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Recently, while travelling, I cam across a hostel which offered wifi, that was authenicated by a facebook or instagram account (as instagram is part of Big Evil Blue, I ask only about facebook in the remainder of this post) instead of the traditional wifi password.

Apart from an interest of how this works at all (authenticating via facebook), I have some questions on this:

  • What is the motivation/incentive for the hostel to do so? Is it in any easier/cheaper for the hostel to do away with the traditional method of wifi passwords?
  • What is the motivation/incentive for facebook to offer/maintain the infrastructure? Or, is there any infrastructure involved?
  • What is there to loose for the user? Clearly, there is some data to be slurped, so be imaginitve in your worst case scenarios.

Bonus question: What may be measures to stop the neighbour of the hostel to use the hostel's wifi with his/her facebook account?

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    Unlikely but possible: It could be a way of phishing, setup a authentication trough a Facebook portal. You logging in gives them the usrname and password so full access to your Facebook account. However this also depends how they 'authenticate'. (Im being imaginitve :) ) – toom May 2 '18 at 7:39
  • Now for it being easier of cheaper: It is easier for the users, they do not have to ask for a wifi password or have to go to the reception to find it. Also they can prompt for users to check-in on facebook, to show their friends at what hotel they are staying. Ofc this is free advertisement. Personally I prefer asking for the WiFi code. – toom May 2 '18 at 7:45
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Ill Try to Answer your questions precisely.

What is the motivation/incentive for the hostel to do so? Is it in any easier/cheaper for the hostel to do away with the traditional method of wifi passwords?

Answer: Assuming that the hostel owner has a big heart and wants to give free wi-fi access to the public, he needs a way to authenticate(recognize actually), every user, so that he can be answerable to the authorities, if any illegal thing happens through his network. By using FB Open authentication, he knows the user(actually FB does and the owner is trusting FB).

What is the motivation/incentive for facebook to offer/maintain the infrastructure? Or, is there any infrastructure involved?

This is Open Authentication. Check this for details.

What is there to loose for the user? Clearly, there is some data to be slurped, so be imaginitve in your worst case scenarios.

Answer: There is nothing much to lose for the user, provided the owner is not using phishing tools to lure the user to use FB authentication. If it comes to phishing, the adversary can steal the password and further may try other sophisticated methods like social engineering attacks, to cause damage of various other natures.

What may be measures to stop the neighbour of the hostel to use the hostel's wifi with his/her facebook account?

Answer: Technically, you can block any user to use the wi-fi services by blocking that particular user(by username or mac address).

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