wi-fi in some of the cars of the Capitol Limited, which was cool.

I also would go from New York City to Boston via LimoLiner, which had wi-fi, outlets, really decent food, and a very nice bathroom. Never took BoltBus or Megabus, but if you have to go NYC to Boston (or vice versa), and don't want to go el-cheapo, I highly recommend LimoLiner.
posted by mephron at 7:12 PM on June 18, 2012


Good for Matt. It's pathetic that this is considered "bordeline illegal" although I know all too well that it most definitely is.
posted by odinsdream at 7:44 PM on June 18, 2012


The articulated busses here in Spokane nearly all have wifi, while the shorter non-bendy busses do not. Since I live 20 miles outside of town, and since they use the articulated busses for the express routes that run to places like where I live, it's nice to be able to do email and irc on my way to and from work, should I so desire.

It's nearly like living in the 21st century!
posted by hippybear at 5:20 AM on June 19, 2012


IRC? Surely you mean the 20th century.
posted by Night_owl at 5:57 AM on June 19, 2012


allkindsoftime: "If someone were perhaps interested in a port scanning app, which one would be theoretically recommended?"

Fing for android.
posted by asok at 7:15 AM on June 19, 2012


IRC? Surely you mean the 20th century.

Yeah, I know. In internet terms it's sometime around the time Beowulf was written.

But being able to do it from a wi-fi only iPad while riding on a bus driving 70mph? That's pure 21st Century, right there.
posted by hippybear at 6:17 PM on June 20, 2012


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