Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Transportation Wireless Networking

LAX To London Flight Delayed Over "Al-Quida" Wi-Fi Name 339

linuxwrangler writes A flight from LAX to London was delayed after a passenger reported seeing "Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork" as an available hotspot name and reported it to a flight attendant. The flight was taken to a remote part of the airport and delayed for several hours but "after further investigation, it was determined that no crime was committed and no further action will be taken." That seems an awfully low threshold for disrupting air traffic, since wireless access points can be had for just a few dollars these days.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

LAX To London Flight Delayed Over "Al-Quida" Wi-Fi Name

Comments Filter:
  • This was no AP. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @08:56AM (#48249843)

    wireless access points can be had for just a few dollars these days

    What? I very much doubt this SSID was broadcast by a stand-alone AP. It was, likely, due to default behavior of old versions of Windows, setting up an ad-hoc network with an SSID of the last seen access point. Someone somewhere has jokingly set their SSID to "Al-Quida ...", and there was that one Windows-running laptop that someone had that picked up on that SSID and kept broadcasting it. Even if someone set such an SSID on purpose on their mobile device, it's still irrelevant and inactionable.

    Delaying a flight over this shows how much technical ineptitude is there.

    • Re:This was no AP. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:00AM (#48249885)

      Yes, blame Microsoft for this.

      Or, you know, every smartphone made in the last 5 years.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:00AM (#48249895) Homepage

      The image in TFA shows a phone seeing the network as an AP. Chances are someone with a phone set up AP mode (fairly standard on Android devices).

      The whole thing is dumb. The name clearly states that the network is "Al-Quida Free", as in there is no Al-Quida in it. Incredible that they managed to spell "Al-Quida" correctly but misspelled "nettwork".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by unixisc ( 2429386 )
        Ain't there 2 ways of parsing this? One is 'Al-Quida Free', but the whole name was 'Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork'. In other words, it could easily be parsed as 'Al-Quida: Free Terror Nettwork'. In other words, terror is available for free. The misspellings don't mean much, since English usually ain't the first language of Jihadis.
      • by MrNiceguy_KS ( 800771 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:34AM (#48250167)

        The image in TFA shows a phone seeing the network as an AP. Chances are someone with a phone set up AP mode (fairly standard on Android devices).

        That was my first thought. I know when I'm running my phone as a hot-spot, I have the SSID set to "FBI Surveillance Van 42".

        • by stealth_finger ( 1809752 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @12:00PM (#48251453)

          The image in TFA shows a phone seeing the network as an AP. Chances are someone with a phone set up AP mode (fairly standard on Android devices).

          That was my first thought. I know when I'm running my phone as a hot-spot, I have the SSID set to "FBI Surveillance Van 42".

          Mine is simply 'Virus.net'. Best I've ever seen though is 'It burns when IP'

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Incredible that they managed to spell "Al-Quida" correctly but misspelled "nettwork".

        It's also redundant. Al-Quida means "The Network", I've seen several cases were people jokingly set their network name to Al-Quida because of this.

      • They didn't spell Al-Qaeda correctly at all. That looks like the spelling of someone who's only ever heard the name and spelled it the way they were taught English.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          They didn't spell Al-Qaeda correctly at all. That looks like the spelling of someone who's only ever heard the name and spelled it the way they were taught English.

          Right. "u" and "i" should not be in Al-Qaeda.

        • by tobe ( 62758 )

          Seeing as it's a transcription from Arabic there's some leeway for spelling. How many ways have you seen Gadaffi spelt, for instance.

        • I'd phonetically spell it Al-Kyda, but hey.

      • Incredible that they managed to spell "Al-Quida" correctly but misspelled "nettwork".

        They didn't. Back at 9/11 they spelled it Al-Qaida, and then since a few years later it's been Al-Qaeda. Not aware that a 'u' was ever involved.

    • Re:This was no AP. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:05AM (#48249927) Homepage Journal

      What? I very much doubt this SSID was broadcast by a stand-alone AP

      Brace yourself: defending @timothy for a moment. *

      His point wasn't that you need a certain piece of gear, but that for a few dollars (or as others are pointing out "zero dollars", which a few dollars approaches asymptotic to zero) you can incite bureaucrats to attack the air traffic system.

      Which I guess is the major strategy of Al Qa'e'da - asymmetrical attacks - so timothy can expect Hydra to be by momentarily for relocation and reeducation.

      * someday Slashcode will catch up with the aughts and the at-tag will link this comment as rendered from the database

      • Re:This was no AP. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fastest fascist ( 1086001 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:28AM (#48250121)

        Which I guess is the major strategy of Al Qa'e'da - asymmetrical attacks

        http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WO... [cnn.com] Per Osama Bin Laden, their goal is to bankrupt the USA. They seem to have achieved a pretty good ROI if the returns are counted as dollars spend by the US fighting Al Qaeda. They don't even need to do anything these days, just having their name mentioned can cause costly countermeasures to kick in.

      • ... for a few dollars (or as others are pointing out "zero dollars", which a few dollars approaches asymptotic to zero) you can incite bureaucrats to attack the air traffic system.

        Cheap phones in AP mode with maliciously-chosen SSIDs, randomly distributed at airports = instant DoS attack against the US air travel system.

        Doesn't really seem like Al Quida's style, but I imagine people at Amtrack and Greyhound might be interested.

      • * someday Slashcode will catch up with the aughts and the at-tag will link this comment as rendered from the database

        You can keep your Twitterfication (twatification?), thanks. I don't come to Slashdot for hashtags and 140 characters.

    • Delaying a flight over this shows how much technical ineptitude is there.

      It also shows, however unfortunately, the futility of trying to protect everyone against everything all the time. Who needs to blow themselves up, or even risk the explicit criminal sanctions you'd face for making a bomb threat, when you can just co-opt some unwitting and otherwise innocent traveller's personal device somewhere outside a travel hub or other likely target for an attack?

      If our threshold for fear has become so low that some kid's not-so-funny practical joke can now result in several hours of d

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        Very true. What should have happened, in an ideal world, and I'm not sarcastic here, was that a flight attendant would react to this "revelation" by looking at the customer and telling them "Are you fucking stupid?", perhaps in a more politically correct way. And that should have been the end of it.

      • by pem ( 1013437 )
        Original:

        That seems an awfully low threshold for disrupting air traffic, since wireless access points can be had for just a few dollars these days.

        Parent:

        If our threshold for fear has become so low that some kid's not-so-funny practical joke can now result in several hours of delays to long distance transportation,

        Me:

        Don't scare the horses.

        Seriously. Even before 9/11, any joking about a bomb in an airport would be problematic. You can't expect everybody in a position of power to be intelligent, s

        • Re:This was no AP. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @10:57AM (#48250917)

          My father likes to tell the story of his and my mother's honeymoon. The whole thing was a disaster (my mother ended up with an injured neck during a hike). When their return flight was rerouted to another city entirely, my father had enough and loudly complained to a flight attendant about his wife's injured neck. The plane landed but didn't go to the hanger. Instead, the plane was surrounded and people boarded the plane, came to him, and asked if they were the ones who needed medical attention. As they left the plane, my father whispered to my mother "I guess they found the bomb."

          Turns out a passenger heard this and reported it. When my parents went to collect their checked baggage, they found it on one side in chains. After the "bomb threat" and luggage turning up that nobody claimed (my parents having gone right to the hospital), the police suspected their suitcase of containing a bomb. After examining it, they let him go with his luggage. Nowadays, he'd probably be arrested for making a terrorist threat or would have his luggage blown up as a "preventative measure."

    • ... It was, likely, due to default behavior of old versions of Windows, .... there was that one Windows-running laptop that someone had that picked up on that SSID and kept broadcasting it...

      No wonder they say future airliners will not have any windows....

  • by miknix ( 1047580 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @08:56AM (#48249845) Homepage

    since wireless access points can be had for just a few dollars these days.

    Every major phone nowadays allows setting up a softAP, you do not need a frigging wireless AP to send a few "Al-Quida" Wi-Fi beacons..

  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:02AM (#48249903)
    I read about this on CNN and just about had an asthma attack from laughing. You know this was a distinctly American joke because it was misspelled - it should've been spelled as 'Al Qaida Free Terrorist WiFi Network.' That's what made me even laugh harder. People are living life with their assholes puckered. I'm sorry to have to put it that way but it's true that Americans are living in a constant state of fear. If it isn't terrorism, it's Ebola, if it isn't Ebola, it's the weather. Good gravy people, the sooner you get that life constantly changes and is impermanent, the better you'll be able to deal with it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ooh, how about Al Qaeda is spreading ebola using wifi, but you can only get it by using wifi during a thunderstorm, because the system needs the extra lightning power to move the virus.

    • I know you were being funny, but take australia as an example. its often said that everything that moves around down there with more than 2 legs is ready to kill you. all kinds of dangerous venemous creatures in oz; and yet, they are just as afraid of their shadows as we yanks are. they are being terorized by their own people just like we are (ie, the 'authorities').

      we have little to fear about the big bad foreigner. we have much more to fear by our own lawmakers and those who carry guns under color of

    • just about had an asthma attack from laughing.

      Maybe that was the intent of the terrorists . . . !?!? They are now going at us using "Joke Warfare": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

      I think the NSA needs to hire more Joke Analysts to carefully monitor this danger on the Internet!

      • Jokes aside, that was the intent of the terrorists - to scare us and make us afraid of them.

        Unfortunately for them, we wouldn't have been afraid (for long) with just the one attack on 9-11. Fortunately for them (and unfortunately for us), the government and media has latched onto the whole "scare the people" routine and are playing it for all it's worth.

    • People are living life with their assholes puckered.

      Well, I'd certainly hope so.

  • Overrreaction? Yes.

    Really dumb SSID name choice? Yes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      I'm not sure how much it was an over reaction. Seemed reasonable to me. It's unfortunate it happened, but TPTB were screwed no matter what they did.

      If it was reported, and did nothing, then it gets out that authorities didn't investigate a possible threat and are inept.

      If it was reported, dismissed, and something bad happens, then it was something that was preventable.

      If they did what they did, it's labeled as an overreaction.

      It's not like passengers were ordered off the plane, stripped searched, and rece

      • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:36AM (#48250185)

        I'm not sure how much it was an over reaction. Seemed reasonable to me. It's unfortunate it happened, but TPTB were screwed no matter what they did.

        If it was reported, and did nothing, then it gets out that authorities didn't investigate a possible threat and are inept.

        If it was reported, dismissed, and something bad happens, then it was something that was preventable.

        If they did what they did, it's labeled as an overreaction.

        It's not like passengers were ordered off the plane, stripped searched, and received a free body cavity search. They were inconvenienced for a few hours before a 11 hour flight. It happens.

        Everything beyond a mild chuckle was an overreaction.

        If it was reported, and did nothing, then it gets out that authorities didn't investigate a possible threat and are inept.

        Unless they stuck to their guns and pointed out, like most of the posters here likely will, that it's incredibly stupid to ground a plane over a joke SSID.

        • [I]t's incredibly stupid to ground a plane over a joke SSID.

          It's incredibly sad is what it is. What if the SSID were "There is a bomb on this plane"?

          • If so, then shhhhh, don't tell anybody who cares to that for the investment of several throw-away Wi-Fi routers, and several cheap digital timer-enabled powerbars, they can utterly fuck up any airport they choose to, for potentially years to come, with a few hours work of plugging the aforementioned bits in out-of-the-way places.
        • Here's the reason for the "overreaction". Lawyers. Suppose, just for a second, that they ignored the SSID and the plane fell out of the sky. End of that Airlines (multi-billion dollar business). Risk / Reward analysis is you don't risk the entire company on something that might be a joke.

          The issue isn't the overreaction (it is), the issue is that there is an asshole who thought the whole thing was funny.

      • I know terrorists aren't the brightest bulbs in the chandelier but they know enough not to name their networks after a famous terrorist group. What exactly is the threat that caused the delay?

        A "few hours" X 400 passengers IS a big deal - and delayed flights mean missed connections, The aircraft my not be available for its next schedule flight etc.

      • A agree. How is this different from making "bomb" jokes at the airport. Everyone knows "bomb"-jokes are not taken lightly by serucity personnel. Same holds for using such stupid SSID. I *also* know this does no actual harm and, most likely, real terrorists would not use this name etc, but broadcasting such an SSID in an airport is just not a very smart thing to do because it can be expected to trigger security folks. Note that I am not defending them, just saying that their reaction is not completely unpred
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      True but I have used some SSIDs like FBI4395, NSA02395, and BugsBunny as SSIDs.
      Some kid with a cellphone hotspot set it up as a joke and forgot that it was still on the phone when he got on the plane.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:06AM (#48249933)

    It's a wonderful future we live in. No purchase necessary. Terror is Free!! It's all over the news! BE TERRIFIED!

    • It's a wonderful future we live in. No purchase necessary. Terror is Free!! It's all over the news! BE TERRIFIED!

      Yes, but is it open source? I refuse to use any closed source terror.

  • by portwojc ( 201398 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:29AM (#48250135) Homepage

    I've had the FBI parked outside my house for seven months now. I just can't figure out where "FBI surveillance van 42" is at.

  • We will be defeated not by force but by our own fears.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:47AM (#48250261) Homepage
    Regardless of all that freedom-isnt-free these-colours-dont-run support-the-troops rhetoric, 13 years after the original terrorist attack on America this is still happening. Terrorists have succeeded in doing what they sought to achieve: terrorizing. liquids are treason on airplanes, nail clippers are an assassins blade, and full body virtual nudity is encouraged prior to boarding. Now, a simple SSID is cause to lock down an entire flight. For all your achievements, oh how the mighty have fallen. We once sent real people to the moon and laughed at the vacuum of space. Lawn darts existed for a decade before their retirement. even a 9 year old can have access to a fully automatic machine gun. however the minute someone breathes an utterance of terrorism its secret prisons, wiretaps, indefinite detention, extrajudicial rendition targeted killings, and secret courts. and you know whats hillarious? Heart disease kills 600 million americans a year. thats 150 times the number of people who died in the world trade center but we still sell sandwiches called the baconator and a small or as we rebranded it 'regular' drink is still 22 ounces. smoking kills almost 400,000 americans a year, or roughly 32000 times the number of people who died in the pentagon on 9/11 but we still sell vape kits and marlboros and 5% of the states in our union still permit indoor smoking.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by meta-monkey ( 321000 )

      however the minute someone breathes an utterance of terrorism its secret prisons, wiretaps, indefinite detention, extrajudicial rendition targeted killings, and secret courts

      The response is so out of proportion to the threat, it makes you wonder if there's an ulterior motive for stripping people of liberties and increasing the power of the government and military, merely using islamic terrorism as an excuse?

      Nah, that's crazy talk.

      • Considering the over-reaction we're getting from a lot of people around Ebola - and that includes people who laugh about bureaucrats' overreaction to blinking lights in Chicago and WiFi network names - I'm going to guess that most people are just scared shitless of stuff they don't understand and willing to sacrifice everything to feel safe again.

        That doesn't make it any better, but it gives us a better shot at fixing the issue (educate people) than the conspiracy theory approach.

    • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @10:02AM (#48250393) Journal

      Heart disease kills 600 million americans a year.

      Out of a population of 300 million, that is pretty horrendous.

    • by joss ( 1346 )

      Fair point generally, but..
      > Heart disease kills 600 million americans a year
      600 thousand, not million

      > we still sell vape kits
      vape kits reduce smoking deaths

    • by Kaptain Kruton ( 854928 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @10:59AM (#48250935)
      400,000 / 32000 = 12.5 So twelve died and one is mostly dead?
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I went through a period of my career where I was taking two, sometimes three business trips per month. I was supposed to fly on one of the planes that flew in the WTC on 9/11, but my trip was cancelled a couple days earlier so I could attend a meeting up in Nashua with Oracle. I've never been hijacked or crashed, but I've been in more than one near-miss, which takes a lot of flying. I've also been stranded by missed connections multiple times. Take it from me, Chicago Midway is the worst airport hub to s

  • um (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @09:58AM (#48250355)

    LAX To London Flight Delayed Over "Al-Quida" Wi-Fi Name...

    You mean...

    LAX To London Flight Delayed due to Authorities being morons...

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2014 @10:44AM (#48250807) Journal
    When the body mistakenly believes a substance to be a pathogen, it kicks its immune system in high gear and starts attacking it like Don Quixote charging the windmills. That over reaction harms the body more than what the substance could have caused.

    America's overreaction to ISIS, al-queda etc fall into this category. We are doing a lot more damage by such over reactions than what these entities could do to us. We need a strong dose of anti-histamines. (Of course there will be people protesting the discrimination against the histamines)

    • We see this response in other areas - such as the Ebola "crisis" also. So far around 9 people in the US have come down with Ebola. In all cases, the people were working closely with people with Ebola. So far, none of the Ebola victims' friends, family, or random people on the street that they bumped into have gotten Ebola. Any yet, many people are acting like it is the zombie apocalypse. Did that man just sneeze? Does he have the Ebola? I feel a little warm, I must be coming down with Ebola!

      Politicia

    • We need a strong dose of anti-histamines

      Hopefully you Americans won't have these "anti-histamines" for quite a while, else your leaders have to send a few more planes in some of your buildings.

MAC user's dynamic debugging list evaluator? Never heard of that.

Working...