Comcast customer Ronaldo Boschulte didn't know exactly what he was getting when the company swapped his malfunctioning modem for a new one. The cable modem doubles as a Wi-Fi router—that much he was expecting. But he didn't realize the router would, by default, broadcast a public Wi-Fi network that anyone with a Comcast account could connect to.
During the pre-game coverage for NFL Super Bowl XLVIII, television news inadvertently broadcast the stadium's internal Wi-Fi login credentials, which were in plain sight on an enormous, unmissable, wall-mounted monitor inside a command center.
The Wi-Fi credentials, which have likely been changed as news of the security gaffe has spread like wildfire on Twitter and community blogs, had "marko" as the login, and a pseudo-leet speak variation of 'welcome here' as the password.
A top secret document retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and obtained by CBC News shows that Canada's electronic spy agency used information from the free internet service at a major Canadian airport to track the wireless devices of thousands of ordinary airline passengers for days after they left the terminal.
After reviewing the document, one of Canada's foremost authorities on cyber-security says the clandestine operation by the Communications Security Establishment Canada ( CSEC) was almost certainly illegal.
The early Wi-Fi standards that opened the world's eyes to wire-free networking are now holding back the newer, faster protocols that followed in their wake, Cisco Systems said.
The IEEE 802.11 standard, now available in numerous versions with speeds up to 6.9Gbps (bits per second) and growing, still requires devices and access points to be compatible with technologies that date to the late 1990s. But those older standards -- the once-popular 802.11b and an even slower spec from 1997 -- aren't nearly as efficient as most Wi-Fi being sold today.
What if, when you were up at a ridiculous hour Skyping your relatives in Australia, you could borrow unused bandwidth from your sleeping neighbors to make your own broadband connection faster and stronger?
High up in a glass tower in Barcelona, Telefonica's research and development team has been attempting to tackle exactly this question. The solution they have come up with, BeWifi, is a technology that gathers bandwidth from local Wi-Fi routers in order to enhance the connection of the users that happen to be on the Internet at exactly that moment in time.