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Super Bowl Password Fail isn’t a Blowout


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.

Level 14

I missed this...interesting.

Level 18

Same here...but in retrospec it is quite humerous

Level 15

Security.  We should all be aware.  Thanks for sharing.

About the Author
I'm the Head Geek and technical marketing director at SolarWinds, (which basically means I'm an mature geek in the services of the product team). When I say geek I mean Geek, with extreme prejudice. I started writing assembly on my Apple II, got a BITNET email account in 1984, ran a BBS @ 300 baud, survived X.25, abused Token Ring, got some JavaScript award love in '96, and my hack flight notification service still backs These feats of course made me quite the chick magnet for many years. Along the way in various jobs I’ve been a developer, SE, PM, PMM, and now principal evangelist. (Let us all join hands around the server.) Over 10 years at SolarWinds I’ve hatched our online live demo systems, managed the SolarWinds Certified Professional program, launched the Head Geek program, helmed SolarWinds Lab, and these days I’m focused on Cloud, DevOps and helping IT admins learn the new skills they’ll soon need not just to get ahead, but even maintain their roles. I’m always looking for new and more fiendish ways to use our products- just like our customers. And when I have a few spare minutes I fly a little, when the weather is good.