When blogger Justin Watt looked at his blog during a hotel stay, he noticed a thin grey bar at the top of the page that should not be there. Watt says that he first thought was that it was due to a CSS problem related to a browser update; however, on examining the source code, it was soon apparent that there was more to it.
The source code on the server had not been changed, but when viewed in his browser, there was additional CSS information after the
Further research revealed that the hotel, the Courtyard Marriott in New York's Times Square, was using an RG Nets hotspot gateway. RG Nets calls its product a Revenue eXtraction Gateway (RXG) and promises users extra revenue by displaying extra ads (See also RG Nets' own advertisement). Following Watt's post, Marriott said that it was not aware of, nor did it approve of the ad-service's practices, and that it has since been disabled.
The story offers one more good reason for always exercising caution when using a public network and underlines the benefits of using a VPN wherever possible. This helps to protect against both unwelcome eavesdropping and modification of the type described – assuming that it's possible to set up a VPN through this kind of gateway.