416: Zealous Autoconfig

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 16:24, 9 November 2012 by XERXES.ai (talk | contribs) (Explanation: Clean up, typos fixed: suprises → surprises)
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Zealous Autoconfig
I hear this is an option in the latest Ubuntu release.
Title text: I hear this is an option in the latest Ubuntu release.


In this comic, Cueball is seen attempting to connect his laptop to a Wi-Fi network. He manages to find a secure access point named "Lenhart Family" (which is pesumably Miss Lenhart's home Wi-Fi access point) and attempts to connect to it.

The laptop's Wi-Fi autoconfig utility, instead of requesting a password, first attempts using "common" passwords (known as a dictionary attack). Failing this, it attempts to exploit a WEP vulnerability, which surprises Cueball. This also fails, possibly because Miss Lenhart used WPA instead of WEP.

In the third panel, the autoconfig then connects to Cueball's Bluetooth phone and uses it to call a local school and finds that Miss Lenhart's children are attending.

In the fourth panel, the autoconfig notifies "field agents" to kidnap Miss Lenhart's children, then starts "negotiating" with her. Cueball, frightened by these actions, repeatedy presses Ctrl-C in an attempt to cancel the process, with little success.

The title text mentions Ubuntu, a Linux distribution that attempts to be as user friendly as possible.


[Cueball sitting on a chair with his laptop in his lap]
Laptop: Starting WiFi autoconfig... searching for WiFi... Found no open networks.
Laptop: Found secure net SSID "Lenhart Family"
Laptop: Trying common passwords... Failed. Checking for WEP Vulnerabilities...
Cueball: Um.
Laptop: None found.
[Cueball still sitting with laptop in his lap, but hand is on chin. Phone on table across room starts vibrating]
Laptop: Connecting to Bluetooth phone... Calling local school... Found Lenhart children.
[Cueball furiously typing on his laptop]
Laptop: Notifying field agents. Children acquired. Calling Lenhart parents. Negotiating for WiFi password...

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I have my network autoconfig set up to run a rainbow table attack if there's a password on the network. Wifi everywhere is great. Davidy22(talk) 15:05, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

That's superb! Suspender guy (talk) 17:12, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

But how would the school know about the Lenhart children if Mrs. Roberts deleted the students table? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)}

I say it'd be a liveware attack. A voice-call from the application, with in-built speech-synthisis and speech-recognition capabilities, requesting information from the school secretary him/herself. Probably a Black Hat construction. Or Hartigan (/whoever) from the Leverage series... ;) 23:43, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

I think Miss Lenhart must be the Lenhart children's paternal aunt. Their mother is most probably Mrs. Lenhart. Xhfz (talk) 02:20, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

When I saw "Ctrl + C" my first thought was "copy." It's the dumb thing about windows and every implementation that uses that. 14:02, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

It gets worse! I regularly use Konsole, where ctrl-c cancels things; ctrl-shift-c copies, but then I start using ctrl-shift-c in Chrome and end up debugging web pages instead of copying text. GAH! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

A similar concept to 538: Security. Shanek (talk) 12:29, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Believe it or not, you can use ctrl-insert to copy on almost any linux or windows program. Shift-delete is cut and shift-insert is paste. --PsyMar (talk) 13:13, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

I think the difference is WordPerfect vs Word short-cuts, both are supported both for historic reason and to support both left and right handed users with a mouse in their primary hand. 01:45, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
  XKCD 1479 right here. 17:49, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

I think there's also a pun on "acquired". A network address can be acquired, but when children are acquired it means something quite different. (However, in context they are both required to connect.) 11:22, 27 November 2015 (UTC)