Author Topic: Stuck in a hotel with public wifi  (Read 374 times)

The Gorn

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Re: Stuck in a hotel with public wifi
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2018, 05:02:47 pm »
I got inspired. Here is how email works with encryption, assuming that VPN is not in use.

One thing to note is that email is clear (readable) text at the points noted in this diagram.  It will be clear text at specific places.

The email is clear text when it travels from one email provider such as Verizon to another such as Google. But this is the domain of the internet backbone and I am fairly certain that you'd have to work at an ISP in order to sniff this level of internet traffic, since this is where your data flows with thousands or millions of other users.

The email is also clear text in the hands of the source as well as the destination email provider. 

So, you have to trust email providers an awful lot when using normal email systems.

Protonmail would result in the message never being clear text when it leaves your workstation and only becomes clear text to the eyes of the recipient.

Code: [Select]

+--------------------+
|                    |
|   Email User Sender| *** Original message in clear text ***
|   Sends Message    |
|                    |
|   (workstation or  |
|   mobile phone's   |
|   email client     |
|   software)        |
+--------------------+
          |
          | SMTP with SSL encryption flowing
          | over the hotel WIFI and out to the
          | email service of the user's choice
          |
          | If you use a VPN this is the ONLY
          | level affected.
          |
+--------------------+
|   Web              |
|   Email (Verizon,  |
|   Yahoo, Gmail,etc)|
|                    |
+--------------------+
          |
          | SMTP clear text, no encryption
          | The intertubes/public backbone
          | The domain of ISP servers
          | Not accessible by normies,
          | commoners, hotel guests, etc.
          | *** Original message in clear text ***
          |
+--------------------+
|   Web              |
|   Email (Verizon,  |
|   Yahoo, Gmail,etc)|
|   SMTP server      |
+--------------------+
          |
          | Mail queue, with a server such
          | as Dovecot that provides
          | email on request of POP3 server.
          | (internal to email servers, accessible
          | by employees, may or may not be encrypted)
          | *** Original message in clear text ***
          |
+------------------------+
|                        |
|   POP3 Server          |
|   Internal to email    |
|   service provider     |
+------------------------+
          |
          | POP3 probably with SSL encryption flowing
          | over the whatever networking that the
          | recipient is using
          |
+------------------------+
|                        |
|   Email User Recipient |
|   Receives Message     | *** Original message in clear text ***
|                        |
+------------------------+


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unix

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Re: Stuck in a hotel with public wifi
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2018, 05:58:11 pm »
Thanks for the diagram
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The Gorn

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Re: Stuck in a hotel with public wifi
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2018, 06:21:20 pm »
^ I'm a nartist.  :P
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JoFrance

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Re: Stuck in a hotel with public wifi
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2018, 01:16:07 pm »
Neat diagram.  I use web mail.  I didn't think anyone used POP3 anymore.  Its more IMAP.

Its too bad that hotels don't offer secure network access to their guests.  I've known quite a few people that just are not aware that wifi internet access at a hotel is not secure.  Even if they charged extra for VPN access, it would be worth it.  Not everyone has the expertise to set up a VPN or even knows there is such a thing.

When I was at the hotel, I met this couple in the elevator.  These people truly had the worst night.  The woman had to work on Monday and was carrying her desktop computer CPU up to her hotel room.  Her husband had the 24" monitor and whoops, he dropped it.  The glass on the screen was totally cracked really bad.  He said they were going to try to use it anyway.  Yikes!  I'm sure that guy had a very bad night. 


benali72

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Re: Stuck in a hotel with public wifi
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2018, 05:46:20 pm »
I feel bad.... I laughed about that monitor cracking. But really, it is kind of funny in a black humor kind of way.

Thanks for the diagram and the recommendation of ProtonMail.

JoFrance

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Re: Stuck in a hotel with public wifi
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2018, 04:22:50 pm »
I know benali72.  When I saw how bad the monitor looked, I thought to myself no way would I plug that in.  He said, "I'm hoping only the glass is broken".  I told him to ask the hotel to borrow a monitor.  I think they would've helped him out.  His wife said "I have to work" in a very cold way.  Lots of cold anger there.  I think if I said another word she would've punched me out.

The Gorn

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Re: Stuck in a hotel with public wifi
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2018, 05:46:13 pm »
I can relate. When you're in a shitty situation like riding out a snowstorm in early March in a hotel when this kind of thing is supposed to be ending, it wouldn't take much to provoke a gunshot wound. Joking about something even in a well intentioned way could cause someone under stress and already pissed to flip out.
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