Free (unsecured) WiFi providers in Colombo: are you one of them?

A while back I came across this blog post about open unsecured WiFi access points in Colombo. According to that post, the area around the Word Trade Center in Colombo has some blazing fast (unsecured) WiFi. As of December 2006 that is πŸ˜‰

With the advent of broadband and plug and play wireless modem/routers it not just the city centre (yes I’m not using the American spelling) that’s broadcasting away. When Cerno and the Mrs moved to their marital nest, I discovered a generous neighbour sharing some signal near by. Weak signal but totally unsecured. Since my nosy side is crippled by ethics I didn’t try to hack around. Anyway the speed is at a crawl, and it tended to drop the connection.

The access point I use is overly secured to compensate (only the paranoid survive – but as mental wrecks). The slightly annoying thing is that my machine tended to latch on to the unsecured signal first without starting the authentication ritual. Thankfully I got around this. Since then I haven’t checked on my neighbour. Its not on right now but then its late.

I’m not into this war driving thing. Even if I was comfortable with it ethically, I doubt I could afford the time and the gas to wardrive around. I have nothing against those who voluntarily share their WiFi with the local area. If you are one of them good karma to you. If you are not stop reading this and go secure your router. Seriously.


Came across this post on wifi hotspots in Colombo on indi’s site. A 2006 post but still might be relevant. Barefoot might still be having the most unbeatable Wifi deal in Colombo.


15 thoughts on “Free (unsecured) WiFi providers in Colombo: are you one of them?

  1. Unsecured routers can become a serious problem if you’re not careful. Last year I got my self a spanking new router to replace my old one and in trying to secure it I accidentally hijacked my neighbors wireless router (unfortunately for her we had the same make and model). It was only when she mentioned in passing that her internet down did I manage to figure out what I had done. In the hands of a devious mind such a situation could potentially put you in a lot of hot water.


  2. well most of the home users are not technical enough to secure their accesspoints.. Its a sad story.. Also most of them are too lazy to read the manuals.. There’s nothing much you can do about except feeling sorry for them. I guess they may not have very sensitive information except free bandwidth…


  3. islander: Very true. it did take a bit of brow furrowing to get the router I use at home locked down though. So much for “user friendly” πŸ˜‰

    EnTRpy: That is insane! What kind of router was it? Though most routers tend to have blank password for the “admin” account.


  4. Mine is unsecured.

    I have a US Robotics wireless modem at home. When I was performing the intial setup I found that any attempt to enable WEP made it impossible for my own laptop to get access. I was told that this was a common problem with the particular modem. I’ve since turned WEP off. I doubt people living next door – a bakery – are a bunch of elite hackers in disguise looking to exploit the security lapse πŸ™‚

    Regardless, I wouldn’t mind someone telling me how I can overcome this though.


  5. TheenaThe irony is that ideally you need a wired connection to the modem to secure the wireless 😦 I know its insane. Had the same problem over here. Luckily my netgear has ports for network cables as well – did all the securing that way.

    Bakeries are a well known covers for elite hacker gangs. Their vans provide excellent cover for war driving. The ovens are actually powered by over heating processors of their super computers. At this point my imagination feels tired and decides to call it a day… ;D


  6. Mine has ports for network cables as well. Perhaps I should it give it a try over the weekend.

    I’ll report back.

    And, yes, your imagination was working overtime there.



  7. It’s a LinkSys wireless router and my neighbor hadn’t changed the default password.

    You’re comment on processor powered ovens is hilarious. Actually my AMD keeps my room kind or snug during cold nights… hee hee.


  8. So my dad was giving me a lift today and while passing Hultsdrof, I turned on my laptop to edit my article. The next thing I know, my laptop connected (albeit briefly) to a unsecured wireless network.

    Moral of the story: if you are war driving, Hultsdrof is a nice place to start.


  9. I guess the area around the WTC is not residential and it is the commercial/business customer’s unsecured Wi-Fi connections which is listed in my scans.

    Theena, WEP does create problems. Depending on the model of your router, you may have to enter the WEP key in ASCII or HEX. Your laptop also might have the same options. Then why can’t you connect? Sometimes the laptop sends the WEP key in ASCII when a router expects the WEP key in HEX. This could be vice versa as well.

    If your router has WPA Preshared Key aka WPA-PSK then I suggest using that instead of WEP which is less secure than WPA-PSK


  10. well… reading all of the above, I was working at WTC for more than 4 years, spent more than 18 hours a day, and do know about the unsecured networks well enough to know to leave them alone. it’s like the moth to the flame and by letting you log-in you may leave your self open to move then an free internet experience.
    remember nothing in life if free except smiles of course!


  11. Romesh Too true – about the smiles and trespassing other people’s networks πŸ™‚ Of-course I’m not anywhere near the WTC. And I doubt if nosy characters are deterred by thoughts of “honeypot” systems. Anwya I prefer to keep my router secured. Otherwise I’d rather not use it.


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