The Godin vs Orchant "head-slapping contest" - which WiFi guru is the real guru?

by Sniffer | posted on 19 March 2005

WiFi pundit Seth Godin (see our earlier report ) seems to have stuck pepper up the nose of a Microsoftie called Marc Orchant - who has had an instant counter-rant. Orchant has kindly given Seth a patronising delineation of his "mistakes" - but Orchant is perhaps in for a couple of surprises.


Seth Godin's observation is that paranoia about open wireless networks isn't really called for. Orchant says he's "really, really wrong. Drop-dead, slap-yourself-upside-the-head wrong."

Well, someone is wrong

Prime amongst Orchant's statements of non-fact is that "I turned off the little thingie in my access point that broadcasts the name of my network. Like I always say, "if they can’t see you, they can’t hack you'."

Your Sniffer has no particularly serious hacker tools to hand, just NetStumbler. Let's see:

  • the SSID of my network is Hunkymouse.
  • Disable broadcast - check!
  • Examine "available networks" in Microsoft's zero-config bodge - not visible
  • Turn on NetStumbler and check SSID's
  • Bingo! hunkymouse SSID  visible, present and correct.
  • We can see you, Orchant! Can we hack you?

    Orchant also suggests Godin "sticks to marketing" - but your Sniffer suspects that actually, the problem is that Orchant knows less about WiFi than he thinks he does...

    [Let's not go into Orchant's polemical skills. For example, we won't contrast Godin's original suggestion that 'you need a different sort of security' to cope with file-sharing than you do for wireless security, with Orchant's contradiction.

    Well, sort of contradiction Orchant says: you need different security - firewalls, VPNs, DMZs and a host of other TLAs.

    In other words, he's agreeing loudly with Godin, and can't even tell!]

    Slap yourself, Orchant! - You can discuss this article on our discussion board.