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WiFoxy: The Magical Key to Airport Wi-Fi

How many times have you found yourself at an airport needing to get online with your laptop? You might click open the “available networks” tab and see something potentially wonderful: An SSID with a magical name, like, say, FREE AIRPORT WI-FI.

Then the inevitable happens—at least, it does whenever I try: the connection is slow. As in snail slow. As in, how-long-it-takes-to-mail-a-package-to-rural-Nepal slow.

As in, annoyed “@#$%^^%&&^!!! email won’t even load!!” vent-text to your buddy slow.

Most of us, when faced with such adversity, will try to tether with our phones—but have you ever noticed how dismal LTE reception is at airports? Sometimes we’ll break down and pay for the premium tier, which, I suspect, is what the Wi-Fi muckety mucks wanted all along.

Others of us, certain in-the-know persons of the traveling class, get foxy. WiFoxy, that is.

Travel blogger and computer security engineer Anil Polat has put together a regularly updated Google map that shows Wi-Fi passwords and locations of dozens of airports and lounges around the world. The interactive “WiFox” map offers up the the name of the airport, a description of the location, any Wi-Fi restrictions, a network name, and most importantly, the password. It also helpfully provides other details that might help you get online (e.g. “sit next to gate 47 for the strongest signal”).

Sure, it shows the lame free stuff, but it also, marvelously, reveals the credentials for Admiral’s Clubs and other private networks where available. So you can just grab a seat outside the gleaming glass door of the premium lounge and surf away.

How great is that? I’m going to say that it’s so great that I wouldn’t be surprised if WiFoxy’s awesomeness goes beyond connectivity. It could turn out to be better than chicken soup for a cold. Or better at charming the ladies than this guy. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Polat is a unicorn. Like an actual unicorn.  

So yeah, you’re welcome.

The best part about this (well maybe not the best part) is that it helps the security-conscious among us avoid open public airport Wi-Fi when we want to, which should be all the time, because open public airport Wi-Fi is a potential cesspool of security hazards.

Kaspersky Lab found in a recent survey that 70% of tablet owners and 53% of smartphone owners have used public Wi-Fi hotspots. However, because data sent through public Wi-Fi can easily be intercepted, many mobile device and laptop users are risking the security of their personal information, digital identity and money.

Also let’s not forget that most users willingly toss over privacy for connectivity. Another recent survey indicates that Americans as a whole disclose, willy-nilly, personally identifiable information (PII) to use public hotspots. This includes their addresses (44%), credit-card numbers (32%), account passwords (29%), Social Security number (16%) or driver’s license numbers (15%)—all of which can be easily lifted in a man-in-the-middle attack.

So get WiFoxy, people! It’ll make you happier and safer, and besides, it might be run by a unicorn.

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