I recently came across a list of the 1000 most commonly used SSID’s and thought it would be fun take a quick look at it. If you didn’t already know, SSID is the technical term for the name of your wireless network.
Here are some of the most interesting things I gleaned from the list. The percentages below represent how often the SSID shows up in the total list of SSID names survey, not just the top 1000 SSID’s.
- No name, or a hidden name, is really popular. Over 2.3% of the SSID’s examined had no name, a hidden name, or something similar.
- Routers that come with a predefined network are popular. AT&T’s Uverse routers are a good example and come with a pre-defined wireless network that includes a name like “2WIRE199”.
- Netgear also sells routers that come with predefined network names. “NETGEAR00” through “NETGEAR99” are all names that make it into the top 1000.
- “default” (0.6%) and “home” (0.3%) are used quite commonly
- Hotels, such as “Marriott_Guest” (0.01%), “Hyatt” (0.01%), “hhonors” (0.06%), and “laQuinta” (0.01%) make the top 1000.
- Among SSID’s named after people, “Alex”, “David”, “Mike”, and “John” lead the way.
- My personal favorites from the top 1000: “pretty fly for a wifi”, “skynet”. “boobs” was not in the top 1000, sadly.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Using a Common SSID
If I can find a list of the 1000 most commonly used network names then I know that the bad guys can too. Most of the time people allow network names to be broadcasted from the router, but a higher-security option is to not broadcast the name and require that users connecting be able to specify the network’s name and key. If you don’t broadcast your SSID then you certainly wouldn’t want to compromise that bit of security by using a frequently used SSID.
Now, let’s talk about Uverse for a second. People know how Uverse routers are setup generally. They know the number of characters in the network key and the character-set. Knowing these details makes it fairly easy to brute-force guess the network key. I believe that Uverse routers use only numeric characters in the network key… how much simpler could it get? If you use Uverse at home then you should immediately change your SSID and network key away from the defaults. It’s not hard to do and will greatly increase your security at home.