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The the Super Bowl WiFi password gaff certainly provoked the typical round of “OMG Epic Fail!” posts on tech news sites.  Alex Jones even found a way to associate it with a conspiracy. But they're overreacting in typical fashion and 99% of IT would defend their NFL peers. It’s not an IT fail.  Rather, it’s a reminder that network engineers should always be thinking about the weakest link for security: the "wet network", aka, human beings.  Bruce Willis gave a sage answer in this context: “Sir, as an employee of this company and user of this network are you remaining security aware at all times?". “No, I am a meat popsicle.”

 

Should the TV crew in the broadcast van be expected to be thinking about network security?  Of course not, they should be thinking about getting great shots.  Good netadmins focus more on ensuring flexibility to respond to situations like these.  Resetting an SSID takes a few seconds and the issue is resolved.  Great engineers take it a step further, implementing layers of security because they know issues like this can and will occur.  They partition networks, observe traffic and audit APs.

 

So despite the breathes headlines about the NFL exposing their global network credentials to a billion people, it’s probably no big deal.  In most settings like this  marco/w3Lc0m3!HERE would be the guest SSID for tweeting and surfing the web rather than keys to the security kingdom. Although it makes great headlines, this is probably a non-event, kinda like Super Bowl XLVIII.