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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Little More Verizon MiFi Info

We were not expecting the feedback and hits to our blog over yesterday's post concerning our Verizon MiFi problems.  Along with many thoughtful comments and emails, we were even referenced on a couple of notable blogs.  Seems like we are not alone and Verizon knows they have a poor product on the market.

So some follow up to a couple of questions that we've received.  First of all, we bit the bullet and bought out most of our contract.  We received a credit of $40 towards the $170 early termination fee.  With a $141 bill for the first month when it should have been not more than $80 (tax not included), we could see it was a wise choice if the contract was going to be this costly, along with the slow service in many places and the lousy customer service help.  We were also refunded the cost of the device($106.99).

We had some connectivity problems with out Sprint aircard out in the Southwest, on the East coast and the Northern states, it worked very well for over six years.  Being we are going to spend most of our traveling time in the Eastern U.S., we decided to switch back, it will work well for us.

For the Verizon MiFi password, which is a series of numbers on the back of the MiFi, the first two numbers are a key to the day the device was manufactured, the next two numbers, the month of manufacture and the next two numbers the year of manufacture.   That leaves the remaining four numbers as the actual password.

On the hacker websites, there are several programs that easily discover the date of manufacture, leaving the last four numbers easily broken, the four numbers give only 100,000 possible combinations, child's play to break for the computer hacker programs.

To make a really strong password, all the numbers should be changed to a mixture of numbers, letters (both upper and lower case) and well as punctuation marks mixed in.  No words, names or patterns from the keyboard (like QWERTY or 12345678) should be used.

No one carrier or device is fool proof, no carrier has perfect service, either (except maybe McDonald's free WiFi, I can get a Diet Coke while I surf the net...he he).  Hopefully, changing a password will help protect Verizon MiFi users from having huge, unexplained bills.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. I believe that the "hacking" of a mi-fi device like that is a VERY rare occurrence.

    What I think happens is that most people have automatic updates enabled for their browsers, operating systems, and antivirus, and that some months those updates can be huge. And so they are downloaded without people even realizing it.

    There are times when a computer running Windows 7 and IE can download 3GB of automatic updates in an oddball month. Add on to that the antivirus updates, the Adobe updates, and the Java updates and I come to the conclusion that hacking is very rare. Figure that the hacker has to be smart, crooked, and within wi-fi distance of your device. I just don't think it's that common.

  2. How I wish Kevin and Ruth were right, but in my years and years of consulting and fixing computer 'speed' problems, I find many with routers that are being used by outsiders. MiFi units are one thing, easy to hack, but it does take a little effort. But unsecured routers are another. I find that many of my clients are connected to neighbors' unsecured routers without even knowing it, as I secured their routers, and somewhere along the way, they changed the password key-in process, and the computer just connected to the next router in line.
    It is correct that auto updates can add to bandwidth drain, but short of a 'service pack' being downloaded, most updates are in the 10's of megabyte range rather than in the gigabyte range. Still a good idea to do updates on demand, when you can monitor the process, and hopefully have wi-fi available.

  3. Your post sure generated some good information.

    I got ours changed yesterday...but forgot to do the wireless printer...until I needed it and then I remembered.

  4. BTW

    "anonymous" has been giving some really good information in his comments. Do you have a blog? Would love to read more of your tips and insights!

  5. BTW

    "anonymous" has been giving some really good information in his comments. Do you have a blog? Would love to read more of your tips and insights!

  6. Despite wanting to get away from the rat race, we still want to be connected ... I'm not surprised at the interest your post generated yesterday.

  7. Well I guess any device can get hacked... I will be looking into changing our password on my mi-fi card but we have used them for 8 years and ~ knock on wood ~ have never had a problem. We have had both AT&T & Verizon and so far Verizon has had the better coverage for us. Glad for the info!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  8. I know nothing about the mifi device but I do know we dropped verizon years ago because of poor customer service. We were happy that we could get a verizon air card through millenicom. I have no issues have never gone over my data limit and my bill is the same every single month.

  9. I disagree with Kevin and Ruth too. I wish it were true but updates don't run 5gbs a day and that's what you had on one day. It would be nice if people were honest but if something is easy to hack, there's equipment to hack it and those that are looking for it. Some antennas can search for open sources several miles away. You don't need to be close. Folks downloading pirated movies and music don't do it on their own systems. They borrow bandwidth from others.

    The most important thing is you handled it as soon as you discovered it.

  10. Kevin and Ruth,

    Thanks for your comment, you may be right in some circumstances.

    On our computers, we have them set up with a strong Anti-Virus/Firewall program that stops any download and asks my permission to allow it. So in my case, nothing is downloaded automatically or without my knowledge.

  11. I'm with you Paul, they don't download anything without asking me. We did change all our passwords just in case but we haven't had any trouble with our Verizon 5GB limit. Luckily we haven't needed customer noservice.
    Although I have to say I've been totally unimpressed with 4G. Faster? Huh??? More drops - for sure.

    I'll be anxious to see how your new Sprint set up does on the road all over the country. Hope you'll keep reporting on it.

    Wish folks would talk about how much they pay for what they have. I'm just flabbergasted that two phones (one smart, one stupid-guess who has which) and our mifi cost $168 a month. There must be a cheaper way to do this.

  12. You guys probably DID get hacked. But my comment was that it's very rare for that to happen. I stand by it.

  13. For Karen and Al, sorry, I don't have a blog. We have lived in our 2010 Winnebago Journey for nearly two years, but didn't hit the road full time till last December, when my wife retired. I still work full time, running my computer business from the road. (30 years in the computer business, so I have seen nearly everything in those years, but there is always something new coming along) So I have been a little busy to write an actual blog, but like everyone, we have had our RV adventures along the way.
    Journey 39n