Dumb Wi-Fi Network Name Delays Flight For Four Hours

Dumb Wi-Fi Network Name Delays Flight for Four Hours

Some asshat at Los Angeles International Airport ruined a plane-full of people's days on Sunday night. He named a Wi-Fi network "Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork", and a passenger about to take off on a 9am flight to London noticed it. The plane didn't take off until 1pm as a result.

The plane was taxiing to the runway, when the one passenger reported the suspicious Wi-Fi network, and the airline told passengers that they were being delayed due to some sort of maintenance issue. After they landed, they learned from the local news that said maintenance issue was actually some asshat trying to be funny. And despite the fact that this was clearly a (bad) joke, police are now involved and presumably tracking him down, though likely not for his bad sense of humour.

Come on man, airports are already horrible without your stupid joke. [ABC7]

Picture: Getty / ABC7



    If you see a wifi network and decide to notify the authorities, you're part of the problem.

    Personally I think you're being unduly harsh on this guy. He was having a joke, obvious to all and someone else reported it (completely needlessly).

      If you see a wifi network and decide to notify the authorities, you're part of the problem.

      No, what that clown did is beyond the pale. You do not make jokes about terrorism in most places and airports are one of them.

      If I see something like this I am not being part of the problem by notifying the authorities. It's called doing one duty and is not a problem.

      Personally I think you're being unduly harsh on this guy.

      You only see it as a problem because you're the same kind of person who thinks that making threats online is different to making a threat in person and thus should not be treated the same.

      That line of reasoning you have shown before and have shown again now (in this very site and also on Kotaku) has been proven wrong before, Tiberath, and is still wrong now.

      He was having a joke, obvious to all

      The name of the WiFi hotspot is not a joke and if you think otherwise you're just as much a problem as the clown that named it.

      Last edited 28/10/14 8:02 am

        Whilst I agree that the guy who made this network is an asshat per the article's description, I also think air ports are way too touchy after 9/11. Yes, airport security have a very important job to do, but delaying a flight for 4 hours over a network name is economically and socially flawed.

          But flying planes full of innocent people into buildings full of people isn't flawed?

          there are some things you don't joke about.

          - People with mental disabilities (politicians are OK to joke about though)

          - Toxic waste (politicians still excepted)

          - Terrorists out to kill everyone

            Oh I completely agree, you do not joke about this stuff, it is in very poor taste and down right idiotic.

            Everything is open to comedy. Everything. If it's not then you've given up so much freedom for the sake of political correctness and a false sense of security, and what a sad world that would be to live in.

            Also in making your complaint here, you've made a joke implying that politicians have mental disabilities, which is the same as making a joke about people with real mental disabilities, so you're a hypocrit.

          Personally, I'd prefer my airports a little touchy over their security rather than a little lax. We've seen what happens when they get too relaxed. What happens when they get over-touchy? Sure a flight gets delayed, but it's better to check on the situation than to let it go and hope you didn't let something bad through just that one time.

            There's touchy and there's ridiculous. "No clear liquids on flights" was considered by some of my ilk to be too much. It made sense to me. I can substitute a flammable clear liquid for water and it takes too long to sniff every single persons water bottle to justify checks rather than bans. Any single person carrying a bottle of water in Melbourne right now is potentially carrying a flammable liquid and a lighter. I honestly don't know if this is still a thing (or even if it's not just one of those rural area rumors about them city folk). Anyway, I mention this because it's happened before (as well as people carrying clear acid and other nasty chemicals).

            But you also have to look at the likelihood of the incident itself. Something like this is just as easy to process in real-time as it is in postmortem. If a guy has a WiFi named "Terrorist Operative". Either their security is getting very lazy or someone is having fun in their own, harmless way (it could also be seen as a political statement). My WiFi networks are named "APersonalJoke", "YeahPersonalJoke", "IMissMyOldCar" and "The Source". I don't think I or my phone is the centre of The Matrix.

            Then you've got a plethora of reasons as to why this guy would even want to walk into an airport like this. Aforementioned political statement is one, less likely but still a very possible reason. IrrationalFear has it bang on the money for my bet. It's most likely a guy messing around at home, probably with friends. Sets his network name, all his devices automatically connect. Forgets about it. Gets on the plane. Is pulled up because of something completely harmless. Lots of people have their day ruined. I don't even see the name of my hotspot when I enable it. Every single device of mine (tablet, laptop, netbook) will automatically connect to the network they know over the ones they don't. In absence of my home network, my phone takes over. The likelihood of a terrorist? Extremely low. We know this because of the number of planes taken by terrorists over the last twenty years verses the amount of successful planned flights.

            As for whether the joke is in poor taste. Like all forms of comedy, that's completely up to person. There's ~eight billion people on this planet. Any number of them have seen and experienced many different things. Some we wish really hard for, some we couldn't imagine in our darkest nightmares. It stands to reason, that not all comedy will rub everyone's funny bone. I don't personally find it funny, but I'm not going to condemn the guy for his humour. Especially if it was accidental.

            Now, if the WiFi was something like "Bomb Flight [x] to [y]". Then you're hitting the responsible citizen area by bringing it to someones attention. That's moved away from joke to "not sure if actual threat", especially if there actually is a flight x to y there. Had this been the case, I'd be on your side condeming the guy for a stupid prank. This is a lot more specific than a generic joke name. It implies something. "[AQ] Terror Nettwork" doesn't imply he's providing WiFi access to AQ.

            Finally. As for what Terrorism actually is. Every time something like this happens, the terrorists win. Because they've terrorized people. Every time you say "you can't joke about terrorism", the terrorists win. Because that's what terrorism is. Fear. They want you afraid of strangers (water bottles), your government (terror legislation), your protective services (terror raids), your everything (wifi networks). They want you afraid. Because scared people are capable of doing some pretty stupid things. Like joining the very people they think they're afraid of. Because, well, living in absolute fear of everything isn't living at all, if you fight with them, you'll die, but you might also [rest of their nonsense rhetoric]. Yes. Terrorism is a really serious thing. It's important, it's not going away and it is a risk to everyone and we should definitely be working to get rid of it (via war, discussions, whatever, it's a different argument). This isn't in dispute. But if you can't make light of it in any way, it will win. Making terrorism a joke doesn't make terrorism itself irrelevant, dishonour the dead or negate the threat. But it does help remove the irrational fear associated with Terrorism. The fear that recruits their members, enforces their beliefs and drives divisions between people.

              Wall of text. Not reading it. You need to compress your point.

            I agree they should be cautious and yes, the latter is far better than the former. Surely there is a middle ground though.

              Oh there absolutely is a middle ground. Wifi jammers on every plane. They exist. I'm sure people would piss and whine about their liberties being infringed though for some reason.

                I was more so referring to a middle ground between over-reaction and under-reaction, just a reaction.

                  I was pretty much kidding about the jammers lmao. Was waiting for someone to jump all over me for it *shrug* . lol. But I agree there's got to be some sort of logical middle ground.

        Well done, you're the most politically correct. You get a visit to Big Brother's dining room!

        What possible danger could this wifi name pose? You seriously think any terrorist network would name themselves so? And if so, what does it matter? A network isn't explosive.

          I have actually read Eric Blaire's book. And we are still far from such a situation.

          Last edited 28/10/14 9:14 am

          "A network isn't explosive"

          No, but what about potentially the device on the other end of the network?

            Ban SMS!

              You're just on a hyperbole roll today aren't you.

                A limited location wifi device is less hyperbole than globally spanning SMS. If I read you correctly.

                Mind. Blown.

        Oh hey guy who's never wrong until 40 people bash it into him he is.

        You're wrong. It's an SSID. Terrorists don't operate in public like that, especially in areas full of security. It defeats their, you know, plans. It's just as moronic as kicking someone off a plane for scribbling cartoons about terrorism.

          Not wrong here. What this clown did is not a joke and I welcome teaching on moron a lesson so other morons don't copy cat and waste further resources.

          And it doesn't matter the number of people. If 40 people tell me I'm wrong but none provide an actual counter claim (as is par for the course in your own behaviour) then I still stand correct.

          You do not joke about terrorism in an airport. Period. If you think otherwise then don't ever go complaining when the consequences of your own actions finally catch up with you.

            "Right until proven wrong". What a wonderful world you live in. Most of the time, we make theories and try to prove them right. Good on you for stepping up your game, champ.

            Is that kid still in prison for his facebook comment? I can't remember. How long has it been now, if he still is? Tell me, with al these new anti terror legislations, are we approaching the police state you seem so desperate to want to live in? How is living in constant fear of terrorism going for you?

              I have told you before, Tiberath. Making reaching comments that bear no reflection on me does not work.

              I am not pushing for a police state. That is you trying to put words into my mouth. It didn't work when you tried to put into my head I should never be PM and it is not working now.

              As for Justin Carter, I have not heard anything more from him either. But you were on the same thread when I recanted my own comments. If you can't drop the selective memory you have then kindly take your unacceptable trolling to another forum.

              And I am not living in constant fear of terrorism. That is another claim you invented and have failed to insert into my own mouth.

              If you ever want to counter my claim instead of making cheap personal jibs and childish remarks then look at the claim itself.

              And this is where I leave the matter. You have followed your typical pattern to its conclusion. You have stopped repeating your unfounded claim and have gone for personal jibs. There nothing more that can be discussed because you are not willing to look at the claim itself.

                I love how you have put absolutely no argument into this other than "you, Tiberath, are wrong. You just don't do this, it isn't the done thing, it's just not right".

                For someone who isn't phased, you certainly spend a lot of time telling a lot of people you don't care, almost every time. In your position, I'd write a browser extension to read the name of who you're reply to, and fit it into a pre-generated sentence: usrName + " reaching comments don't affect me. Don't put words in my mouth." You could save yourself some time.

                It's not selective memory. When I see your name, I skip over it. I don't bother reading what you have to say, because if we engage, see first sentence. Occasionally I get drawn in by another user making a joke at your expense. I use that example because it's the most prominent of someone doing something stupid but harmless and suffering undue legal punishment because of it. Probably at cost to others (taxpayers money, time, etc). The fact you recanted is the reason I use it. You were finally wrong.

                As for my reasoning proven wrong here and Kotaku. The overall votes for my comments sit at "few up. None. Few down. Mass approval. Mass disapproval." None more or less to state there's a definitive "you're proven wrong here and elsewhere often". If anything, I'd wager more people agree with me about more things than they disagree with me about others. So, I'm controversal in areas some people take personally. Funny that.

                Why am I still engaging you, this is asinine.

                  Almost as asinine, and superfluous as your position

                  Please sit down, your ignorance is overwhelming

            This is an over reaction to a ridiculous non threat. For all we know the person was having a laugh at home and completely forgot about the wifi name when he boarded the plane.

            There is nothing about this that should have been taken as a serious threat. No actual terrorist is going to have a wifi SSID stating they are a terrorist.

            It is ridiculous and is part of perpetuating a culture of irrational fear, and people like you who spout on about the seriousness of this ARE part of the problem.

          Terrorists don't operate in public like that, especially in areas full of security. It defeats their, you know, plans.

          Counter-terrorist expert or Counterstrike expert? Watching some stuff on tv or reading some stuff on the net does not qualify you to make such broad sweeping statements.

          Look into the history of terrorism and you'll find many operations take place in areas packed full of security.

          Last edited 28/10/14 10:49 am

            The reply where I cover this is awaiting moderation and in reply to your comment above. Either way, I don't play Counterstrike or watch television save for ABC News 24. How much television do you watch?

              Well that doesn't really matter, because I'm not the one making absolute statements that 'thats not how terrorists work'.

        Yes we've got to be really careful of those wifi networks. They can hack the plane and make it crash! Best to delay the flight to make it safe. They probably should have called SWAT in. This guy got off pretty light.

          I agree with darren. Terrorists are everywhere on wifi announcing their presence and they must be stopped. Let's make the world a safer place. My next door neighbour had the SSID "Dr Evil" so I had the Secret Police arrest him, and I heard from the other neighbour that they also destroyed his Austin Powers DVD collection and pissed in his swimming pool. That should teach him a lesson.

        I think you're a little paranoid kitty cat. An SSID name can be whatever one names it, and if anyone overeacts over some stupid shit like that, then they have a problem. Furthermore, why would an ACTUAL terrorist seeking to harm people broadcast their terror connections in an SSID? Just laugh an move on, no need to report anything. Just to get ONTO an airplane you must bend over and surrender to the TSA as it is.

        Terrorism is successful when said terrorist organisations are able to instill terror into a country long after individual acts are over. Therefore - they are currently winning. And it is largely thanks to people like you.
        Be alert, not alarmed.

        If we're confusing this with actual terrorist threats then our security is pathetic. Why should it warrant the flight being delayed? Pull the guy off the flight if you really want, but its hardly an actual threat.

    So some people think that terrorist groups would actually board an aircraft with a wifi hotspot named after their organisation? C'mon, get real.

    I thought IS was the bad guy now, not Al-Queda?

    Who am I supposed to be terrified of?

      Everyone, of course. Fear everyone and everything. It's what the overlords want.

      Neither. They probably don't exist in any meaningful manner, and even if they do they're absolutely no threat to you personally.

      Try fearing the Government instead.

    Ugh, do you want terrorism? Because telling the terrorists they can have Wi-Fi is how you get terrorism.

    If you can't joke about terrorism then the terrorists have already won.

    Due diligence. Ridiculous as it is they are not allowed to ignore it. You know airports take this stuff seriously so regardless of the rational the result is predictable.

      Damn straight. If I went to my local airport and shouted the phrase "I have a bomb!" the authorities would take me down and put me straight if they found it a hoax so why should it be no different to some playing a unfunny prank with the WiFi name?

      Last edited 28/10/14 9:40 am

        Exactly. You can't be lax in your standards, the moment you are people find a way to exploit them.

        That is a flawed comparison, your example is an actual threat, the article is about an SSID that happens to use prohibited words. If the SSID said "I have a bomb" then fair call.

        There is a long established joke of people setting stupid SSID's, as you can see from this previous Giz post http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/02/whats-the-best-wi-fi-network-name-youve-ever-seen/ .

        Also if you read through the comments, many people seem to have a laugh at other similar names like: "KGB Field Office", "AFP field unit", "FBI_SURVEILLANCE_VAN_823".

          That is a flawed comparison, your example is an actual threat, the article is about an SSID that happens to use prohibited words. If the SSID said "I have a bomb" then fair call.

          How is the comparison flawed? The name of a terrorist organisation appeared and jokes like that are not welcome at an airport. If it was in a public area then the worst that should happen is the public (not the authorities) tell the clown off.

          But to do so at an airport. No, the comparison fits. Making such a remark digitally is no different than me doing the same at the top of my lungs.

          Put this into context. If someone had 'Al Quieda' in their wifi name in a normal home, noone would give a toss. Hardy har har it's a joke. Yet you go to an airport where it's WELL KNOWN there is an absolute zero tolerance for any references to terrorism, bombs, terrorists etc etc. When you stupidly do something like this for shits and giggles in an airport, what on earth do you expect to happen? It doesn't matter what you know on a technical level? What if, by some odd chance, they've actually *done* that to throw you off. Hiding in plain sight is an option, has been done by many people including the IRA for years to extreme success. You make something so bleedingly obvious and funny that it can't be real right? Well, what if it does turn out to be real and then the jokes on you... Call it paranoia, but it's a common tactic, it has been used in the real world and garnered very real results. Now while you can say 'they can't do anything with an SSID', I beg to differ, you don't have any clue what people can or can't do. Because you don't know if that wifi signal isn't connected to a bomb, isn't connected directly to someone else tethering to it retrieving information from them etc. That's why you have to be diligent in places of mass public transit.

          Last edited 28/10/14 10:16 am

            I agree.. its very similar in my books as flashing a police helicopter with a laser light.. the chances of you damaging their site so bad that it downs a plane is 1:1000000 at best.. but on the chance that you do take down a plane or that this practice is allowed to continue to increase those odds.. then it must be acted on first time and every time..

            There is a time for a joke and a time for being serious..

              It's not just that.

              First, while they are one of the safest means of transportation, when things go wrong with planes the results can be devastating (crashes, etc).

              And second, ignoring these acts of stupidity will only create a "Boy who cried wolf" situation. And we all know how that child's book ends.

      And knowing the predicted response makes the person who initiated it an ass-hat.

      Of course, there's always the possibility that this is some immature ass-hat who set the SSID a long time ago (the Al-Queada reference lends credence to this -- as does the incorrect spelling of Al-Quaeda), and simply forgot to change it back. I bet it was funny amongst his or her friends...

    This is... I dont even... argh...

    TIL apparently every person on Kotaku knows more about airport security than those who have performed intensive studies, looked into statistics regarding airport security, visited other airports and regarded their levels of security et al.

      Didn't you know? I have a keyboard and Google, therefore I am master of all knowledge!!

    I'm more interested in the spelling of the word "Nettwork"

    I laughed. If I had seen this in the airplane, I'd also laugh about it. In fact, I'd probably be the guy to name my SSID "I love Al quaiada" just for shits and giggles. Anyone who over reacts to such a "joke" is simply too much of a paranoid freak. An SSID is harmless. To hell with anyone who disagrees.

      The SSID is harmless.. its meaning may not be..
      You know how its always "there were signs that something like this would happen" right after something did..

      This is one of those.. you let 1 thing pass and soon you have a million people doing it.. an airport is a place that this just cant happen.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now