While I was waiting in the Nottingham railway station I wanted to connect to the WiFi. However, I found 4 unsecured WiFi networks:

  • TheCloud
  • _Notts City Free WiFi
  • NET WiFi
  • NCTX WiFi

I had no idea which one was official, and which might be fake ones provided by people intent on stealing my browsing habits.

Is there any way to determine the official WiFi? Would railway staff members know? Is there a list of WiFi networks in UK railway stations somewhere?

An answer that is applicable to railway stations in general would be great - I go through a lot and asking a question here for 8 different stations seems a bit silly.

Finally - I know public WiFi is deemed untrusted, so I use a VPN which I do trust and browse with Safari, rather than the official Apps, so that I can see the green padlock indicating HTTPS.

  • I'd say this is more suitable question for Information Security, but generally for an open WiFi you have no way to confirm that the station you are trying to connect to is official one. All parameters, including ESSID and BSSID could be faked.
    – George Y.
    Nov 6, 2017 at 2:18
  • This is fundamentally no different to the airport question, hence vote to close.
    – user29788
    Nov 6, 2017 at 2:19
  • @GeorgeY. on an open network an attacker can sniff unencrypted packets without spoofing anything.
    – user29788
    Nov 6, 2017 at 2:21
  • 1
    @Moo no - railway stations are very different to airports. If that OP can claim that his question is about travel because it’s in an airport and airports are different to coffee ships, why is this a duplicate?
    – Tim
    Nov 6, 2017 at 9:28
  • 1
    How can this be a duplicate of the airport question? This is about railways in one specific country, not airports all over the world. The answers do not define a duplicate, and I do not see how the question is the same as the other - it's completely different.
    – Tim
    Nov 6, 2017 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


As with the question on airports, there is NO general answer to this. Free public Wi-Fi is inherently insecure - even if you connect to the correct hotspot (and there's no way to tell if you're connecting to the correct hotspot), anyone also connected could use various spoofing techniques to intercept your traffic. If you need to use non-HTTPS websites and don't want to be vulnerable to various attacks, you need to use some other service like a VPN to ensure all of your connections are encrypted.

In your particular case, assuming no spoofing is going on:

  • TheCloud is probably from a shop or something, or perhaps the station itself. It's a free Wi-Fi "chain" owned by Sky.
  • _Notts City Free WiFi sounds like a city-wide Wi-Fi system in Nottingham. It's not railway-specific.
  • NET WiFi is the Wi-Fi from the Nottingham Express Transit, that is, the trams.
  • NCTX WiFi is Wi-Fi from Nottingham City Transport.

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