OK...so I have to go to Gainesville, FL this past Sunday on business. I have great internet access in my room (more on that as I had taken my new Netgear WG511 and WGR101 with me). After a meeting I had scheduled on Monday, I hit the bar at the Hilton I was staying at to have a few adult beverages and hit my favorite online poker site...a little entertainment prior to dinner.
So...I find the SSID of the in-house free wireless...hiltonfu (the fu is for Flordia University). I get associated to the AP and the connection status is "GOOD". However, I cannot get out to the internet. No HTTP, no ping, nada. I verify that I have an IP address assigned to me and a gateway as well as DNS. A reboot and the same issue. After playing with it for a while with no love from it, I go to the front desk and try to get some assistance and tell them their wireless network is not working. Boy, was that a mistake. Round and round we go. They know nothing. They end up getting 3 different "facilities engineers" (i.e. maintenance men) down there and they are all trying to tell me I am doing the configuration wrong...but can't tell me how I am doing it wrong or what should be changed to correct it and allow me to get out.
So, now I am getting a little angry and frustrated. I figure that for $130 a night, they should have a working network or have someone that can actually troubleshoot it...or be able to call the provider to work on it. None of this is true. So, just before deciding to leave and return to my room....I grab the MAC of the AP and SMAC it with my wireless NIC. I turn the radio off and then back on. New IP and subnet and BANG! I am on the net and surfing big time.
Long story to set up the question...is this illegal? The wireless service was free. No charge, so it is not like I was stealing the service. But, I am just curious to know if this is some sort of technical violation of the law.
Here is a link that pertains to your question.
Interesting article...and thanks for providing a reference to it. However, the situation is a bit different. In my case, this is a free network provided to guests of the hotel and was widely advertised for use. My question deals more with the legality of spoofing the address of the AP in order to be able to use the system correctly (i.e. get out to the internet).
See what I mean or am I being as clear as mud?
Illegal, no. Wrong technical use of the network, yep. Policy violation of your hotel's "acceptable use", definitely. If the services were provided at no charge, and you used them as a customer of their facility, then you haven't stolen services. Stealing services is illegal. Misuse may be a policy violation, which could get your use privileges revoked, but nothing further. ;-)
That was a good troubleshooting step. SMACing the MAC of the AP, I wouldn't have thought of that. You must be reading the CWSP book for sure. I'm SMAC dab in the middle of it trying to associate too. SID is seventy_percent_or_better!