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R/X-rated SSID network names

Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:12 am

I'll make this as brief as possible: I have an IT-support client that is religious in nature.

My scans using a mobile laptop and decent hardware determined there were several (r/x-rated) SSIDs in the nearby area. The signals are weak and picked up intermittently at their building, putting the "bad"-words in the list of available wireless networks to connect to. I want to be clear: these aren't people naming their network "XXXX-stain, or XXXX-wit, or "mother-******", or etc.". These are "bad" descriptions of sexual acts and otherwise... stuff most people think of as pretty twisted. Again, I couldn't care less, I'd ignore/laugh/cry and move on, but that's me.

While I do not believe the owners of those networks should be censored, I'd like to know if there is any law against the SSIDs (Federally, in the US) or if there is a simple way to not reveal other nearby SSIDs to users, independent of the drivers / brand of of wifi card in use.

For example, if you work at a church, no server, just random machines with different OS / software, connected to a mainstream wireless router... is there any way to filter out SSIDs named ***** or ********* (those are my *s, not censoring). Dynamically, to filter out the bad words, in case they change the bad names, would by ideal.

I realize many things can be done to lock the user down, but can it truly be stopped or filtered in some way if you don't want users to be able to take the machine home (in the case of a laptop)? Are they just destined to have to see the names of in-range broadcasting SSIDs?

Me personally, I wouldn't care... I can see just about anything, and I'd just ignore it like regular internet-noise you see everyday. I'm just looking into this for my client, who maybe doesn't want the words to show up on their screen at home.

So my question is, can you think of an easy way to rid a client of unacceptable material in the form of SSID broadcasts? i.e. is there a way to filter wireless SSID broadcasts by algorithm, just like OpenDNS?
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Re: R/X-rated SSID network names

Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:29 am

whoa, sorry bro. I'm normally R-rated on the weekends. I'll try to tone down things for Sunday, though.
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Re: R/X-rated SSID network names

Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:04 am

I'm not aware of a filtering solution. You could disable WZC and manually configure the necessary network(s). To lessen the inconvenience to mobile users, you can provide a script/batch file to toggle WZC.
For the legal route, I would research public nuisance/obscenity laws in your jurisdiction. Couldn't hurt to additionally file a FCC complaint; an enforcement action is unlikely, but a FCC determination of indecency would carry some weight in local proceedings.
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Re: R/X-rated SSID network names

Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:22 am

If the right people look at this, there's probably a way to consider it illegal. For example, you cannot, as a private citizen walk around yelling explatives or hang up inappropriate signs on your home where others can see them. For those of us licensed to broadcast over radio, there are very strict rules as to what you are not allowed to say.

I just imagine a little kid trying to get on the Internet, and being exposed to this stuff.

The FCC would be the best group to contact. Send 'em some mail and ask them the question. This is one of the reasons they exist.
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Re: R/X-rated SSID network names

Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:05 pm

How about just setting up the clients so that they don't have to browse through the wireless networks to select theirs?
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Re: R/X-rated SSID network names

Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:18 pm

As far as I'm aware, there isn't a way to filter SSID names. The only thing you can do is setup the clients to not search for available networks.

I've actually never ran into networks being inappropriately named. Anywhere. Most of the time they have the factory default name.

As others have suggested, this may be a violation of FCC regulations, so I'd also encourage you to drop them a line in some way or another.

Nitrodist wrote:
How about just setting up the clients so that they don't have to browse through the wireless networks to select theirs?

Although that is certainly a solution, it only cures the symptoms and not the disease.
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