"WiFi probe" is stealing your message.


When the phone inexplicably encounters a pop-up ad window, or connects to a useless WiFi, you may be in the reach of a WiFi probe device.

Author Zhao Xin, Luo Yi Dan Ma Jing Lei intern student intern

Editor Chen Weicheng Chen Shiyi

"The other day, while I was shopping, my cell phone somehow connected to a promotion-like WiFi, and I couldn't get rid of it anyway." In October 21st, Miss Xu, who worked in Tianjin, told the Beijing news about Unicorn technology.

A recent survey by the Beijing News narwhal technology found that an advertising marketing device using WiFi probes as the main technical means quietly sprang up, such devices collect user information by acquiring the user's mobile phone Mac address. Some devices can force users to pop up their mobile phones and impersonate connected WiFi to put "dogskin plaster" ads on the top of the micro-trust interface that cannot be eliminated. Wechat said that such malicious fraud has been monitored, and the monitoring of the situation to respond technically.

In addition, some companies that produce WiFi probe devices have acquired the relationship between the user's Mac address and the phone number through collaboration with telecom operators, enabling advertisers to make marketing calls, send text messages and flip-flop advertisements; others have access to large databases of Baidu, Tencent and others. Advertisers provide user profiles and even directly provide users with WeChat.

So, is this precision marketing compliance? How far is it from harassment?

"Previously, the thirteen departments such as the Ministry of industry and Commerce combating harassing calls. Such calls can be identified as harassing calls without the permission of the user. " Telecom expert Fu Liang told the Beijing News Unicorn technology.

"It's normal for WiFi devices to get a user's Mac address, and for Internet companies to precisely market their portraits, but if the phone number corresponding to the user's portrait is corresponded out, the corresponding user is'transparent'and is prone to problems in the public market." In October 19th, Zhang Baichuan, a network security expert, told the Beijing news about Unicorn technology.

Advertising disguised as "WeChat top WiFi", do not want to go.

With WeChat suddenly popping up a top WiFi, it can not be eliminated. A survey of narwhal technology by the Beijing News found that a technology called WiFi probe and its derivative WiFi advertising device surfaced. The black production equipment obtains the Mac address of the user's mobile phone and the WiFi name that has been connected, and sends the mandatory pop-up.

"With your own WiFi at home, there suddenly appears an option at the top of the Wechat interface to connect to WiFi, but it doesn't have WiFi functionality. After that, no matter what I did, such as restarting my own WiFi and Wechat, the WiFi connection flag at the top of Wechat was as bad as a dog's plaster. Some netizens are tucking on Baidu post bar.

The above cases appeared sporadically at the end of last year, and this year has gradually increased. According to the new Beijing newspaper Unicorn technology survey, this function is often related to advertising marketing.

"I can mandatory flip-flop windows on my phone and leave a four-hour WiFi connection logo on my Wechat and jump to your ad if I click on it." On October 16, a person engaged in "WiFi advertising big data precision marketing" to the Beijing News narwhal technology said.

The person said that such ads from the Wechat client "can not be eliminated at all," will remain for four hours, "as long as I give the user's mobile phone Mac address, as well as the WiFi connection name, can be achieved."

In less than a minute after the Beijing News narwhal technology informed the person of the two figures on Oct. 16, the mobile Weixin client of the Beijing News narwhal technology showed it was connected to a WiFi called the Enrollment Assistant, and no matter how the technology operated, the logo could not be closed, and once Clicking will jump out of the advertisement. The person said that if they buy their device, they can automatically search for the data of the mobile phone entering the device range, and the device can automatically send the pop-up window to the mobile phone entering the device range.

Behind the mandatory flip-flop window, a technology called WiFi Probe and its derivative WiFi advertising device emerged: the device looks like a normal router and can get a nearby user's Mac address and a WiFi name.

According to CNNIC's annual report, 91.8% of Internet users have access to the Internet through WiFi, and nearly half of them (42.4%) have access to the Internet in public places. WiFi has become the preferred way for Internet users to intervene in the Internet in a fixed place. The entry status of WiFi has been basically determined. In this context, WiFi probe technology has also emerged.

"The Mac address of a mobile phone can be interpreted as the'ID card'of a mobile phone, and the Mac address of each device is unique." On October 17, Li Chun (not his real name), who works on network security, said, "The principle of this kind of WiFi probe technology is not really complicated, because detecting the Mac address of wireless devices is the basic function of Internet routers. WiFi probes can get the Mac address of devices through the WLAN signal segment of civil WiFi, and users can access it. By closing the wireless routing function of mobile devices, we can actively shield the ability to acquire Mac addresses. Therefore, individuals feel that obtaining Mac addresses is not illegal in itself.

However, after obtaining these two data, advertising device vendors can use technical means to send mandatory pop-up ads to the user's mobile phone, as well as set the top WiFi can not be eliminated.

"It's one thing to get an address, but it's another thing to get a strong promotion. It must be a harassment." Li Chun said. "Usually a lot of bullet windows use their own DNS, which is not allowed, but technically it can be done." In October 19th, Zhang Baichuan, a network security expert, said.

On Oct. 17, Wechat said Wechat Connect WiFi is a feature launched by Wechat, which makes it easy for users to quickly connect to the hotspots of WiFi. The "WiFi Probe" class of black products is the use of technical means to monitor the time point of mobile phone connection to WiFi, Mac address and so on, and the use of these public information maliciously cheat the background of Weixin, making the background mistake that the user has been connected to WiFi.

Wechat said that such malicious fraud has been monitored, and the monitoring of the situation to respond technically. If users find such malicious acts, they are welcome to respond to complaints from WeChat.

Online sale of WiFi advertising push equipment, hundreds to thousands of yuan

Online shopping platforms can be found selling a lot of "WiFi advertising push" related equipment, selling prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of yuan. Buyers placed them in crowded places to collect user information. These devices can have different functions ranging from "bully screen advertising", "mandatory flip-flop window" to "electronic touch".

In fact, advertising marketing based on WiFi probe technology has formed an industry chain.

On Oct. 16, a search on the online shopping platform by the keywords of "WiFi Advertising" and "WiFi Powder Absorbing" found that a large number of vendors sold similar equipment, and the price of a set of equipment varied from hundreds to thousands of yuan, depending on the radiation range, function and development company.

New Beijing News narwhal technology randomly selected a shop for consultation, the shopkeeper said, "the cheapest equipment radiation range 200 meters, 488 yuan for sale, the most expensive equipment radiation range can reach 2 km, 2350 yuan." For the specific application, the owner introduces that his client is the owner of a small loan company. "Every day he sends an employee to take our equipment around the office building and collect cell phone information from employees and bosses in the office. Since then, as long as it is working hours, through the background to all mobile phones in the office building pop-up ads, the number of business greatly increased.

A comprehensive product description of many online stores can be found, because such devices are similar in size to ordinary WiFi routers, buyers can place them in a crowded place, or car, backpack the device to collect more user information.

A WiFi probe device was placed behind an air conditioning radiator in a residential area, as the Beijing News narwhal technology saw in a buyer's circle of friends. "When the device is turned on, Android phones 500 meters to 2 kilometers away will receive pre-set ads as long as they are connected to any WiFi." The shopkeeper said.

On September 1, the Beijing News narwhal technology once contacted a "WiFi Advertising Magic Box" salesman as a buyer, who described the "WiFi Advertising Magic Box" as featuring "WiFi Screen" and "Bullet Advertising". In the test video sent by the above-mentioned sellers to the Beijing News narwhal technology, four different types of phones, whether locked or watching videos, were forced to connect to WiFi after entering the device's coverage, and popped up loud ads. Salespeople for the Advertising Magic Box say it is also a strong promotion using the WiFi probe technology above.

According to the WiFi Advertising Magic Box salesman, buyers of the product usually place the device in a targeted setting. "You do cars, we put our equipment in the vicinity of 4S store to collect user data, you do education, go to school to collect, you do real estate, go to the sales center to collect, seize the same source of customers."

New Beijing News narwhal technology found that WiFi probe equipment has undergone several "upgrades" in fact, in addition to simple data collection, its functions are also enriched step by step from "overscreen advertising", "mandatory pop-up window" to "electronic touch" and even "analysis of user portraits".

For example, in a business presentation, the WiFi Advertising Magic Box scans the phone number of the user entering the range. Peking News narwhal technology in WiFi advertising magic box background interface to see that the data into the scope of the device contains a desensitized phone number. Although the number is not visible to advertisers, it can dial and send short messages.

Another similar "WiFi Advertising Machine" can be used to analyze portraits of users entering the device, with accuracy reaching the user's age, gender, income, education, etc.

It is understood that making phone calls and getting user portraits are not inherent features of WiFi probe technology, but need to "talk to and cooperate" with telecom operators and big data providers to have.

"Technically, if you only know the Mac address of the user's mobile phone, it is impossible to know the user's mobile phone number or user portrait. But if a WiFi probe company cooperates with a telecom operator with a Mac phone number correspondence, or has access to a database of a company with a user portrait data, that's technically possible. Zhang Baichuan told the Beijing News Unicorn technology.

In Zhang Baichuan's view, the acquisition of user numbers and portraits of users is a "marketing level" thing, "as long as telecom operators, as well as large data owners are willing to cooperate with WiFi probe equipment sales company, it is completely possible to achieve the above functions."

From pop-up to harassing phone calls, SMS 0.06 yuan / piece, outgoing 0.21 yuan / minute.

According to the equipment provider, there are many WiF


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