Charter Spectrum Tweeted Out Some Spectacularly Awful Security Advice

Image: Techcrunch
Image: Techcrunch

Charter is a major internet service provider, and the conduit between many Americans and their sweet, sweet internet. As such, one would think the company would have a basic grasp of how Wi-Fi security works—specifically, that it would know better than to tell its roughly 31,700 Twitter followers to change their Wi-Fi passwords in support of their favorite sports teams.

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Unfortunately, it did just that on Monday afternoon while attempting to celebrate the teams headed to the Super Bowl. The tweet was first noticed by TechCrunch and has since been deleted, presumably because it’s absolutely garbage security advice: If you want an easy way to hack into someone’s Wi-Fi, just ask them which sportsball team they like!

It also came just one day after a flurry of football related tweets from Charter’s @GetSpectrum account. The earlier tweets are only notable because they involved followers voting for who they thought would win on Sunday afternoon. (They got it totally wrong.)

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It’s possible that Charter Spectrum isn’t full of Steelers fans trying to weed out the idiot Patriots fans, but instead just got the network name and Wi-Fi password confused. That’s a totally understandable thing to confuse! My mom does it all the time! However, my mom is also not the social media manager for a major internet service provider that should know better.

We’ve reached out to Charter for a comment and will update when and if we hear back.

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[TechCrunch]

Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.

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DISCUSSION

sing-electric
sing.electric

Honestly, if you have a guest network (a lot of recent-ish hotspots have this feature), it’s not the worst idea in the world, though it’s bad that a cable company sent this out.

The last thing you want is for someone to write down your guest network password and then leave it somewhere where it can be found later. You want something that you can easily remember (so you don’t write it down), and they can easily understand (so they don’t have to write it down) and possibly remember (same reason - you ask for the password for your tablet, and then 15 minutes later realize you’d like your phone to use WiFi too). That means that more “personal” passwords are a no-go (so say, the name of your first pet and your anniversary date aren’t great), but things like a sports team might work (since most people know at recognize the names of teams). Far from the best idea in the world, but it’s not terrible.

It’s bad advice if everyone in that geographic area were to change the password for a day or a month to one of 4 teams, but if 8 months from now you visit someone’s house in Iowa and they tell you their password is “GOATLFALCONS” it’s not like that’s anywhere near the last secure thing in the world.