WiFi Master Key Is a New App That Can Expose Your WiFi Network
What did the relatively simple task of checking your email entail in the past? Well, you'd need to turn on your computer, wait for it to boot up, open a browser, navigate to the email service provider, and enter your login credentials. All this just to see the email from the Prince of Nigeria.
Nowadays, of course, with the smartphones in our pockets, the process is quite different. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the fact that checking an email still requires an internet connection. And when we're on the move, this is a bit of a problem sometimes.
Mobile broadband is still far too expensive for some people, especially the ones that frequently travel abroad. Often, they have no other choice but to rely on a working WiFi network near them, and a mobile application called WiFi Master Key promises that it will help them find one just about anywhere in the world.
What is WiFi Master Key?
It's a mobile application available for both iOS and Android, and it seems to be quite popular. In fact, according to App Annie, it's one of the ten most popular applications in the world. In China, its country of origin, it has reached fifth place, and it has stood its ground for more than twelve months now.
The idea is that it can not only display WiFi networks near you, it can also connect you to them, even if you don't know the password.
How does it work?
Having read the description above, security-conscious users might be a bit apprehensive about putting an application like this on their device. LinkSure, the company that owns WiFi Master Key, is keen to alleviate all doubts.
It insists that WiFi Master Key doesn't "hack" any passwords. Instead, users share them willingly. For example, you go to a café, and you want to connect to the WiFi network. There is a password, and you do what any normal person would do – you ask the bartender who is only too happy to give it to you.
Then, with the help of WiFi Master Key, you upload the password to the cloud so that other users can use it. From now on, people who don't want to pay for coffee or are too anxious to speak to the bartender can open WiFi Master Key and connect to the wireless network completely free of charge. Users do need to put up with some ads, but in exchange, they have access to "over 400 million" wireless networks spread all around the globe.
What about the legal aspect?
When you are connecting to a previously shared WiFi network, you don't actually see the password. WiFi Master Key enters it without showing it to you. The app also says that passwords are "protected by 128-bit encryption for security" which, we can only assume, means that hackers shouldn't be able to see them, either.
In addition to this, before you can share a WiFi password with hundreds of millions of users, you have to select a checkbox saying "I confirm that I have all legal rights to share this hotspot and I understand that my sharing will be terminated if I have no right to share". Below this, you have another warning telling you that if you are not the owner of the network, you should seek their approval before sharing.
Lawyers probably don't see anything wrong with this. What users are confronted with, however, is a dialog that looks similar to the one with which they confirm that they've read the terms and conditions. And we all know that very few people so much as glance at the legalese.
So, can WiFi Master Key be useful in certain situations? Yes. Can it help your neighbors piggyback your wireless network because a friend of yours has shared it with the whole world? Also yes.