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 It's Not a Bomb, It's my Hotspot
Confused neighbors ruin one man's evening

Techdirt points to an odd instance in Australia where one man faced a
police investigation because they thought his Wi-Fi access point was a
bomb. The Wi-Fi enthusiast had set up a Dlink 2100AP outside of his home
- which worried neighbors assumed was an explosive device. Police dug up
cables in his yard, quizzed him extensively, and nearly ordered a
community evacuation before realizing what the device actually was.


(snipped from DSL Reports)



Re: Beware all you DLink users!
On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 02:28:29 GMT, Ed

> It's Not a Bomb, It's my Hotspot
>Confused neighbors ruin one man's evening

Here's the original thread from Sidney:
 http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=257009&p=1
Photos of the device show that it was a "black box" which was
obviously a bomb (from TV where all bombs are black boxes with red LED
timers).  The basic problem was apparently that the neighbor called
the national security hotline instead of the local police.  What
better place to install a bomb than on a residential fence.

--
Jeff Liebermann    jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
150 Felker St #D   http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060    AE6KS  831-336-2558


Re: Beware all you DLink users!
On Fri, 29 Oct 2004 20:00:11 -0700, Jeff Liebermann

> What
>better place to install a bomb than on a residential fence.

It is good that there are so many creative alternatives to actual
thinking.



Re: Beware all you DLink users!
On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 11:45:25 -0500, Zippy the Pinhead

>On Fri, 29 Oct 2004 20:00:11 -0700, Jeff Liebermann
>
>> What
>>better place to install a bomb than on a residential fence.

>It is good that there are so many creative alternatives to actual
>thinking.

I hate to tell you this, but in such a situation, emergency responders
are trained *NOT* to think.  Once a crisis has been detected or
created, responders are taught to fall back on their training and not
try to logic through everything.  While not particularly pleasant to
consider, reacting to training, rather than thinking is far better and
more efficient.  Do you really want a member of the bomb squad, while
under stress, to decide that this would be a great time to think up a
new and creative method?

So what went wrong here?  Well, one person, probably not qualified to
make a decision, decided that it must be a bomb.  Something like "we
can't take the chance that it's NOT a bomb" and set the process in
motion.  From that point on, everyone involved was reacting on the
basis of their training.  The owner was treated like a potential
terrorist, the yard was dug up in an attempt to disconnect the bomb,
the device was not touched until its nature could be determined, etc.
Standard procedures right out of the bombs squad handbook.
Personally, I think that everyone at the scene did their job correctly
had it been a real bomb.

So, who's guilty of creative thought?  Dunno.  Could be a dispatcher,
supervisor, defective decision making process, or simply lack of
practice.  I mean how often does the national security response team
have a chance to practice with a real live everyday situation?
Perhaps in the middle east, but not in Sidney.  Once the wrong
decision was made (or bypassed), everything that followed went like
dominoes and according to the book.

What to do about it?  Well, the ICS (incident command system) has many
mechanisms built in to prevent situations from getting out of hand.
The IC (incident commander) is charged with paying attention to what's
happening, which includes pulling the plug if it appears that a
mistake has been made.  This was apparently not done.  

Near as I can read between the lines, there was nobody at the scene to
declare that a mistake had been made, so everything just rolled
forward as if it were a real bomb.  I'm fairly sure that just about
everyone involved suspected that something was not quite right, but
either didn't want to risk a mistake had it been a real bomb, or were
not authorized to call off the investigation.  That's not a problem
with creative thinking.  It's a proceedural and organizational mistake
that will certainly be investigated.

Perhaps Hollywoods use of black boxes with red LED countdown timers
isn't such a bad idea.  If Hollywood portrayed a bomb as something
more modern, we would probably have far more bomb scares.  Meanwhile,
don't repackage your access points in black boxes.  Use beige, grey,
white, or perhaps clear.


--
Jeff Liebermann    jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
150 Felker St #D   http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060    AE6KS  831-336-2558


Re: Beware all you DLink users!
Jeff Liebermann wrote:
> On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 11:45:25 -0500, Zippy the Pinhead
>
>
>>On Fri, 29 Oct 2004 20:00:11 -0700, Jeff Liebermann
>>
>>
>>>What
>>>better place to install a bomb than on a residential fence.
>
>
>>It is good that there are so many creative alternatives to actual
>>thinking.
>
>
> I hate to tell you this, but in such a situation, emergency responders
> are trained *NOT* to think.
<snip>

My wife worked on the Seattle ferry docks (near the docks where they
caught that real-life terrorist bringing in explosives for the big 2000
New Year celebration) and she was in charge of making the big decisions
any time she was present. One suspicious package was left on a a ferry
that triggered a chain of events similar to the poor guy with the access
point. The deck hand reported it to the captain, the captain called it
in to the terminal and the agent in charge (my wife) had to call the
police who called in the bomb squad. Hundreds of people were evacuated,
the dock area was evacuated, bomb squads brought in robots that picked
up the overnight bag and carried down the gangway and onto the concrete
dock. Then the remote control robot shot an explosive device into the
side of the bag to detonate it or disable it. About a dozen vibrators
got blown to smithereens and landed all over the dock, along with some
lubricants and other essential supplies.

Everybody did their job just exactly as trained and a very dangerous
situation had been defused without injury to anyone. But all those
dildos made the whole thing look pretty silly.


Re: Beware all you DLink users!
On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 10:45:04 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

Some stuff snipped for brevity..

> Perhaps Hollywoods use of black boxes with red LED countdown timers
> isn't such a bad idea.  If Hollywood portrayed a bomb as something
> more modern, we would probably have far more bomb scares.  Meanwhile,
> don't repackage your access points in black boxes.  Use beige, grey,
> white, or perhaps clear.

Most telling is the shifting socio-political climate of Australia. Australia
has just re-elected a conservative government who ran on a fear and loathing
based election platform. For weeks before the election, the government
ran TV advertisements with a voiceover telling people to "Be alert but not
alarmed" while showing fast paced video images of electronic equipment,
security fences, airports, maritime boarding parties, sniffer dogs, people
putting packages in trash cans etc. Quite a master stroke of political
advertising in the guise of a national security campaign.

What would the good citizens of any emergent fascist state
do when confronted by this propaganda? Ignore it?  They ring up the
hotline of course.

Phuouc



Re: Beware all you DLink users!
On Sun, 31 Oct 2004 22:08:14 +1000, "Phuoc Nghuy"

(...)
>Quite a master stroke of political
>advertising in the guise of a national security campaign.

Yech, but nicely done.  That makes American "sound bite" driven
campaigning seem relatively tame.  The best we can offer to creative
election practices are poorly forged documents and electronic voting
gone awry.

>What would the good citizens of any emergent fascist state
>do when confronted by this propaganda? Ignore it?  They ring up the
>hotline of course.

Thanks.  That explains quite a bit about why someone called the
national security hotline instead of the local police.

An aquaintance manufactures wearable computahs and wearable pointing
devices (for gamers).  He's a believer in the concept and often wears
his company's products during conventions and meetings.  Fully
deployed, and covered with black boxes and wires, there is no way to
NOT look like the Hollywood illusion of a suicide bomber.  Although
considerable effort has been made to camouflage the the devices, just
one exposed wire or cable is sufficient to have someone call security
or the police.  Before giving demonstrations of his products in a
strange city, it's now standard practice to inform the local PSAP
(public safety answering point) of his presense to avoid the
inevitable false alarm.

--
Jeff Liebermann    jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
150 Felker St #D   http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060    AE6KS  831-336-2558


Re: Beware all you DLink users!
Jeff:

Please share how your friend convinces a 911 operator that he is not crazy.
In today's world a "No I'm Not" could be a "Yes I Am".
Thanks,

JHG


> On Sun, 31 Oct 2004 22:08:14 +1000, "Phuoc Nghuy"
>
> (...)
>>Quite a master stroke of political
>>advertising in the guise of a national security campaign.
>
> Yech, but nicely done.  That makes American "sound bite" driven
> campaigning seem relatively tame.  The best we can offer to creative
> election practices are poorly forged documents and electronic voting
> gone awry.
>
>>What would the good citizens of any emergent fascist state
>>do when confronted by this propaganda? Ignore it?  They ring up the
>>hotline of course.
>
> Thanks.  That explains quite a bit about why someone called the
> national security hotline instead of the local police.
>
> An aquaintance manufactures wearable computahs and wearable pointing
> devices (for gamers).  He's a believer in the concept and often wears
> his company's products during conventions and meetings.  Fully
> deployed, and covered with black boxes and wires, there is no way to
> NOT look like the Hollywood illusion of a suicide bomber.  Although
> considerable effort has been made to camouflage the the devices, just
> one exposed wire or cable is sufficient to have someone call security
> or the police.  Before giving demonstrations of his products in a
> strange city, it's now standard practice to inform the local PSAP
> (public safety answering point) of his presense to avoid the
> inevitable false alarm.
>
> --
> Jeff Liebermann    jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
> 150 Felker St #D   http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
> Santa Cruz CA 95060    AE6KS  831-336-2558




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