back to article Wi-Fi network named 'mobile detonation device' grounds plane

Australian airline QANTAS delayed a flight for two hours on Saturday after a passenger reported seeing a Wi-Fi network named “Mobile detonation device”. The passenger reported the network's name to crew, who in turn reported it to the captain of the 737, which was due to fly from Melbourne to Perth. The captain demanded that …

  1. raving angry loony

    Lots of lateness

    Because of course someone meaning harm would call the network "mobile detonation device" and not "Happy heaven finder". If that's all it takes to ground a plane, there's going to be a lot of late planes in the next few years. Hell, you could beam it in from outside the airport.

    1. BurnT'offering

      Re: Lots of lateness

      The genius behind this prank succeeded in delaying his own flight for 2 hours. Well done!

      1. Yag
        Mushroom

        Re: Lots of lateness

        Maybe it's was not a prank, but the usual SSID of the device that was ironically granted to a phone with an history of exploding batteries.

        Maybe the owner did not revealed himself for fear of being deported to Guantanamo Bay.

        Don't blame malice when it's just genuine dumbness.

        (As a side note, my own WiFi hotspot SSID is "NSA PRISM Station #42" for a decade now)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lots of lateness

          "NSA PRISM Station #42"

          A favourite of mine for my mobile hotspot is "MI5 Surveillance Van 6" - hopefully it keeps the local terrorists worried...

          1. Richard Boyce

            Re: Lots of lateness

            "hopefully it keeps the local terrorists worried..."

            I would rely on something better than hope if I were you. Never pick a fight with violent lunatics.

      2. Dr Spork
        Holmes

        Re: Lots of lateness

        What makes you so certain "the genius behind this prank" was the person in possession the device on the plane?

        1. BurnT'offering

          Re: Lots of lateness

          The same thing that makes me sure it was a 'he' - several decades of familiarity with the behaviour of dickheads

          1. Aodhhan

            Re: Lots of lateness

            He's not a dickhead if he was a passenger on the plane, he'd be a moron.

            A dickhead knows how to take an old cell phone (most likely a credit card/disposable phone), set it up and leave it behind on the plane when he departs.

            You're also a moron if you're sure the person who did this was on the plane at the time it was noticed.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Lots of lateness

              One of my mobile hotspots in the car was once called "Dogging With Allah"

              Anon for obvious reasons.

      3. Captain DaFt

        Re: Lots of lateness

        "The genius behind this prank succeeded in delaying his own flight for 2 hours. Well done!"

        Who said it was his own flight? According to the news report, the signal could have been coming from the Airport lobby, or anywhere nearby, for all they know.

        (TSA agent or baggage handler with a smartphone, anyone?)

    2. Archie Woodnuts

      Re: Lots of lateness

      Because of course someone meaning harm would call the network "mobile detonation device" and not "Happy heaven finder".

      Are you perhaps unfamiliar with the term hiding in plane sight?

      NB. Yes, that's deliberate.

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Lots of lateness

        This is why MITM attacks via the SSID "Free In-flight WiFi", "Starbucks Free WiFi", etc work so reliably

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Lots of lateness

          People have said on forums that they give their phone's WiFi hotspots names like 'FBI Surveillance Van' to deter leeches, and 'Ebola Response Unit 2' just for the giggles, but just for when they were in earth-bound cafes - none of them advocated silliness on a plane.

          1. BurnT'offering

            Re: Lots of lateness

            Perhaps broadcasting SSIDs to deter leechers is not quite as clever as they think it is

    3. Mark Morgan

      Re: Lots of lateness

      I saw a hotspot listed as "PoliceSurveillanceVan2".

      And the amount of times I've seen open ones called NETGEAR is depressing.

  2. David Roberts Silver badge

    Internet of Things

    Comes of age.

  3. Kobus Botes
    Black Helicopters

    NSA Surveillance Unit #whatever...

    is what I want (am going) to name my WiFi at home (haven't decided on the actual number yet). Have thought about doing it some time ago, but never could be bothered, but I need to sort out my network in any case.

    Tinfoil hat needed though, to guard against ------->

    (I wonder - do their tentacles reach into darkest Africa as well?).

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: NSA Surveillance Unit #whatever...

      Of all the smartass SSIDs I've seen, "FBI mobile surveillance van" is the best. Especially if you had some criminal and/or paranoid (and stupid/gullible as well, of course) neighbors. Substitute FBI for Scotland Yard or your country's coppers.

      1. Jethro_Tombs

        Re: NSA Surveillance Unit #whatever...

        I've used 'TV_Detector_Van' for a while now apart from when the neighbours let their leylandii grow to high. WiFi routers are an ideal local advertising tool.

        1. Blitheringeejit

          Re: WiFi routers are an ideal local advertising tool.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19760006

          Mine's called "Who said you could use my network?"

          1. LHGFLICOD

            Re: WiFi routers are an ideal local advertising tool.

            I think my favorite has to be

            "Its not chicken you know"

            A WiFi hotspot near a certain fast food franchise.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: WiFi routers are an ideal local advertising tool.

              There used to be one round my way near an Indian restaurant called "I SPUNKED IN YOUR CURRY", I kid you not!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                AskTheCabinCrewForYour20%Refund

                :-)

                (post must contain letters)

      2. Jethro_Tombs

        Re: NSA Surveillance Unit #whatever...

        I've used 'TV_Detector_Van' for a while now apart from when the neighbours let their leylandii hedge grow to high and refused to listen. WiFi routers are an effective local messaging/shaming tool.

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    I named my WiFi at home "Pretty Fly For A WiFi".

    I know, I run the risk of attracting the attention of people who have a fetish for insects or Jeff Goldbloom, but it's a risk I'm willing to take.

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Go

      I found "Pretty Fly For A WiFi" when scanning at a friends house.

      It was swiftly eclipsed by "It Hurts When IP".

      1. Soruk

        Re: I found "Pretty Fly For A WiFi" when scanning at a friends house.

        One I saw: TellMyWiFiLoveHer

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I named my WiFi at home "Pretty Fly For A WiFi".

      Yeah, the "Rose and Crown" of witty WiFi Names. I pick up two of them near me. Hopefully from opposite directions or there will be some confused users.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WiFi doesn't kill people...

    Rappers do

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doing the terrorists job for them

    Who needs terrorists when you have scaremongerers!

    Terrorists try to induce political change by inducing terror.

    Scaremongerers try to induce political change by inducing terror of terror.

    The pilot's not afraid of a WIFI ssid, he's afraid of what scaremongerers might say about his failure to act on it.

    It's a sort of symbiotic relationship between the Theresa May's and ISIS's of this world, they need each other or they have no purpose.

    If people aren't afraid of ISIS then they can't cripple a country. For that they need ministers to impose oppression on their people. Likewise ministers need the terrorists to provide the excuse they need for their power grab.

    This pilot should be admonished for holding up a plane for a wifi SSID, but instead the scaremongerers will cover his back by trying to induce fear... the "what if [terror]" cover.

    1. DryBones

      Re: Doing the terrorists job for them

      "Mobile Detonation Device", ha! Honestly, I'd say the terrorists have won, but they haven't made people change their behavior: They're still all feckless.

  7. Spacedman
    WTF?

    The Batman approach to labelling

    Its like having one of those round bombs with a fizzing fuse and the word "BOMB" written on it.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: The Batman approach to labelling

      Special delivery - it's a beumb:

      https://www.google.ae/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi2lbnGy73MAhWH6RQKHVaSD9EQtwIIGzAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGLDvtpSC_98&usg=AFQjCNGDjMHIxkE5FJ7Xd-jIaFUOiYGMpg

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Batman approach to labelling

        Special delivery - it's a beumb: {URL}

        That is a Google URL so full of trackers that I'm not going to visit it, especially given the topic of this discussion.

      2. Dr Spork
        Black Helicopters

        Re: The Batman approach to labelling

        The UAE google page, no less! :-|

        Trivial enough to decode by eye 'though:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLDvtpSC_98

        (not visited it but moved by the heroic Sellersian spelling effort)

    2. Major_Variola

      Re: The Batman approach to labelling

      That's a cypherpunk t-shirt. Cf Gilmore and his 'terrorist' shirt-badge.

  8. herman Silver badge

    What a maroon. This guy delayed his own flight. Obviously he should have used the SSID Free Air Hostess Pr0n instead. Then everyone would have thought that it is the Pilot's laptop PC and nothing would have happened.

  9. adam payne Silver badge

    I don't know if this was a prank or not but it was a stupid thing to do especially on a plane.

    I was expecting blokes in suits to be questioning everybody.

    1. Ian 55

      Noooo

      'Stupid' would be going 'Yes, it's mine... is there a problem?' unless you wanted a free colonic inspection.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lolwut

    Was it Inspector Clueseau that found this SSID?

    "Excuse me madame but were you expecting a bem?"

    "A BEM?"

    I dearly hope so!

    Also what was the guy that found this SSID doing with his phone turned on prior to take off.

    Nawty, nawty.

    1. ChrisC

      Re: Lolwut

      "Also what was the guy that found this SSID doing with his phone turned on prior to take off.

      Nawty, nawty."

      Well, given that this flight was being operated by a Qantas plane featuring their new wi-fi based inflight entertainment service, and given that this service is advertised as being available "from the moment you board until you arrive at your destination" (see http://www.qantas.com./travel/airlines/wireless-inflight-entertainment/au/en#general), and given that the rules on switching stuff off completely have been significantly relaxed by many airlines in general, there really isn't anything naught naughty about it.

  11. IglooDude

    Time to go meta with an air-traveler portable hotspot named "Only an idiot would think this is a bomb".

  12. Valerion

    The tale of 3 twats

    1 - The person who did it (although there's a chance they were not on the plane, or where on the plane and one of their mates did it for a laugh without them knowing).

    2 - The captain delaying the flight for it.

    3 - The people who demanded to get off thus causing further delays.

    1. Seajay#

      Re: The tale of 3 twats

      Well sort of.

      1 - Yep, standard idiot. You get those, it's just life.

      2 - Well yeah but if the steward has reported it to you, it's really difficult to just ignore it. Saying "please just show me the device so that we can see it's harmless and move on" seems a reasonable response (though of course it didn't work).

      3- Yep, twats. Do you think that they wanted a refund or compensation or something? I just can't imagine asking to get off the plane over something like this. It's obviously not an issue and it's going to ruin several days of your life as you try to re-do your travel plans.

    2. Stuart Castle

      Re: The tale of 3 twats

      Yes, the person who did it is a twat, but I don't agree that the others are..

      There could have been a bomb, the terrorists could have been attempting a double bluff , assuming people would ignore the "joke" SSID. Unlikely, but not a possibility the captain can afford to ignore. If he had ignored it and something had happened, at best he would lose his job. At worst, people could have died.

      The same with the people getting off. If people think they are in danger, isn't it best to allow them off? Locking them in might induce panic. Also, if people have a reason to think they are in danger, isn't that a little more important to respect than the possibility of delaying others?

      1. Seajay#

        Re: The tale of 3 twats

        I don't think that anyone is suggesting that the people who got off should have been allowed to do so. Of course you shouldn't force them to fly it they don't feel safe. Just that they're idiots for wanting to get off.

  13. drone2903 in Kanuckistant

    Paranoïa at its best

    The terrists have won

  14. DropBear Silver badge
    Trollface

    Next time: "Quadcopter Remote"...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The kind of idiot who does that on a plane...

    ... is probably the kind of idiot who doesn't spoof their MAC address.

    Determine the MAC address, look up the OUI, use WiFi tool on another mobile to look at signal strength.. could figure out which part of the plane it's in, and which type of device it's likely on.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: The kind of idiot who does that on a plane...

      So the OUI most likely tells you it's Samsung (21.4%), or Apple (13.9%) or Huawei (8.9%). Others less likely.

      WiFi tool may help you isolate the direction to look in, but as others have pointed out, it may well have not been on the plane - just because some user spotted it, doesn't mean it had a decent signal, so may well have been coming from the terminal/departure gate area.

      Even if it was in the plane, a nice metallic Pringles can shape like that quite possibly makes for decent coverage in a large area from such a device.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: The kind of idiot who does that on a plane...

      "Determine the MAC address, look up the OUI, use WiFi tool on another mobile to look at signal strength.. could figure out which part of the plane it's in, and which type of device it's likely on."

      That's the 2 hour delay explained then. By which time the perpetrator had no doubt simply turned off his hotspot...

  16. earl grey Silver badge
    FAIL

    Score: 0-1 Own Goal

    It's the Stupids v Rest of us.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (goes into entrepreneur mode)

    I wonder what the market - and pricing - would be for programmable SSIDs ? To be sold alongside whoopee cushions, itching powder and fake doggy doo ... ("What fake doggy doo ?").

    I also wonder what laws would be used - or invented - to target the sale and use of such devices ?

    Given how many obsolete WiFi routers there are out there (I have 7 BT 2-Wire jobbies myself) it's surprising would-be "terrorists" haven't already experimented with setting up incendiary wifi hotspots for the lolz.

    If "Mobile Detonation Device" can ground a plane, surely "ISIS Recruitment Centre" could bring a city to a halt ?

    AC, obviously ....

  18. lorisarvendu

    Don't piss off the pub

    I work for a university whose buildings are spread amongst the town, rather than being safely tucked away on a leafy campus. Several years ago it was noticed that in one of the buildings you could pick up the pub across the road's free Wifi which had the word "F**k" in it. Somebody went to the pub and complained that this didn't give a good impression to visitors to the Uni, and could they change it please.

    They promptly did, to "[University Name] GIVES SHIT DEGREES".

    This is a true story.

  19. Chris 211

    TerrorPhone

    Storm in a tea cup as they say. Should be been ignored, laughed at like ISIS should be. Otherwise they win.

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