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TetherMe, available in Cydia.
AT&T can easily spot customers that are using unauthorized tethering apps

In March, AT&T began cracking down on customers it believed were jailbreaking their iPhones and using "unauthorized" apps to tether data for no extra fee. Text messages were sent out to suspected customers with an ultimatum: Stop tethering, or we'll automatically enroll you in our $45 DataPro plan.  

The folks over at Android Police point out that jailbroken iPhones are easy to pinpoint when tethered, because many tethering apps use the same technique as the one inherent in iOS. When tethered, the iPhone "sends traffic through an alternate APN (AT&T access point/router) for the express purpose of identifying the traffic as tethered data. This makes it extremely easy for AT&T to identify whether or not an iOS device is utilizing tethering, and just how much of their data is consumed via tethering."

The customers AT&T is likely targeting most are those with the grandfathered unlimited data plans. They can tether their hearts out, without worrying about going over their allotted data cap.

IPhoneDownloadBlog has a list of iPhone tethering apps. MyWi, the most popular one, uses the same APN as the iPhone's standard tethering system, so it is not recommended if you want to go undetected. Two other alternatives are PdaNet -- which offers a "hide" function -- and TetherMe.

However, some users in the comments section of iPhoneDownloadBlog are saying that even with the updated versions of these tethering apps with hiding functionality enabled can’t escape AT&T’s wrath.

“I used the new PDANET since the day it was released a few weeks ago,” wrote one commenter. “Shortly after and consistent with 4.3 upgrade I received an email from ATT.”

So perhaps no one is safe anymore when it comes to unauthorized tethering on the iPhone.



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RE: What about Android?
By Mitch101 on 5/9/2011 9:14:48 AM , Rating: 2
Probably just easier on the iPhone as the article says they all use a similar method. Probably also the testing grounds and soon enough AT&T will target Android even if its just certain app methods.


RE: What about Android?
By CZroe on 5/9/2011 2:00:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah. I'm sure AT&T want's to get the bulk of similar tetherers out of the way first.

Now, I'm a grandfathered Unlimited user. I've been a long-time paid PdaNet user and stopped using it years ago (ruins battery life; gets HOT). I recently bought TetherMe for $2 and have yet to use it. I used the free tether methods every couple months. I have never received anything from AT&T.

I do want to point out that an Unlomited user can't use as much bandwidth as they want, as the article implies. There has always been a 5GB cap that triggers a nasty letter about impacting usability for other customers and threatening to disconnect you if you stop. Now, they just assume ther you are using tethering and send you a notice that you will automatically be enrolled in a tethering plan if you don't stop. Sneaky way to get you off teh Unlimited plan. Anyway, they'll never raise the 5GB cap despite usage scenarios changing (Netflix for iPhone wasn't around back then). They have reason to force you off of it so that they can take advantage of increased bandwidth demand. It's a shame.

Also, I wanted to point out that they can still tell even with the alternate APN because your traffic is likely frequenting sites that are not mobile-friendly. Using a VPN may help


RE: What about Android?
By vol7ron on 5/9/2011 10:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'm still curious if they're useragent sniffing.

If they're seeing IE or Chrome as browser agents, then they might automatically suspect that phone as a tethered device, since Safari is the default.

Of course there are some apps that allow you to use a different agent.


RE: What about Android?
By mostyle on 5/10/2011 1:06:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There has always been a 5GB cap that triggers a nasty letter about impacting usability for other customers and threatening to disconnect you if you stop.


Really? Maybe its random but I pulled 2, 5, 9, 2 all GB in consecutive months and never received the cease and desist speech... Again, maybe I just got lucky. I too am on the old grandfathered unlimited.

Currently testing a straight talk sim in my Captivate and loving it.


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