Marriot WiFi "Jamming"... Really Not All Bad

The FCC has stated that the Marriott Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center deliberately used Wi-Fi jamming tactics that made it impossible for guests to use their own personal hotspots, leaving their paid Wi-Fi as the only available option. The hotel agreed to pay a $600,000 penalty and stop its signal-blocking activities.

They don't admit to any wrongdoing though. Instead they claim that they were using a known feature in the FCC approved hardware that they use to run their official network – a feature that lets them send de-authentication packets to Wi-Fi Internet access points that are not part of Marriott’s Wi-Fi system or authorized by Marriott and that Marriott has classified as “rogue”.

Why? According to a hotel rep their intentions were good – they were trying to protect their guests from "rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft.”

That holds up. The very "jamming" practice they were fined for employing would indeed have protected guests from "evil twin" and other attacks that can lead to identity theft.

The problem is the lack of discretion. It sounds like they could have used the same feature to selectively target evil twin access points while sparing legitimate personal hotspots. Instead they targeted everything and made a lot of money off of guests who, unable to use their own personal hotspots, had to buy wifi access from the hotel.

Marriot WiFi 'Jamming'.... Not All Bad