In-flight Wi-Fi is wonderful. The price to use it on the other hand, not so great. There are a few methods to get free access, but these two are relatively simple. The first requires only an iPhone. The second requires either a VPS or server you control. They both result in free, unlimited access for the whole flight.
Photo by insapphowetrust.
Over at SCS Security, someguy1 explains that there are two different methods he's verified semi-recently to bypass Gogo Inflight's Wi-Fi paywall, and neither of them involve tricks or real hacks. First, the iPhone method, since it's a little easier:
- Connect to the GoGo Wifi
- Browse to the GoGo Movie library (free or paid, it doesnt matter, you wont be paying)
- Click on a movie and it will bring you to a page to download the GoGo app
- Enter the Captcha Code to access the app.
- Submit it
- Do not close the browser now! Open a new tab and start browsing the web. If you leave the auth window active, you will retain your authentication cookie! You can browse as much as you'd like now. Once you close out the browser window, you will lose your session.
Enjoy your free wifi!
The iPhone method is pretty simple, and it works — as long as you're OK browsing on your iPhone for the whole flight (or tethering your iPhone to your laptop, but that can get tricky).
The next method requires you either have a VPS (virtual private server) hosted somewhere, or your own home server with internet access you can proxy into. I'll let you head over to his full post below to read, but the bottom line is that after port scanning the local network, someguy1 discovered that three ports had internet access: 443 (which makes sense, it's https), 53 (DNS servers listen on this port) and 3128 (ah hah!). The rest is history:
On 53 I was able to make a full TCP connection, but was not able to pass the SSH cert to the VPS (used -vvv to see where SSH was hanging up).
On 443 I was not able to leave the network at all (SYN SENT - on netstat)
On 3128 I was able to ssh into my VPS port 3128! Jackpot! The proxy was not inspecting traffic on this port. so I ran the following SSH command to create a SOCKS5 Proxy on my machine:
ssh -D 3128 [email protected] -p 3128
Now I went into my browser network settings, checked "use proxy server" and under "socks" (may be an option for socks 4 and 5, if so use 5) I entered my localhost and port (127.0.0.1:3128) and saved.
VIOLA (sic)! I was able to browse the entire flight for free!
Like we mentioned, this approach isn't for everyone — it definitely requires a little more savvy, and it also requires that you have a server on the outside you can SSH into and configure as your proxy once you've connected to it. But the end result is unmistakable — free Wi-Fi for the duration of the flight, easily repeatable on future flights.
Hit the link below to read the full post, which others in someguy1's comments have noted still works, even as recently as this winter. Of course, use your powers for good, and keep in mind that this is a loophole that can be closed at any time, so be ready to go the iPhone route or just shell out for access if you need to.
Bypass GoGo In-Flight for Free Internet [SCS Security]
This post is part of our Evil Week series at Lifehacker, where we look at the dark side of getting things done. Sometimes evil is justified, and other times, knowing evil means knowing how to beat it. Want more? Check out our evil week tag page.