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In the past week, you might have noticed a new Wireless network available around Rice campus: JONES_WINS_AGAIN (a favorite cheer of my college, Jones).

This wireless network was created as part of a jack for Willy Week. When I first saw it, I wasn’t sure what had happened – my first thought was that members of another college had created a local wireless network at Jones College in an effort to gain user data and credentials of Jones students who would foolishly connect to a wireless network named in their honor. This would be highly unethical, and so of course this wasn’t the case. Rather, the JONES_WINS_AGAIN wireless network was being broadcast from every Rice Access Point on campus and acted identical to the Rice Visitor network.

So how did we do it? Did a member of Jones manage to hack into Rice Wireless? Sorta. Thanks to the Associate Program at Rice, Rice’s Senior Network Architect Danny Eaton is proudly associated with Jones College, and he was able to execute this “attack” because of his admin status. He created a new network, gave it a SSID of “JONES_WINS_AGAIN” and gave it all the same security settings as the Rice Visitor network. Once set up, the Access Points around campus would broadcast it.

This doesn’t mean people will use it though. Most computers have already been configured to automatically connect to Rice Owls or Rice Visitor, so you’d have to know to connect to this new network. Additionally, I’m sure some people had the same initial thought as I about the mysterious network – that it was somehow malicious. In talking with Danny Eaton, I learned some usage statistics of the network. As I’m writing this, ~35 people are connected to the JONES_WINS_AGAIN (as compared to the ~3500 users currently connected to Rice Owls). It has been active for the past week, and at the network’s peak, it had 55 users connected. So it didn’t exactly make much of an impact, but it is an interesting (and simple) attack none the less.

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