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Communications Stats Wireless Networking Politics

SSID As the New Community Bulletin Board and Yard Sign 165

Hugh Pickens writes "Megan Garber writes that wireless routers have become the lawn signs of the digital age, particularly in large apartment buildings, where almost every unit has a unique Wi-Fi network that will be detected in turn by all the other unique Wi-Fi networks. SSIDs can be a cheeky, geeky way to broadcast messages to your immediate neighbors. Most of us keep it simple with '275_Elm_Street,' 'Apt23,' or 'my_network,' but some get more creative with names like: 'Apt112IHaveYourMail,' 'PrettyFlyForAWiFi,' or 'WeCanHearYouHavingSex' — a great way to freak out your annoying neighbors without hiding in their bushes or peeping in their windows late at night. Now the team at OpenSignalMaps, which maintains a database of geolocated Wi-Fi access points, analyzed the data they've collected about wireless routers to see whether Wi-Fi names are 'being used to fly political colors' and have found, globally, 1,140 results for 'Obama' and an additional six for 'Romney' — an indication not necessarily of Romney's popularity relative to the president's, but of the attention that four years as president can confer. 'There's something uniquely contemporary and incredibly old-school about that kind of broadcasting: It's messaging meant only for your immediate neighbors,' writes Garber. 'The politicized network names are like lawn signs for people who don't have lawns.'"
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SSID As the New Community Bulletin Board and Yard Sign

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  • by Beorytis ( 1014777 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @09:54AM (#40193775)
    I would like to see an analysis of the names compared to the frequency of unauthorized access attempts. What names are likely to generate indifference?
  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:58AM (#40194137)

    Always a classic:

    Upside down Internet.

    Howto. []


  • by cslewis2007 ( 1120851 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:00AM (#40194149)
    Has anyone managed to send data using this technique? I realize that the data payload would be very small, but considering how fast you can switch SSIDs I imagine this should be possible. The main advantage is that you wouldn't need to actually assign an IP address to your computer in order to receive data - which should reduce the potential for malicious access. I did a quick google search and didn't find anything under "send data using ssid". Anyone seen something like this? What is the theoretical / practical data throughput? Could multiple routers be used in parallel to increase throughput? (like in the old days of bonding ISDN channels together)
  • Re:Attitude (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:06AM (#40194185)

    Within range of my apartment, there's currently about a dozen 2WIRE843-type network names. Not sure why so many people have that particular brand of router (maybe Charter rents them?), but it's still surprising to me that everyone opted for the default SSID considering this complex is mainly comprised of young professionals, many of whom work for EPIC [] doing software development. Certainly not a demographic I would figure would leave the default SSID in place.

    My SSID has been "RECALL SCOTT WALKER" for a year now, but nobody's ever said anything about it, and we're pretty social with our neighbors (this is a dog building, and all of us dog lovers are very friendly with each other). Come this Tuesday I'll be changing it, hopefully to "BUH BYE SCOTT WALKER".

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.