this is why the dumb ones get caught

In a new bit of detail that I hadn’t read previously, Dave Lewis posted about the recent IT admin “hacking” incident that occurred via free wifi at a McDonald’s: “An information-technology administrator has pleaded guilty to crippling his former employer’s network after FBI agents traced the attack to the Wi-Fi network at a McDonald’s restaurant in Georgia. The administrator was caught after he used his credit card to make a $5 purchase at the restaurant about five minutes before the hacks occurred.” Yeah, brilliant.

So, what should this guy have done? I have ideas, and I’ll assume we’ll stick to a McDonald’s.

– don’t go to any store you’ve been to before or will ever go to again.
– don’t do this in your own city; go to some other large city; day trip!
– legally park blocks away from the McDonald’s
– or park districts away and take public transporation (paid for in cash)
– do this at normal, busy hours and especially if you see other wifi users present
– en route, don’t speed, don’t do anything to get your location logged
– don’t go through tollbooths (if possible) and try to avoid cameras
– if you can discreetly do it, maybe rent a car

– use completely generic laptop and gear; nothing you can’t part with
– don’t name your computer anything that reflects you
– change the mac address (just because you can)
– don’t install customized stuff on the laptop; reduce the amount you may leak on the wire
– hopefully it is cool but sunny so you can go with a hat, sunglasses, popped collar…
– truly lose or “lose” your computer after (wipe it, sticker it up, etc)
– leave your cell phone at home (or turned off)

– don’t draw any attention to yourself; be invisible
– don’t wear your favorite clothes; be generic or even disposable
– buy a small meal or drink to go (no trays)
– for the love of god, pay in cash; pay for everything en route in cash (no ATM stops!)
– take your trash with you and dispose later
– don’t hide in a corner, but don’t let cameras or employees see your screen without you knowing it

– don’t browse the internet or check your email; do your business and leave
– remove jewelry or cover any tattoos or recognizable marks/traits you have

I’m sure there are more ideas if I spent more time, and I normally don’t think about how to stay off the grid like this, but this is a decent start for being mischievious at open wifi.