Wifi hotspots in China are scattered around most public places. Those who tried logging into them would agree that it is often a painful process. Most of the networks are either password protected or need further input of personal information. Browsing the morning news in a coffee shop could require the annoying red tape of registration. It is not surprising that the demand for Wifi password sharing apps is staggering.
With more than 270 million monthly active users, Wifi Master (WiFi万能钥匙) is the most popular Chinese app that helps users to quickly connect to Wifi hotspots without password or registration.The app recently raised US$52 million in series A funding in return for 5.2% equity in the company, which would value it at around US$1 billion.
Wifi Master users have access to all the ChinaNet hotspots and millions of other Wifi networks. The list of available networks is constantly growing as users crowdsource login information. When a user logs into a hotspot, the app saves the login credentials into a database and make it available to other users of the app. The map feature lets users discover the available Wifi networks in their wider area.
Wifi Master collaborated with Baidu to address potential security issues and to protect user information. The crowdsourced credentials are not shown to users as the app serves them on demand when trying to access a listed network.
Wifi Master is a convenient tool, but it should be used carefully. Accidentally sharing the credentials of your company’s internal Wifi network with 270 million fellow users could seriously compromise information security.