3G OrangeUK Uncategorized WiFi

Unlocking a 3 E585 MiFi

Some time ago I got one of these units ( on a locked monthly contract. Being an Orange customer I really should use my contacted SIM in it, but time and signal coverage was of the essence so…

Finally having been pointed to by my Twitter chum @timbo_baggins I bought the software for a few quid,

Installing and running were more interesting. I run 64bit Windows 7 by default, and additionally do not give myself Admin rights on my machine. Lastly I run my network behind a Microsoft Forefront TMG firewall.

Firstly, if you run local user only you have to elevate the install. It then installs under the users profile settings – i.e. c:\\users\\administrator so was inaccessible to me (even the shortcut is on the admins desktop). There\’s no sign of the app under my user id.

So I log on as Admin and running the software works. Owner it cannot see the dongle, upon further investigation (but not in the emailed instructions) I discovered it\’d be good to remove the SIM before trying. Now the dongle could be seen, but… …it cannot contact the home server for unlocked-dongle\’s authorisation process. Mucking about with other options got me nowhere. So, given the sub-optimal setup I decided to decamp to a 32bit machine.

That (under admin login) worked fine, until I tried to contact the server again. At this point TMG came under suspicion. Investigations were inclusive, even with a full \”everything in and out for that IP\” allowed rule – no dice. At which point the help page on the web indicated that firewalls etc were not a good idea.

So finally to Mrs B\’s laptop, albeit 64bit, but I can use the WiFi to the domestic ADSL connection. That worked. Phew. But I still had to load the Orange APN details for the connection.

I now have an unlocked MiFi and (currently) a choice of 2 SIM\’s to use. However it is remarkable how 3 can deliver a 4bar 3G signal here, yet Orange can only deliver a 2bar 2G signal.

Other tips – do change the WiFi password – the default is on the inside of the case, so if you lose the unit someone could switch it on and consume your data very quickly.
You may want to change the unit to 3G preferred from 3G only. Better a 2G signal than nowt.
Lastly, the admin password default is pretty weak, change that too.

There\’s a decent set of options in the setup – worth a good look around just in case, the unit is quite capable really.

Google privacy security Uncategorized WiFi

Dear @Google, just how much Wi-Fi data did you take; and did you decrypt?

Firstly – please note I am happy to be educated about Wi-Fi in the comments!
We recently visited my sister in law and family (see previous article for why); and as I wanted to do a bit of data work on my phone, I asked if I could hook myself up to their Wi-Fi (that I setup a few years ago when they first got it).
We were planning a couple of journeys so I fired up Google Maps and was then surprised to find that my location was showing as accurate within 40m, but in totally the wrong part of town.  Then a penny dropped.
My sister in law and husband moved this year.
So Google had recognised the Wi-Fi data that they had taken on the street view crawl.  Now I don’t profess to be a Wi-Fi cryptography and protocol expert; but:
  • my in-laws\’ network does not broadcast SSID
  • and is encrypted with WPA2-PSK
  • the data take by Google was allegedly very small (just how long was the Street View car in range anyway?).
So how on earth did they get enough useable information in such a short space of time to be able to get a big enough fingerprint to geo-locate me?