People are always looking for ways to save money, and for the most part, saving money and cheating the system are synonymous when it comes to things like free internet access. Practically every new gadget is capable of connecting to the web, which means more and more people are looking for ways around those hefty internet bills.
When it comes to gaming on your PlayStation 3, a fast connection is key to any meaningful online battle. Just think about how many times a crappy internet connection ruined your gaming experience.
As a PS3 owner myself, finding a way to access free Wi-Fi from my neighbors would be sweeter than a Halle Berry statue made out of Skittles. Of course, there are some, shall we say, primitive methods of getting free Wi-Fi from your neighbor.
If you live in a decent-sized city, some of your nearby neighbors might actually be businesses—and you might be able to gain access to one of their free Wi-Fi hotspots, like Starbucks, McDonald's, or the public library.
If for some reason you're not sure whether or not there's a Mickey D's or Starbucks next to you, there are plenty of mobile apps out there that help you find nearby free hotspots. Who knows? You might live right next to one and not even know it. Here are just a few of them:
If you're near a hotspot location that looks free and unsecured, but actually requires login access (like an airport or hotel that charges money for Wi-Fi accounts), then you can still get around it if you know your way around Wireshark, which will let you spoof your MAC address. Click here for more details.
If you think you might just be out of range, try moving it around until a better signal appears, then setup your gaming station there. You cannot use external USB antennas, as they don't work with PS3s. And if you have the older CECHB01 model, wireless is not supported. If you don't mind opening up your PS3, you can also try this hack, which replaces the internal antenna with a better external one for longer ranges.
If all else fails, you can always just ask one of your neighbors for their Wi-Fi password, right? But seriously, if there are no openly free or unprotected Wi-Fi networks around you (as in they're all locked down), here are some other methods you can try out...
Unlike other apps that help you locate nearby free Wi-Fi hotspots, 44sqwifi actually provides you with the passwords for your neighbor's wireless internet, too. It works by culminating a bunch of user-generated data and provides the app holder with that information.
So, when someone goes into a free Wi-Fi location and uses the establishment's password (most change passwords on a daily basis), they then upload it to the database, allowing others previously locked out, access to the network. This obviously works better for businesses, but you never know—some asshole might have leaked your neighbor's password to the app, too.
Your neighbors don't stand a chance.
A lot of us let our friends and family members use our computers and vice versa. Depending on your morality index, finding out their passwords isn't that difficult. Most people use the same password for a lot of their securable information, from email accounts to wireless network passwords.
So, if you happen to live next to selfish family members or have friends as neighbors, next time you're in their place, ask to use their computer for Google or something and take their Wi-Fi password instead.
If your friend uses Chrome or Firefox, finding out their passwords may be even easier. All you need to do is look at their saved passwords in the browser, unless they have the option disabled. Using this method could yield a bunch of useful passwords—hopefully one of them works for their wireless router. Click here for more information.
If one of those passwords doesn't work for their Wi-Fi, then if it's a Mac computer, you can try using one of the passwords to access their Keychain. After opening up Keychain Access (found in the Utilities folder in Applications), you can view all of their saved items, but to actually see the passwords, you'll need the administrator password, which could be one of the saved website ones found in their browser.
If you think you've got some hacker skills, then you might want to try the more advanced route to crack your neighbor's wireless password.
You could also try KisMAC, a Mac program that scans Mac supported networks for weakness and reveals logged in clients and network coverage. KisMAC is 100 percent free, but it does require an internet connection to run the program. Once you gain access to someone else's internet, you can go ahead and cancel your own. Money in the bank.
If you don't mind shedding a few dollars (but not as much as TWC or some other internet provider will cost you), the following methods might suit you well.
Paying for the tethering/mobile hotspot option through your cell phone provider is a last ditch effort. If you need to play you PS3 this bad, then you might have a problem. The prices for exceeding the data limit and gaming over the cellular network are ridiculous.
Even Sprint, who offers "unlimited data" still asks for an extra 20 dollars to enable tethering and then caps your tethering to 2GB of data... not really unlimited then.
Verizon and AT&T don't even have unlimited data anymore (unless you're grandfathered in), so it will be more expensive to use more data. Even with jailbroken or rooted phones using a tethering app, you may not have to pay the cell phone provider for the service, but you still have to pay for the amount of data you are sucking up.
For people that don't feel like going through the hassle of using the techniques mentioned above, then this might be just the thing you're looking for. It's basically a noob-friendly hacker kit.
Wi-Fi Pineapple's standard kit, the Mark IV, will cost you 99 dollars. What WiFi Pineapple does is steal whatever credentials/authentications it can find from the list of available Wi-Fi networks that users have accessed in the past. When these users log into their wireless networks they are really logging into a Wi-FI Pineapple created access point. Once logged in, the Wi-Fi Pineapple owner has access to their internet connection as well as their browsing activities.
All of these methods help you gain access to a wireless network. Once that access is gained, your PS3 will automatically detect the available networks and from there is only gaming bliss. But this article should also serve as a reminder to make your passwords hackproof, because it's obviously easier than you think.