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Author Topic: Did you know BT is letting anyone use your broadband via your Wi-Fi ?  (Read 23523 times)

Offline RD

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This post relates to BT, British Telecom (UK).

Did you know that if you are a BT customer anyone can use your broadband via your Wi-Fi ?

As of mid December 2009 BT have permitted anyone to access the internet via customers Wi-Fi links,
i.e. if you are a BT customer anyone within range of your Wi-Fi “hub” can access the internet and use your bandwidth.

If you don’t fancy strangers piggy-backing your Wi-Fi and having your bandwidth made a public convenience
 you have to opt out of this “BT FON” scheme ...



Quote
From the middle of December '09 all new and recontracting BT Total Broadband customers will be automatically opted into BT FON meaning you can use your Wi-Fi minutes as soon as your Broadband is set up. Existing customers who have taken the service since March 2009 will already be members of BT FON unless they have opted out.
www.bt.com/btfon
« Last Edit: 10/01/2010 02:53:38 by RD »


 

Offline Geezer

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What?! I thought "piggybacking" (I think that's what they call it in the UK) was highly illegal, and people had been thrown in jail for doing it. That always struck me as silly, because anyone who leaves their network unprotected is asking for it.

My wireless access points can be protected with passwords that I control. Is this another example of BT overextending it's monopolistic control over UK consumers?

(I once had a BT engineer tell me I could not hide a telephone line behind a panel in my kitchen. "All lines have to be exposed" he said. I told him to bugger off!)
 

Offline RD

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Commercially it is ingenious: BT are selling the same service twice over.
First to the domestic user, then selling access to this network made of domestic Wi-Fi,  in the form of  “FON minutes”, to anyone who wants to use this network.

Having taken all the steps I could to prevent unauthorised access to the net via my Wi-Fi I was shocked to find out that BT customers have to opt out of this FON scheme if they didn’t want any Tom Dick or Pervy using their bandwidth.
« Last Edit: 09/01/2010 23:51:23 by RD »
 

Offline Geezer

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I agree. It's utterly outrageous (but entirely typical of BT's high-handed mentality.)

Let's see if I have this right. BT sells you this service and makes you rent or buy their equipment to use it. Then they tell you, "Oh by the way, unless you tell us not to, we are going to purloin the use of your equipment so we can provide a service to other people." In olden times there was a word for that - theft!

The default should be that it is turned off. If you want to "opt in", BT should be paying you by giving you a discount.

Has there not been a gigantic stink about this in the UK press? There should be. There is plenty wrong with the US, but if any of the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) tried to pull a stunt like that here, their BTs would get a serious kicking.
« Last Edit: 10/01/2010 00:19:11 by Geezer »
 

Offline RD

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As I write one of my neighbours is offering a BT FON connection ...



I doubt they are aware they are making this offer to all and sundry.
« Last Edit: 10/01/2010 03:05:02 by RD »
 

Offline Geezer

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So, what happens if some pedophile uploads a load of porn from that IP address? Do the porn police haul the network owner off to jail in the middle of the night?

"Unsecured Network" is exactly what I see on my WiFi if I turn off security, so it could really be the same IP address as the owner. Surely BT is not that stupid?
 

Offline RD

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So, what happens if some pedophile uploads a load of porn from that IP address? Do the porn police haul the network owner off to jail in the middle of the night?

According to BT ...

Quote
Visitor and home-user Internet traffic pass through separate channels. From a security perspective it's as if you have separate networks connecting you to the Internet. This means visitors cannot use BT FON to connect directly to a home-user's network (or vice versa).

This means that we can tell the difference between home-user Internet activity and visitor Internet activity. So home users cannot be blamed for any illegal visitor Internet activities on their BT FON Home Hub hotspot.

http://btsupport.custhelp.com


The "home user" could log on to their own BT FON connection as a "visitor",
 so I think the old bill would give the "home-users" computer(s) the once over.
 

Offline Geezer

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Good point!

I would not trust it unless BT can prove it uses two IP addresses, and even then, the concern you raise still applies. Sometimes Mr Plodd is not the sharpest knife in the IT drawer. Actually, there was a case here recently where the local constabulary completely f'ed it up, and "caught" one of their own for kiddie-porn. Turns out the idiots thought IP addresses had to be static! The poor guy took a hammering, but the taxpayers will end up having to compensate him.

Furthermore, BT built this capability into everyone's equipment, but they didn't bother to mention it was there when they sold it. So, how many more Trojan horses are already built in? Talk about "big brother".

It's really quite a clever idea to provide universal WiFi with this method. But, IMHO, it's completely unacceptable for BT to go about doing it this way. Is BT actually public, or does the gov. still have a big hand in it?

You should be writing to your MP, or maybe even Andy Neil.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Wow. Only in the UK can companies walk all over us, this is an invasion of privacy and must go to the European courts!

Who the hell do these people think they are?

I have incoming calls only from bt so that I can keep lines open for people to contact me should my voip provider decide to leg it. I don't use bt for any phonecalls whatsoever, yet the latrst bill advises me that I can now make a few calls per quarter bill period up to £4.00 at exhorbitant rates, which they say is to help the poorest of people. Is it heck as like! It is to entice those people into running up a huge bill, because when you exceed the £4.00 worth of calls, you get hammered! By the way, this "gift" was wrapped up as a free service but they increased my bill by £4.00?

This again was an automatic opt in with no way out, so It is good riddence to BT and their stinking services
 

Offline chris

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Good point!
Furthermore, BT built this capability into everyone's equipment, but they didn't bother to mention it was there when they sold it. So, how many more Trojan horses are already built in?

Actually, I think it's more insidious than that; the equipment is programmed to auto-update its own firmware; one day when I logged into the router I noticed that the user interface had completely changed; a check on the firmware date revealed that the router had updated itself and replaced the firmware overnight.

I'm on BT Business (so I don't think I'm involuntarily signed up to FON - although this was the first I'd heard of this, so thanks for warning me) but I'll bet that the domestic appliances do the same.

This means that router providers - like BT - can actually add more "features" like this later, whenever they "update" themselves. That's more akin to parachuting-in the contents of a Trojan Horse, rather than having to hide anything inside it...
 

Offline chris

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Another thought has just occurred to me.

Presumably, if someone uses the free hotspot you are so generously providing outside your house, that compromises your line-speed owing to erosion of your bandwidth? A device can only communicate with one gateway (i.e. router) at a time, so that means the user will latch onto your router like a parasite.

So that means you could end up suffering lower line speed - in other words having your time wasted - because someone you don't know is using your connection for nothing.

Nice.

Chris
 

Offline Don_1

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I think this a damn cheek!

But, oddly, I have just checked my 'Fon Status' and it is showing 'opted out' yet I haven't done so???

 

Offline RD

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Presumably, if someone uses the free hotspot you are so generously providing outside your house, that compromises your line-speed owing to erosion of your bandwidth?

According to BT, "visitors" can only get 512Kbps of your bandwidth ... 

Quote
We prioritise bandwidth in favour of the Home Hub owner.
This means that you'll always get enough bandwidth to use services such as BT Vision and Internet phone calls.

When you log on to BT FON while out and about you'll get up to 512kbps.
http://btsupport.custhelp.com

There are times when BT don't give me (hub owner) 512 Kbps.


But, oddly, I have just checked my 'Fon Status' and it is showing 'opted out' yet I haven't done so???

The automatic opt in policy came in mid December ‘09, so new and renewed contracts since then will be automatically opt in,
Your BT contract probably started pre December ‘09 so is still automatically opt out, until the contract is renewed. 
« Last Edit: 13/01/2010 15:19:43 by RD »
 

Offline Bengaman

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There are times when BT don't give me (hub owner) 512 Kbps.

Haha was going to mention this myself
 

Offline yor_on

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Yeah, there isn't really any way to hinder your modem to automatically update is there? If it doesn't exist as an option in the modems bios. You can close it in 'services' on your Windows f.ex. but I don't think that will matter as your modem is the first 'link' in. But probably there exist rogue bios for the most popular bios on the market without 'automatic update'. As for a router, as long as it lies after your computer there should be some way to disallow it from updating? Through your Firewall Ipsec or 'services'. At least I think so?

==
Or use a 'software' routing in your computer?
« Last Edit: 16/01/2010 23:31:22 by yor_on »
 

Offline RD

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2 million haven't worked out how to opt out of "BT FON" ... 




I suspect most BT broadband customers are unaware they are hosting this public network via their Wi-Fi "hub" ... http://www.bt.com/static/wa/wifi/pages/findhotspots.html


Always read the small print ...



« Last Edit: 16/12/2010 11:07:26 by RD »
 

Offline RD

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No I didn't make up this "BT Fon" promotional logo ...



http://www.btfon.com/community/goodies#stickers


Do you want "weirdos" using your Wi-Fi ?
« Last Edit: 20/11/2011 02:13:40 by RD »
 

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