Earlier I wrote an article on how to automatically log into BT Wi-Fi hotspots using 802.1X authentication. This provides not only better security but far greater convenience - no more having to log in through landing pages each time you connect back to a Wi-Fi hotspot.
What about if you are a Virgin Media customer, interested in using either Virgin Media Wi-Fi, Arqiva or The Cloud hotspots? Be not afraid - very similar methodology works for automatically connecting to the Virgin Media Wi-Fi service too.
There are two differences with the Virgin Media configuration:
- The username and password are not randomised, like they are with BT. This means that you do not need to obtain a "mobileconfig" profile using iOS. (Of course, you still can if you wish to, using the "Virgin Media Wi-Fi" app from the iOS App Store.)
- The inner EAP-TTLS authentication protocol used is MSCHAPv2, not PAP.
With that in mind, I shall leave out the steps on obtaining the "mobileconfig" file using the Virgin Media Wi-Fi app. The steps are largely the same as the BT Wi-Fi app, even down to copying the URL from Safari. Have a look at the BT Wi-Fi article if you are interested.
What you will need, however, is the Virgin Media Wi-Fi trust certificate. If you prefer convenience and are willing to trust this site as a source, then click here to download the Virgin Media Wi-Fi trust certificate (updated December 2017).
Configuring the 802.1X connection on Windows
In order to enable the automatic Virgin Media login from a Windows machine, you need to manually create the wireless profile.
To start with, you will need to add the Virgin Media Wi-Fi trust certificate to your trusted certificate store:
- Double-click the "VirginMediaPublic-Root-CA-G1.cer" file in Windows Explorer.
- The certificate will be shown. Verify that it is issued by "VirginmediaPublic-Root-CA-G1".
- If you downloaded the certificate from above and you wish to perform a further check on the certificate, then go into the Details tab and check that the Signature is "47 OA 74 23 43 FD 7D A1 49 62 9C E8 38 AD C0 0E B1 81 03 1E".
- Please note that this is correct as of the time of writing, but the certificate may be replaced by Virgin Media at any time.
- On the "General" tab, click the "Install Certificate..." button.
- In "Store Location", select "Local Machine" and click "Next". You may be presented with a UAC privilege prompt. Confirm that you wish to continue.
- When asked, select "Place all certificates in the following store".
- Click "Browse", and select "Trusted Root Certification Authorities".
- Click "OK".
- Click "Next", and then "Finish" to confirm.
Now that you have the Virgin Media certificate installed and trusted, you can now configure the wireless profile to connect to "Virgin Media" hotspots:
- Go into "Control Panel", and then into "Network & Sharing Center".
- Click "Set up a new connection or network".
- When prompted, select "Manually connect to a wireless network" and then click "Next".
- In "Network Name", enter: Virgin Media
- In "Security Type", select "WPA2-Enterprise".
- Make sure that "Start this connection automatically" is checked, and click "Next".
- When prompted, click "Change connection settings".
- In the "Security" tab, under "Choose a network authentication method", select "Microsoft: EAP-TTLS".
- Click the "Settings" button next to "Microsoft: EAP-TTLS".
- Under "Trusted Root Certification Authorities", place a checkbox next to "VirginMediaPublic-Root-CA-G1".
- Make sure that "MS-CHAPv2" is selected under "Select a non-EAP method for authentication".
- Click "OK" to return back to the "Virgin Media Wireless Network Properties" dialog.
- Click the "Advanced settings" button.
- Place a check in the box next to "Specify authentication mode", and then select "User authentication" in the drop-down box.
- Click the "Save Credentials" button.
- When prompted, enter your username as email@example.com where firstname.lastname@example.org is your Virgin Media account username. Use your Virgin Media account password.
- Click "OK", and then click "OK" twice more to close each dialog box. Finally, click "Close".
You should now be able to connect to "Virgin Media" networks from the wireless networks list.
You will need to repeat these steps twice more in order to configure automatic login to Arqiva Wi-Fi and The Cloud Wi-Fi hotspots. Repeat steps 1 through 17:
- In Step 4, for Arqiva Wi-Fi, replace the "Virgin Media" network name with "arq_wifi_x".
- In Step 4, for The Cloud Wi-Fi, replace the "Virgin Media" network name with "_The Cloud X".
All other steps are identical, using the same certificate and credentials.
Configuring the 802.1X connection on other platforms
I am unable to provide specific instructions for other platforms, such as Android, but the following configuration settings should be of use to power users wishing to configure this on their devices:
- Wireless Service Set Identifier (SSID): Virgin Media, arq_wifi_x and _The Cloud X
- Wireless authentication method: WPA2 Enterprise
- Wireless authentication EAP protocol: EAP-TTLS
- Inner EAP-TTLS authentication protocol: MS-CHAPv2
- Username: email@example.com (replacing firstname.lastname@example.org with your Virgin Media account username)
- Password: XXXXXXXX (your Virgin Media account password)
- Trusted Certificates: "VirginmediaPublic-Root-CA-G1" certificate (as above)
Same warnings as before.
Each Virgin Media Wi-Fi Configuration Profile UNIQUELY IDENTIFIES YOU, and contains specific authentication credentials linked to your Virgin Media Wi-Fi account. DO NOT SHARE your Configuration Profile, or any details from it, with anyone else.
You are NOT ANONYMOUS when using the Virgin Media Wi-Fi service. If the service is abused, Virgin Media will be able to identify that the abuse is coming from your Virgin Media Wi-Fi identity and your service will likely be terminated by Virgin Media. Really.
You perform the above actions ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK. I am not affiliated with Virgin Media, Arqiva or The Cloud in any way, and do not take any responsibility for anything that may happen as a result of following the above instructions.