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I have noticed this same SSID, FBI SURVEILLANCE in three locations in the greater Southern California area (Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and San Juan Capistrano, California, U.S.A.). Is this one heck of a strong Wi-Fi signal, or is their some kind distributed "private" network overlaid on our great southland? Is their a public password so I may join in, or am I already joined in by default, but don't know it? If I cared to "opt out", what security measures could I take, other than pulling the plug to the now required Internet, which is necessary to gain access to public benefits, such as SSA, unemployment, food stamps? Inquiring minds want to know...

I know the above questions were thrown out there with quite a bit of sarcasm, but to maintain at least some legacy to my original post, I'll re-word from about here...

If I walk 200 feet from our humble abode, this is the current Wi-Fi radio traffic:

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My real concern is that there is a glaring SSID local to my neighborhood. I believe in neighborhood watch. I watch to make sure that my neighbors are taking measures to protect their security, just as I take measures to protect my own. When I see an SSID, like FBI SURVEILLANCE, having been in the government security industry, it is my responsibility to be able to advice my family, friends, and neighbors as to how to approach the information technology age that is being thrust upon them. Therefore, I would appreciate some constructive advise as to how to handle a SSID such as this one.

I have very dear friend, who is afraid to even touch a computer, and has NO Internet presence - to this day, I cannot send her an e-mail because I cannot convince her to get an e-mail account, anywhere. She recently, for the first time, got a Smart Phone. One day she called me, knowing my background at Boeing, and I could hear the fear in her voice - she was asking what to do about a SSID in her neighborhood, called "FBI VAN."

I told her that it was probably just someone playing a joke.

Fast forward in time. I noticed what I noticed the other night. And, a good friend of mine in San Juan Capistrano, some 40 miles from here, also has the SSID "FBI SURVEILLANCE" in his neighborhood. I visited him last Saturday while looking for a house in his neighborhood, however, I did notice there was, indeed, the same SSID "FBI SURVEILLANCE" in his neighborhood!

Now, being a retired "rocket scientist," who has responsibly handled secret information for a career - I have a simple question: How do I answer questions and act responsibly to protect the information security for my family, friends, and for my neighbors, many of whom are undocumented foreign nationals. This is under the general category, ITAR, and when ITAR is concerned and is connected with the Internet at large in the central barrio of Santa Ana, California, we all should be concerned when we see a SSID in our community that is obviously a fraud, don't you think?

We are instructed to be vigilant when it is concerned with being watchful for terrorists - if someone is casing the neighborhood, if someone is taking pictures of entry and exit points, etc. Now when there is a glaring SSID that should not be in my neighborhood, I must ask questions to protect the information of myself, my family, and my friends and neighbors. This questions as originally stated could be construed as off-topic because of the sarcasm employed. I hope I've clarified the intent of the question so it will be relevant to the viewers of this forum.

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closed as off-topic by Sathya May 6 '14 at 11:23

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is not about computer hardware or software, within the scope defined in the help center." – Sathya
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

somebody playing a prank – Sathya May 6 '14 at 11:10
It exists in 3 far-separated locations - I can give zip codes, and if I cared to, which I don't, could plot signal-strengths on a map, and triangulate the position(s) of the "prankster(s)", but have better things to do with my time. But 3 distributed pranksters? Are they in cahoots? – Bill McCloskey May 6 '14 at 11:13
Why on the world would you connected to an unencrypted wireless connection? – Ramhound May 6 '14 at 11:14
@BillMcCloskey - Just because its your own personal network does not mean its secure not to have a password. Google has paid a large sum of money after capturing random data from networks just like yours. – Ramhound May 6 '14 at 11:17
Security is always on topic. How do I prevent joining a network, or be joined by someone trying to access my sensitive data? Good enough. Here is a case in point... "FBI SURVEILLANCE" - Just because it has that name, should I be concerned of a hacker in my neighborhood? – Bill McCloskey May 6 '14 at 11:33

I'm pretty sure its an internet joke - in fact its an old joke from this mashable article from 2011. It is rather obvious a real surveillance van would not have such an SSID. Something like linksys or "TOTALLY ANONYMOUS VAN" would be more suitable.

I guess all three of them just happen to have the same odd sense of humour.

If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear (from people too hamhanded to hide what they are) - I'd just ignore these. Unless you live in a totalitarian state where police presence is obvious and ominous, in which case you know precisely what to be afraid of. In this case we can worry about security as common sense.

I'd never connect to an unsecured access point - with things like firesheep around. I'd assume any wifi network I don't control is insecure and I'd tunnel everything through SSH to a server I control and know is safe on an external network).

On my own network - I'd also maintain a seperate guest network with with a different password using the most recent wifi encryption I can (for example WPA2 PSK), and enforce wireless client isolation. Even if the password is known, information between a client and the router is encrypted, and your wireless clients are kept separated from the main network.

I'd avoid WPS (It can be brute forced), WEP (its crap and can be cracked trivially) and WPA (Why use that when you have WPA2?) on my own router as well.

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I'm counting this as a joke, because my friend who told me about it in Garden Grove said it was some other "SSID", but close, and like yourself, if I were them, I'd obscure my SSID. However, there is always the age old philosophy of "hiding in plain sight." Putting this to bed, but still don't like it. – Bill McCloskey May 6 '14 at 11:27
This is a valid question. What if I were to join or be joined by a "prankster" who gains access to information that could be ITAR? Security is ALWAYS on topic. The question has been reworded to reduce sarcasm and get to the point. Thank you for keeping me on topic. – Bill McCloskey May 6 '14 at 12:08

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