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Sys-Admin Dispenses Passwords With a Banana (thenewstack.io) 89

An anonymous reader writes: A network administrator in Denmark is requiring users to perform a finger press on a banana to receive their Wi-Fi passwords. "The banana is mounted and in production," he posted Thursday, sharing two pictures. The banana uses a special new circuit board from Makey Makey to form a connection between the banana and a cheap Raspberry Pi computer with a screen attached, according to one technology site. They note that it could also detect finger presses on a doughnut, an apple, or even Jell-o, and offer this quote from the sys-admin about his motivations. "It's fun... It'll make people smile. It beats a static WPA password in funnyness." And most importantly, "When people leave our office, they can't access our WI-Fi because there's no banana to touch." This guy deserves some kind of award, come July 29th.
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Sys-Admin Dispenses Passwords With a Banana

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  • It's fun until... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...the banana rots or attracts fruit flies to the office.

  • by eexaa ( 1252378 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @04:53AM (#51360287) Homepage

    This invention moves the bananas into the same category as printer ink cartridges.

    "My wifi doesn't work!" "Have you tried to replace your banana, sir?"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A call to sexual help line: "My wife doesn't work!" "Have you tried to replace your banana, sir?"

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      I always thought the banana problem [catb.org] in computer programming was funny. Now there are two banana problems. When will they end?

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @04:55AM (#51360291)

    When I tried to do something similar, all I got was a sexual harassment lawsuit!

    • by leob ( 154345 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @05:03AM (#51360301)

      Sometimes a WiFi password is just a WiFi password.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Funny. If you squeeze any sysadmins banana hard enough, you can get any password you want.
      The cheapest and quickest way to beat computer security is a $5 wrench. https://xkcd.com/538/

    • "Touch my banana and you get wi-fi"

    • Is that a password in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
    • by sudon't ( 580652 )

      When I read the headline, I thought it going to be about rewarding employees for choosing good passwords. Perhaps you shouldn't try that, either.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seems like you'd want to use a banana Pi for this.

  • Slow news day? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @06:06AM (#51360393) Homepage Journal

    So the banana's just a switch? It's not producing any randomness to feed into the key generation?

    Also, I don't see how they can't use the wifi from outside the building once they have the password. Unless they expire, which you can do without any fruit at all.

    • Re:Slow news day? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @06:54AM (#51360491)

      So the banana's just a switch?

      Yes, it looks like it just replaces the WPS button.

      Also, I don't see how they can't use the wifi from outside the building once they have the password. Unless they expire, which you can do without any fruit at all.

      I'm assuming the controller is on a timer, which is fairly standard these days. The banana is merely a supposedly more fun way of pressing a button (yes lame in my opinion, but that's all you need to make the front page these days - and because Raspberry Pi!)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The real news is some company is dumb enough to use WPS which is protected by a short number comparable to a PIN, and the fact that you have to press a button. And they make everyone press the button to connect.
        Easiest wifi intrusion ever. Wait for someone to press the button and brute force the PIN.

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          It's not WPS. WPS would be disruptive to all other connectors. It's probably some random generated password changed daily or something like that for a guest SSID.

          It's a good way to get a story, though having a repurposed cell phone running dedicated app with 'touch to show password' would be more practical.

      • So the banana's just a switch?

        Yes, it looks like it just replaces the WPS button.

        Nope, the banana actually serves a secondary function. This whole thing is so poorly described, but if you click the reddit link in the summary, and then from there click the link to the original thread:

        When you touch the banana, you get an 8 hour voucher for our guest wifi. (the 3 sec timeout is only for demoing)
        The PI has 5000, 8 hour vouchers. We are open ~200 days a year. If we have 10 guests a day, then this will work unattended for a couple of years easily.

        So the purpose of the banana is to make it so novel that (along with the absolute lack of adequate instructions on the board) people are repeatedly touching the banana over and over again (not really sure of what is going on), thus ensuring that those 5000 vouchers don't last a month.

    • 8 hour guest access.

  • banana (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2016 @06:42AM (#51360455)

    Man 1: I bet you $10 I can get Rachael to touch my banana.
    Man 2: You're on! ... 5 hours later
    Man 2: I thought you meant... never mind. Here's your $10.

  • Electronics today. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @07:53AM (#51360605)

    " The banana uses a special new circuit board from Makey Makey"

    Really? The Pi has GPIO pins, and you can't interface to a banana without a special new circuit board?

    You want a BS170 FET and a really high resistance pull-up/down, about 10M should do it. Two components, about 10p worth of parts, and a bit of wire.

    • So you complain about an external board with external components being used and so you propose a solution with an external board and external components?

      You deserve and internet cookie.

      But let's take this to a logical extension. You quite clearly know how a FET works, did you build your own computer out of transistors or did you buy a CPU and plug it in to your motherboard? You sound like you know about electronics, yet this guy was about to build something with 2 off the shelf components and a set of allig

    • For what it's worth, measuring capacitance via rise time on a GPIO pin is very challenging without an integrated comparator and fast GPIO. The Pi has no integral comparator and working with GPIO through the Linux kernel is always a bit laggy. A microcontroller is definitely a better tool for the job.

      • So that's how it works? Makes sense. I was just going to use a high-impedance input on a FET. Sensitive enough to detect the slight charge of a human body making contact. You just need a very weak pull to stop it registering every stray electrostatic field.

        If I were designing it to use the rise time method, I might do that on a few old-fashioned gate chips. 4000 series. But a microcontroller would probably be able to do it in a smaller part count.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      even better the special new circuit board was first shown in 2010, and hit the market in 2012, besides the fact its just a simplistic signal amplifier, its not even new

    • Makey Makey do have another one which extrapolates your position in the universe from a small piece of fairy cake.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      " The banana uses a special new circuit board from Makey Makey"

      Really? The Pi has GPIO pins, and you can't interface to a banana without a special new circuit board?

      You want a BS170 FET and a really high resistance pull-up/down, about 10M should do it. Two components, about 10p worth of parts, and a bit of wire.

      Well, then you need a few diodes to protect the FET - a high impedance input is perfect for getting destroyed by ESD, and it's why CMOS logic needs ESD protection.

      So unless he adds ESD protection, he

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It seems that the IT monkeys have solved a one-banana problem [catb.org].

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @10:00AM (#51360849)

    Ask users, "Orange you glad it's not another banana?"

  • of standardized measure for length of password. Guy must be a Redditor.

  • I am NOT TOUCHING HIS BANANA!!! I'll stay offline, thank you!
  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Sunday January 24, 2016 @04:10PM (#51362125)

    In Berlin, at the headquarters of "Sprockets," the sysadmin is using a monkey instead of a banana.

  • Where I worked, they required a mushroom stamp. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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