File Under: Mobile

Hacking Free Wifi With URL Tricks

FreewifiPsst. Want in on a secret? You can leech free wifi from some paid hotspots by monkeying around with the URLs.

Most paid wifi hotspots accept your browser’s request and then redirect you to a login page where you need to pay to access the network. But some systems of this nature are set up in such a way that images and other direct file requests seem to slip through without the redirect to the login page. It’s essentially an oversight on the network administrator’s part, so it may not work with every hotspot.

But here’s the hack: just append ?.jpg to the end of your queries to trick the network into loading the full web page for free. The browser passes this info along as an extra parameter and the site in question will likely just ignore it, loading the page as normal.

Of course this tip comes from a blog post that’s nearly two years old, so there’s no guarantees. But here’s the basic code, which I pulled from a commenter on Lifehacker’s write up:


if (window.location.toString().match(".jpg") == null) {

  window.location.replace(window.location + '?.jpg');

}

Save that as JavaScript file and add it to Firefox via Greasemonkey and give it a shot.

Of course since there are plenty of free networks in most places, there isn’t much point to hacking paid networks. But for situations like airports, hotels and other isolated, expensive networks, it could come in handy.

Is it legal? No idea. I’m not a lawyer, so use this info at your own risk. If you try it, be sure to let us know how it works.

[Photo by Jem, Flickr.com]