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How To Hide Your Wifi Signal In Plain Sight

September 12, 2013

TJ, the Salt Palace wants to charge us $200 to set up a wifi hotspot. I don’t think it’s reasonable. It’s not like we’re reselling it to other presenters. But, I’d like you to set up a wifi connection for our team.

Okay. What happens if the Salt Palace finds it?

There’s probably a big fine. But, if you can’t manage to hide a wifi signal you’re not as good as we thought you were.

We were at the Outdoor Retailer Show. RESMARK had been working on our reservation software for three years and we were finally ready to roll it out. I had a marketing plan that was designed to “Steal The Show.” But, I needed a wifi signal, and I couldn’t see paying the Salt Palace for Internet twice. I was already paying for a hardwire connection to the Internet. I didn’t want to pay a wifi fee as well.

We were the most high tech booth at the show. Most of the show was vendors selling rafts, and trips and kayaks, and camping gear. It was a former boy scout’s dream show.

Our big give away were remote control Hummers.
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We did a drawing to give one away each day. For attendees, we handed out custom mice. The mice were a really big expense, but it was a perfect giveaway. Years later I remember walking into a rafting company in Colorado and seeing them using a RESMARK mouse at their front counter.

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As we started our countdown to the start of the show, TJ pulled me aside.

Did you get the wifi setup?

Yeah.

And you don’t think the Salt Palace guys are going to find it?

I don’t even think they’ll notice.

Really? What did you name it?

SALT_PALACE_15

I laughed every time I connected to it.

Sometimes the best way to hide is to act like you belong. TJ did it with a wifi signal, but all of us find ourselves in situations where we aren’t quite sure we belong. It’s amazing how few people will question you if you look like you know what you’re doing and just be confident.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, blogger and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
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or contact him at (rbliss at msn dot com)

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4 Comments
  1. I worked in a shop once where the sysadmins were paranoid about getting hacked through the wifi, so whenever we were in meetings with our laptops we couldn’t get to anything on the network. We asked, we wheedled, we complained, we cajoled… and finally we gave up. We nicknamed the IT head “Mordac, Preventer of Information Services”. I stayed late one night and screwed a wifi router to the underside of my desk, and bridged it through my PC. We were in a building with a medical billing company–let’s call them American Medical Devices–and I saw they had two encrypted wifi hotspots: AMD1 and AMD2. I wasn’t sure if they’d ever try to add an AMD3 or not, so I named mine AMD0, and set it to the highest encryption settings.

    There were 8 programmers in our bullpen. Three of us had wifi routers hidden under our desks. By preventing us from doing our jobs, the sysadmins had actually created a black market in backdoors to their own network. But that’s a story for another day.

    A few weeks later, I was working late again, when the junior sysadmin came in. He was wicked smart and genuinely wanted to help developers get their jobs done, unlike his boss, and he would go to great lengths to fix things so that the network could be as secure as he wanted it but still allow us to get to the things we needed.

    He looked around, and seeing it was just two of us, quietly asked, “Are you the one running the AMD0 wireless router?”

    I blinked, and then guiltily said yes. I explained why I needed to get to my desktop computer from the conference room, and then showed him my efforts to keep my router secured. He nodded, and said he didn’t have a problem with it and wouldn’t say anything about it, but he warned me that “Mordac” would absolutely explode if he found out.

    As he turned to leave I asked, “How did you know?”

    He grinned and said, “Well, I have a monitor dedicated to watching network packets all the time, which is how I tracked AMD0 back to you, because it’s sending traffic and we’re the only ones working right now.”

    “Ah, and you knew AMD0 was fake because it was sending traffic on our network instead of American’s?”

    He laughed. “Oh, no. I knew it was fake the instant I saw it. When you guys first moved in here, I got to talking with (Mordac), and he offered me a job up here. I used to be American’s sysadmin.

    • Great story.

      The difference between incompetence and gross incompetence. With one you’re just bad at your job. With the other, you are so bad, you achieve the opposite of your objectives.

  2. I absolutely love your writing – keep it coming!

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