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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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  • Yes, you can blurt out telephone numbers to get out of my Internets or even an advertisement for a limited audience.

    SSID fields are just a rather new entity in this arena.

    Have fun with them while Wifi AP points still have meaning technologically.

  • SSID As the New Community Bulletin Board and Yard Sign

    How about WeLuvURob?

    • by Rob Riggs ( 6418 )

      SSID As the New Community Bulletin Board and Yard Sign

      How about WeLuvURob?

      Dude, Rob moved out a while ago.

  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @09:37AM (#40193671) Homepage

    quite likely has more than Obama and Mittens combined as using ssid was heavily promoted by supporters as a technique to raise name awareness.

  • Attitude (Score:4, Funny)

    by Clueless Moron ( 548336 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @09:38AM (#40193675)
    I saw "GetYourOwnDamnWifi" the other day. Ok guy, I get the point.
    • Re:Attitude (Score:5, Funny)

      by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @09:49AM (#40193741)
      My favorite is "GetOffMyLAN!".
    • My previous neighbors had "Not Your Internet" or sometimes "Not Your Wifi."

      Of course, living in bumfuck Indiana, most popular is "belikin." Ho hum.

      In the middle of the building where I work I detected a "Grab My Dick" the other day setting up a Macintosh. Still don't understand what that is about...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 )

        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 [epic.com] 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 ye

        • by Hatta ( 162192 )

          What is the advantage to changing one's SSID?

          • Well, if I was one of those people with the 2Wire*** SSIDs, I would think to be able to find it easier in the drop down...like I said there's a dozen that are virtually identical.

            That's admittedly minor, though. There's really no advantage to speak of, but then again, look at how many people actually pay for vanity license plates which also serves no advantage whatsoever (and costs money out of pocket, as opposed to changing the router's SSID). People just like putting their own personal stamp on their th

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by moj0e ( 812361 )

            One advantage of changing your default SSID a vanilla install is that it makes it harder to crack.
            The SSID is used as salt in the encryption mechanism.

            Here is an article that describes it in more detail:
            http://netsecurity.about.com/od/secureyourwifinetwork/a/WPA2-Crack.htm [about.com]

            Plus... having a goofy SSID is fun :) Mine is "Dialup".

            • by Rary ( 566291 )

              Plus... having a goofy SSID is fun :) Mine is "Dialup".

              I'm thinking of changing mine to "Honeypot". That outta make somebody think twice before trying to get in.

        • by mcavic ( 2007672 )
          2-Wire routers are popular for DSL and Uverse, but Charter rents wireless routers now too.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          2Wire gateway/modems have been stock equipment for AT&T DSL for several years now.

          • Surprised so many people around here have DSL. Maybe they're all ex-Charter customers that finally got sick of their shit...

            Surprised so many people here apparently rent a modem, too. Like I said, this is primarily IT professionals in this area and that's definitely a demographic I would figure would own their own hardware. I haven't rented a modem from my ISP since '05...

            My dad rents a modem/router from Charter (don't think his is 2-Wire, though). He can't even access the firmware outside of the SSID a

            • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
              With Uverse, you have to have the 2wire router. I have my own router behind it and disabled the wireless. I have been thinking of setting up a dedicated wifi that does not go to the internet but redirects to a local "file-sharing" server. maybe an html page to explain things or download and upload via ftp or sftp (maybe an html upload option).
              Thought it might be a nice experiment.
          • Yup. Cheap POS. Mine died shortly after warranty was up.

        • by sdnoob ( 917382 )

          Nice to see we're not the only cheeseheads with a RECALLWALKER wireless network.


          The most common default name we see here belong to Verizon's wireless mobile hotspots. With incumbent carriers like Centurytel (sucks) and Charter (sucks even more), a lot of people, even within their coverage areas, opt for Verizon or USCC instead -- despite the higher cost for slower speeds and the (typical) 5GB monthly quota.

          Driving around town, ones like GETYOUROWNWIFI are also pretty common. What is really stupid, thoug

    • I saw "GetYourOwnDamnWifi" the other day. Ok guy, I get the point.

      You mean someone else is using my SSID? Dammit... now I'll have to change it to "GetOffMyLawn," "GetOffMySpectrum" or, if all else fails, natalielikesmariahcarey [youtube.com].

    • My neighbor has "PoweredByBiscuitsAndGravy"
    • One of my neighbors is "FuckBitchesGetMoney"

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I saw "titties an panties" the other day and it was unsecured. Make of that what you will...

    • I can see H1N1Virus near here. Same point.

    • Re:Attitude (Score:4, Funny)

      by telekon ( 185072 ) <canweriotnow@gmail.OPENBSDcom minus bsd> on Saturday June 02, 2012 @12:38PM (#40194683) Homepage Journal

      I liked the one that was 'HideYourKids,HideYourWifi'.

      Ironically, it was broadcasting hits SSID.

    • I'm surprised no one has mentioned the classic, "FBI Mobile Surveillance Van."
      I bet that one will freak out a lot more people than "WeCanHereYouHavingSex."

  • If the bulk of them are IPv4, they are going to consume a lot of the residual IPv4 addresses out there. Please tell me that the bulk of these access points and routers support IPv6, so that we won't have a whole lot of needless landfill from products that could be perfectly useful as networks embrace IPv6 in greater number
    • Re:IP addresses (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rs79 ( 71822 ) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:56AM (#40194117) Homepage

      "If the bulk of them are IPv4, they are going to consume a lot of the residual IPv4 addresses out there."

      dear noob;
      we get it you didn't get any ip addresses before 95. please stop whining. invent something better
      (and i've seen better and it doesn't look like v6)

      If you were to freeze the configuration of the V4 core network right now, everything would work just fine. All our stuff talks to our other stuff. We're not running out of addresses that are already deployed and running the core network, it's only the edges of the network where more addresses are needed. So use whatever you want there and as long as it rides over the stable V4 core, you're fine. Pretty much fucked though if your new protocol doesn't do that well.

      Let us know how your parallel network builds out, maybe we'll use it as an I/O device one day when you're done building it.

      The thing to keep in eye on this IPV6 day is not what V6 links work, but what parts of the V4 core they break. Like last year when Hurricane Electric broke the V4 link to ISC. Talk about irony-in-a-can. Talk about broken. Talk about didn't notice. Talk about H.E. got unplugged.

      Please please please don't break the net again this year. Kashpureff went to jail for disruptions an order of magnitude less than this.

      • Not to mention if we got rid of all the damned squatters and campers we'd have years worth of addresses left. The other day I found an old HDD that came out of my old Win98 box and it had my old bookmarks so just for shits and giggles i thought I'd see how many of the old sites still existed, the answer? not much, nearly all were now domain parking spots. Seriously how damned many of those stupid domain parking sites are there now? last figures i saw had less than 35% of IPV4 actually going to a real site,

        • You do know that IP != DNS, and that most of those parked domains don't consume an IP address, right?
          • by tepples ( 727027 )
            Any site supporting HTTPS does consume an IP address, at least until Windows XP and Android 2.x fall out of use.
        • by kwark ( 512736 )

          "But they should have made IPV6 backwards compatible and just used numbers instead of hex. We humans just don't think in hex"

          Q: So what is your ipv6 adress
          A: what format would you like:
          decimal: 11579208 92373161 95423570 98500868 79078532 69984665 64056403 94575840 07913129 639936
          (added some spaces to pass the lame filter)
          hex: ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff

          You don't have to think that much about ipv6 addresses, netmask got a bit

        • But they should have made IPV6 backwards compatible

          Could you explain how? Because I've seen so many people suggest this, and not one has explained how it would be done.

          I believe the primary reason is because it's not possible, but maybe you'll be the person to correct me.

  • Obama (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2012 @09:45AM (#40193713)

    Is that the same Obama that is overseeing the PIPA/SOPA/CIPA/ACTA and $2 billion Utah Spying mega project? How quaint that people would use the very medium he and other politicians (bipartisan cabal) are trying to thwart to show their support...

  • by linuxwrangler ( 582055 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @09:50AM (#40193751)

    When I first got a laptop with wifi I loaded Kismet and took the laptop with me on some errands. My favorite: HoneyPot_comeGetSnarf.

  • 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 Jeremi ( 14640 )

      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?

      One of the WiFi SSIDs around my building is "ClickHereForIdentifyTheft". I nominate that one.

  • There's a road going near the building, and across the street, there's a bus stop
    One of the neighbours has wlan called IsItColdAtTheBusStop?
  • by adosch ( 1397357 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:09AM (#40193845)

    There's always going to be American/United States bias in the world outside CONUS, so why even include them as part of your study? The world doesn't re-elect our president, United States citizens do. In places where I live where electoral votes count the majority, it gets comfortable to feel as though you vote doesn't count anyway.

    Hate to be pessimistic, but this is pretty meaningless. Out of the millions of SSIDs in the US alone, TFA writer could only confer with 400 of them for a sample and make some half ass meaningful attempt at analysis? That's hardly anything worth blogging about. This is no more useful than it would be me using my neighbor's regular smoke breaks outside as a counter for how many people like fresh air during the sunlight hours of the day. Stupid.

    • by icebike ( 68054 ) *

      Out of the millions of SSIDs in the US alone, TFA writer could only confer with 400 of them for a sample

      400 is what you can find in an afternoon of war driving in suburbia, or an hour walking around apartment complexes with a wardriving app on your smartphone.

      But realistically, with WIFI being such a short range medium getting a significantly larger sample with a non-google scale budget is pretty problematic. You can't detect them very far away, and the more crowded the wifi space the smaller the detection distance due to unfavorable signal to noise ratio.

      To the rescue: http://wigle.net/ [wigle.net] a collection of 57 m

    • by asylumx ( 881307 )

      That's hardly anything worth blogging about.

      I'm sorry, but there aren't any prerequisites for blogging. I'm not sure where you got the expectation that things are "worth blogging about" but I've seen some pretty nonsensical drivel on blogs many times.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      Out of the millions of SSIDs in the US alone, TFA writer could only confer with 400 of them for a sample and make some half ass meaningful attempt at analysis? That's hardly anything worth blogging about.

      Actually, the study was based on a database of 75 million geolocated access points, as compiled by OpenSignalMaps. You might like to read the original study report [opensignalmaps.com] to get a better idea of what's going on here.

      The actual disappointing thing is that, out of 75 million access points, they only found about 1,200 hits for "obama" -- which doesn't seem to have any real statistical significance at all. Furthermore, there were only 6 hits for "romney" -- probably because a lot of these access points were polled ove

    • The real problem with this survey is that they limited it to America.

      Obama is nothing and Romney is huge in Amercia.

      http://gawker.com/5914880/chinese-owner-of-amerciacom-says-romney-typo-is-helping-him-fund-his-sons-college-education [gawker.com]
  • by Quick Reply ( 688867 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:12AM (#40193859) Journal

    Make it an open network but don't connect it to anything. Some people will spend hours trying to connect.

    Works better when it is in range of busy public spaces.

    Also works equally as well with "Free Porn".

  • Well, OK... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Thad Zurich ( 1376269 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:12AM (#40193861)
    ... but I'm not giving up "FBI Surveillance Van".
  • by Holistic Missile ( 976980 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:15AM (#40193883)
    My access point has dual radios - they are named B(. )( .)bies and Skynet.

    Boobies is the more visible one (2.4 Ghz b/g/n), and everyone who comes over with a smartphone or laptop finds it amusing, the ladies moreso than the guys. I have a second vlan on it for when friends bring their children over with ipods, kindles and such; it doesn't seem right to tell a 10 year old to just grab boobies!!

  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:27AM (#40193937)

    'WeCanHearYouHavingSex' — a great way to freak out your annoying neighbors without hiding in their bushes or peeping in their windows late at night.

    I was looking for a better way to freak out my neighbours than hiding in their bushes or peeping in their windows late at night.

    Thanks slashdot!

    • I was looking for a better way to freak out my neighbours than hiding in their bushes or peeping in their windows late at night.

      Try FavaBeansAndANiceChianti

  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:36AM (#40193989)

    How many times do you look at your wifi SSID list? Its been at least over a year for me cause whenever I need to connect I tell the machine to go direct to mine, which is not broadcast, and automatically connect.

    I think the average person is about the same, they want their shit connected, and wont ever look at it again until something messes up. So "SSID As the New Community Bulletin Board and Yard Sign" is an interesting thought, and may be happening in some few areas, but its a big leap since chances are no one will ever read them.

    • If your SSID is non-broadcast, and your laptop is set to automatically connect to it, your laptop does that by continually broadcasting your SSID whenever it's not connected. So you're actually broadcasting your SSID to more people and places than if you set your router to broadcast it. Luckily, the SSID really has no security value.
  • My SSID is "DEA Surveillance Van".

    I know it's fooled at least one person.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:58AM (#40194133) Journal

    I set my phone up to broadcast "IRSAuditor28401938" and took a stroll around the wealthy area of town. Almost as fun as yelling "migras!" at a construction site.

  • 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 / p
  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:31AM (#40194323)
    They broadcast their idiocy with such gems as "WHITEPOWER" and "KILLNIGGERS". So technology is making it easier to identify the assholes in society. For a while, I powered up a spare AP connected to nothing, and broadcast "OURNEIGHBORSAREIDIOTS".
  • I am surprised to see that much ruckus about this "OpenSignalMaps" when Wigle http://wigle.net/ [wigle.net] already existed for a while, and has more than 61 million networks recorded around the world. I do know they don't have the fancy Web2.0 website, but they have been doing this before that even got popular...
    • Wigle allows you to view from the national level, impressive to see how the world is covered. Wigle is a simple and informative app. Also the google maps integration with wigle seems to be better than the opensignal page. I keep it running while driving, it's interesting to see just nodes you've discovered on the map.
  • "Disable Wireless" and "Police Department" are two of my favorites. "404 not found" is another fun SSID.

  • Unless you are *looking* for AP's, once you are setup you never will see that your neighbor is being a jerk. your machine just auto-connects to yours, and you are off and running.

  • Check it out in Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town [craphound.com].

    Sure, it's only fiction. But my home wireless, which I invite you to use whenever you're within range, is called ParasiteNet.

  • How come all screen shots are iOS or OSX? I don't think I've seen anything else...

  • Now I want to get a $15 Belkin and just use it as a yard sign. It wouldn't be connected to the internet at all.

  • For my home WiFi I have "Venture Labs", and for my mobile 4G hotspot I have "Central Dogma".

  • One of my favorite ones, is a house about 8 doors down, which has a WPA secured network and a WEP one called "FBISecureInvest" or some such. Which I find funny, because while Im 100% sure its not the FBI, I'm still not going to mess with it.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @06:16PM (#40196463) Journal
    I am a fan of using "NeverNeverLAN"
  • I don't think many people named their networks just Obama (or just Romney for that matter). It'd be interesting to know how many and where are named "Go Obama!" or "Reelect Obama" or something like that vs something like "Fuck Obama". Romney hasn't done enough nationally yet to get that many people to hate him or be enthusiastic about him.

  • I've got 2 SSID's called "Touch This And Die" and as honeypot "shenanigans unda intuentis" ;)

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis