30. March 2007 · Comments Off on I Pity the Fool… · Categories: General

Back in the days when “The A-Team” was a popular television show, Mr T had a catch-phrase: “I pity the fool.”

I was almost the fool, today. I’m sitting here in the Pittsburgh, PA airport, waiting on my homeward flight, and I had hours to kill, since all earlier flights were booked solid. “No problem,” says I to myself. “They have free wireless here! I’ll just while away the hours surfing the ‘Net.”

So I dig out the company laptop, fired ‘er up, and let the trusty wireless device search for the local free wireless network.

And I was almost caught. Not by the cops, but by those folks who have nothing better to do than look for ways to steal data from other folks.

My wireless program found several wireless networks, all listed as free. And because I was tired, at the end of a long 2-week stint imparting knowledge to our customers, I didn’t notice at first that the network I selected, labeled “Free wireless network” was, in fact, an ad-hoc network created by someone else’s laptop. NOT the actual, true wireless network provided by the airport.

Happily, I noticed before I had ever typed in any passwords.

I’ve been in a lot of airports with my laptop, and used a lot of airport wireless connections. This is the first time I’ve noticed ad-hoc networks in my list. And it wasn’t just the one. When I powered up again after lunch, in a different part of the airport, I noticed 2-3 other ad-hoc networks next to the official airport wireless.

I do, indeed, pity the “fool” who doesn’t know the difference between the ad-hoc network hosted by someone’s laptop, and the official wireless networks offered by the airport. It could be an expensive lesson for them.

I’d rather pity the fool who is out there creating bogus networks for nefarious reasons, but if that’s really what they’re doing, they have my disgust rather than my pity.

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