Mobile WiFi hotspot (tethering) in SHTF situation

In a given SHTF situation it may happen there is no GSM network available. It can be shut down under command of any government or army or just stops working due to any event happened before, during or after the SHTF. Relying on GSM alone might be a stupid thing to do when preparing for a SHTF situation. But don’t trow away your smartphone yet; there are some interesting tricks you can pull off with your mobile phone. One of them is the mobile WiFi hotspot. Most of recent mobile phones have a function to actually turn your mobile device into a routing modem that allows for WiFi devices to connect to the internet via the smartphone. This can be done by turning the phone in the ‘mobile hotspot’ mode or ‘tethering mode’. Most of the times, it is possible to enter a name and a password for the SSID; the network name for wireless connections. Here are some examples where the mobile hotspot can come in handy, even though there is no GSM or ethernet available at all.


You are trapped/captured somewhere
When you are in a situation where you are unable to escape from and there no means of making contact to the world, it might be a life saver to turn on a hotspot with the SSID name ‘HELP im in the shack’. While this might attract bandits or looters, with WiFi sniffers turned on, passing by, this might also give you the change to survive, due to a more caring person passing by, noticing the network name. In the situation that you are going to die without quick help from someone from the outside, you might want to take the risk and turn on a mobile hotspot.

You need some kind of special access control
Lets say you are with a group op persons and have shelter in a house. You have planked down every window and you are unable to check who is at the door. The shit is fanned all over the place and the making of any noise, like ringing a doorbell, or knocking a door is guaranteed for being checked up on by looters or bandits, which are close by. One of your fellow group members had to go outside to get some resources needed for the groups survival. A possible way to do some kind of access control, which does not make more sound than the entry gate/door would make, you can use a mobile hotspot (or bluetooth).
Here’s what to do: When someone leaves the shelter, to come back soon, turn on a WiFi hotspot on a smartphone from within your shelter and move close to the gate or door. Have the person who is leaving make a network connection with this netwrok. Use a WPA2 password that you share with the group members only. When the person comes back and want to come back in the shelter (which you have closed again obviously), the only thing he has to do, is come into range with WiFi on his device turned on. You can see on the hosting device that there’s a new connection, making for nearly 100% sure that it is the person who left the shelter earlier. The only thing that needs to be done is to grant the person access. Make sure you don’t name the SSID someting like ‘streetlane 14 shelter’ or something. Also avoid standard names of expensive phones and devices, like ‘WiFi network of iPhone 7’. If it’s possible in the settings, hide the SSID and if not, name it more like ‘does someone has food?’. This might also distract looters, since they might think there is nothing to get from you. This hotspot method can be used also with a group of friends/family who share a bug out location, but who will not arrive the same time. The first person arriving can lock in and set up the network, others who will arrive at a later moment, simply have to come in range for a positive friend or foe detection without any sounds to be having made. Of course, turning on a WiFi hotspot on a mobile device exposes your proximity to nearby looters and bandits drastically, when they have a WiFi sniffing tool available. Use with care. Bluetooth might also be used, but sometimes mobile devices start to make sounds or vibrate when a connection is established, making this solution less stealth. When in the dark, make sure you lowered brightness of the mobile devices being used in the process to a minimum.

In a situation where your changes of survival is compromised in such a way you need to set a trap to eat human flesh, or obtain items carried by others, you can use a hotspot to bait other survivalists, bandits or looters. In this case, make the network name (SSID) name something like a free WiFi hotspot service, like ‘MC Donalds Free WiFi’, if you hiding in a abandoned MC Donalds building by example. Persons who walk by sniffing for network possibilities, might check inside if the connection is for some reason still working. The thing is, that they probably see the connection from outside and connect. So you know upfront that someone is coming. Be careful still: You might attract someone who is well armed and looking for the same as you do… This might be also a tip for survivalists who encounters WiFi connections. It might be wise to check the surroundings first before turning on your own WiFi and possible expose yourself.