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How secure is wireless computing?

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CX

posted on May, 11 2006 @ 06:25 PM
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Not sure where to put this, hope this is ok here.

The other night i was watching a documentary on hackers. Part of the documentary showed the work of "ethical hackers" who did legitimate hacking to show busineses where thier weaknesses were in their computer systems.

One hacker drove towards Capitol Hill whilst explaining to the viewers about security flaws that come with the new wireless computing. He has set up a scanner type device in his car which beeped everytime he drove by a building which was using wireless systems. He then received the details of that business and information on thier computer system within seconds, straight to his laptop in the car. He explained that in a few seconds he could easily get into the computers he had received info on.
As he drove further up into the maze of government buildings, his scanning was beeping like crazy, indicating the amount of systems housed in goverment buildings that could be accessed so easily. Now it does'nt take a genius to realise that some of the info in those computers around that location may be a tad sensitive. It just seemed like a major lapse in basic computer security to me.

Anyway back to my original question, is wireless computing a lot more vunerable than the normal sytems? Is it worth purchasing?

Thanks,

CX.




posted on May, 11 2006 @ 06:30 PM
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If you want secure communications DO NOT USE WIRELESS!!!!!



posted on May, 11 2006 @ 06:43 PM
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If you're a home user, I really don't see a major problem with a wireless access point, as long as you enable security, and keep your systems monitored, and set up user groups to access shared resources, etc. I do not recommend wireless to *any* business that has accounting info, private client info, or anything that they don't want anyone outside to see on a networked system. The encryption on a wireless is only so good, and none of it is 100% safe.

If you live in the boonies, or have a business out in the boonies, wireless may work for you. If you're in the 'burbs, or you are in a city setting for an office, I don't recommend it at all.







Originally posted by CX
Not sure where to put this, hope this is ok here.

The other night i was watching a documentary on hackers. Part of the documentary showed the work of "ethical hackers" who did legitimate hacking to show busineses where thier weaknesses were in their computer systems.

One hacker drove towards Capitol Hill whilst explaining to the viewers about security flaws that come with the new wireless computing. He has set up a scanner type device in his car which beeped everytime he drove by a building which was using wireless systems. He then received the details of that business and information on thier computer system within seconds, straight to his laptop in the car. He explained that in a few seconds he could easily get into the computers he had received info on.
As he drove further up into the maze of government buildings, his scanning was beeping like crazy, indicating the amount of systems housed in goverment buildings that could be accessed so easily. Now it does'nt take a genius to realise that some of the info in those computers around that location may be a tad sensitive. It just seemed like a major lapse in basic computer security to me.

Anyway back to my original question, is wireless computing a lot more vunerable than the normal sytems? Is it worth purchasing?

Thanks,

CX.



posted on May, 11 2006 @ 07:27 PM
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The problem is with people not setting up their security properly.

1. SSID : DONT BROADCAST THIS!!! I cant stress this enough, if a hacker cant see the network, he's not gonna try connecting to it. Having your SSID off is like running the network in passive mode. It will accept connections, if you know the name of the network, but you cant actually see the network until you tell the network to see you.

2. WEP ENCRYPTION : ENABLE THIS!!! Encrypt your data, and dont allow anyone to communicate with the wireless network unless they have the encryption key. Now, if the SSID is enabled, its rather easy to crack an encryption key... however, if both the SSID is off, and WEP encryption is enabled, it is almost impossible to connect to the network.

What he was doing was scanning through un-secured networks. These networks were set up by merely plugging in the wireless router/node and starting the network. No configuration, they just started using it out-of-the-box.

Another really good trick is to line the windows and other openings in the building with thin copper mesh. You can buy this from many hardware stores. This stops ANY wireless signal from getting out of , or into the building. Basically the copper mesh absorbs the wireless signal, and turns it into a magnetic field, scrambling any other wireless transmissions coming nearby.

With these three security options in place, your network is VERY safe.

Still though, the safest network is a hard wired internal network that has no connection to the internet.



posted on May, 11 2006 @ 07:35 PM
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If you run with encryption on (And you should), its 128 bit and thats quite good. Of course it _can_ be cracked, but it takes quite some time even with modern day computers.

You shouldnt worry as a personal user - Hackers arent going after those...


apc

posted on May, 11 2006 @ 07:42 PM
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WEP is easy to crack. It just takes an hour to a few days worth of data. This makes it a little tedious to crack from a mobile position. If a base can be established in line of sight it makes the task more realistic.

high bitrate WEP encryption coupled with IPSec, static routes and mac address tables, and redundant authentication (passwords) for resources. Makes it bulletproof within reason.

In the very least the home user should enable WEP, disable DHCP, change the router and accesspoint password, and pick a different net IP (like 192.168.10.x instead of 192.168.1.x).

>

1. SSID : DONT BROADCAST THIS!!!

don't bother. You can still see the radio, it just wont show a name. A few minutes with an air sniffer will reveal it.


[edit on 11-5-2006 by apc]



posted on May, 11 2006 @ 08:54 PM
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It's just not secure fullstop wep encryption was always infamous for being easy to crack but with new tools like aircrack wep/wpa can be cracked even faster and the days of taking hours to crack are long gone we are talking minutes now.

To my knowlege there isnt a fast way to crack wpa2 as yet but i wouldnt gamble on it in the long term.

my advice is use whatever is available to you in the hope that someone else didnt bother to encrypt at all and looks an easier target and not broadcasting an ssid will stop 99% of attacks.



posted on May, 11 2006 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by apc

1. SSID : DONT BROADCAST THIS!!!

don't bother. You can still see the radio, it just wont show a name. A few minutes with an air sniffer will reveal it.
[edit on 11-5-2006 by apc]


That is assuming someone is already communicating to that node while youre sniffing.

Also, something I forgot. Most wireless routers allow you to specify certain mac addresses that can connect to the node. If you tell it to permit only one mac address, and set that mac address to one machine... then the hacker would have to spoof their mac address before trying to connect to the network.

I must note though... realistically, nobodys going to go around sniffing the air for packets to uncover SSID's of networks that arent already visible and attempt to hack the WEP encryption, while spoofing the MAC address to a machine they happen to know is allowed onto the network... unless theres something VERY worthwhile to hack into in there... chances are, that person would already know your network inside and out, and probably works for you. Wouldnt be hard to find out who it was.


apc

posted on May, 11 2006 @ 10:22 PM
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Hadn't heard much on wpa2. But I haven't really been listening.

And yeah Mary and Joe's home network isn't a likely target. I try to focus on defending against an intentional direct attack.



posted on May, 11 2006 @ 10:56 PM
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not very secure at all.your open to a guy that can drive up to your place and take over your internet.the future is wireless thow as big cities want the downtown internet to flow free.......



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 03:31 AM
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I have seen people do this with their routers and other wireless equipment....

If they can get an access point, they can not only attack computers on the network they can access the router itself if its unsecured and the default password hasnt been changed.....I see this alot... works like a denial of service attack....I have been fortunate as not to have been crossing wireless networks with my neighbors.

Wireless should be used for home users not business users......

Oh, btw nice trick with the copper....I didnt know you could do that.


it's also more than a little disturbing networks are so unsecured on capitol hill.....


[edit on 12-5-2006 by XphilesPhan]

[edit on 12-5-2006 by XphilesPhan]



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 03:59 AM
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LoL! Some people watch too much TV... Reminder - what you see in the movies are called fiction.

All I'll say is listen to Johnsky. He knows what he's talking about. And remember: ANY network (or anything in life for that matter) is only as safe as its weakest link. If your security is strong enough at all possible access points then it's relatively safe. If someone wants to get into your network, they will - given enough time and effort. Keep in mind that wireless networking is a relative new development, thus it still has a lot of flaws and security issues. This will change as more and more people use it.

Edit: Just for kicks and for being well informed:




You have voted johnsky for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.


[edit on 12-5-2006 by Gemwolf]


CX

posted on May, 12 2006 @ 05:57 AM
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Originally posted by Gemwolf
LoL! Some people watch too much TV... Reminder - what you see in the movies are called fiction.



Which part are you referring to here Gemwolf? The only mention of TV that i can see here was in my original post, and as i said this was a documentary about hackers, not fiction from a movie.

Apologies if you were referring to some other part of this thread.

CX.



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 06:02 AM
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Originally posted by CX
Which part are you referring to here Gemwolf? The only mention of TV that i can see here was in my original post, and as i said this was a documentary about hackers, not fiction from a movie.

Apologies if you were referring to some other part of this thread.


No, I wasn't referring to you at all. Just some other people's ideas about hacking and computer security. I won't name them, just in order to keep the peace.



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 06:48 AM
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Originally posted by CX

... my original question, is wireless computing a lot more vunerable than the normal sytems? Is it worth purchasing?

Thanks,


it really does not matter
in either case, landlines or wireless, your linked into the Matrix

are your concerns about personal data being used/misused by
'upstanding & legitimate" entities within the Matrix

or are your security concerns focused on the hackers or other scavengers & parasites who live on the fringes of the Matrix

wireless (computing) has now spilled over to any of those convienient, hand held devices which the popculture regards as status symbols in 'connectivity'
~your being data mined with your own willingness & consent...& paying for the opportunity to be data mined, by the Matrix~



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 07:15 AM
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Originally posted by johnsky

Originally posted by apc

1. SSID : DONT BROADCAST THIS!!!

don't bother. You can still see the radio, it just wont show a name. A few minutes with an air sniffer will reveal it.
[edit on 11-5-2006 by apc]


That is assuming someone is already communicating to that node while youre sniffing.


Not true - Kismet. Use it, love it. Linux FTW.



Also, something I forgot. Most wireless routers allow you to specify certain mac addresses that can connect to the node. If you tell it to permit only one mac address, and set that mac address to one machine... then the hacker would have to spoof their mac address before trying to connect to the network.


VERY easy to do as well.


As for cracking WEP in minutes - what program? You still have to get ~500k packets to get a good crack on basic WEP with Aircrack FMS attacks. Are you talking about using injection programs to create those packets? I need to set that up in the lab and try it, shame I haven't done that yet.


CX

posted on May, 12 2006 @ 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by Gemwolf

Originally posted by CX
Which part are you referring to here Gemwolf? The only mention of TV that i can see here was in my original post, and as i said this was a documentary about hackers, not fiction from a movie.

Apologies if you were referring to some other part of this thread.


No, I wasn't referring to you at all. Just some other people's ideas about hacking and computer security. I won't name them, just in order to keep the peace.


Ah oh, sorry bout that.


Cx.



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 04:06 PM
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As for cracking WEP in minutes - what program? You still have to get ~500k packets to get a good crack on basic WEP with Aircrack FMS attacks. Are you talking about using injection programs to create those packets? I need to set that up in the lab and try it, shame I haven't done that yet.


yes you are right about needing 500k packets for wep cracking but there are a few ways to generate the packets you need like the packet injecting you mentioned and a few variants of arp ping flooding I've heard have a similar effect.

Truth is if your just trying to keep your neighbours out wep/wpa will probably be enough of an obstacle but if you're running a business and have sensitive data It's probably worth checking into the copper mesh that's already been mentioned (Johnsky gave some very good advice I agree) and avoiding wep and wpa. I saw a paint that can block the signal as well on some tv show but I imagine it's likely to expensive to be practical.

Edited for my lousy spelling






[edit on 12-5-2006 by Teknikal]



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by apc
high bitrate WEP encryption coupled with IPSec, static routes and mac address tables, and redundant authentication (passwords) for resources. Makes it bulletproof within reason.


Amen to that. Before anybody starts screaming "it's not secure!", the above is, like the poster said, bulletproof. Don't forget the MAC address part. Some pointed out it can be spoofed, but if you have no idea what to spoof, it's pretty damn hard.


As somebody else mentioned, in many cases people are just plugging in their devices and can't be bothered to set up the security. There were a few open access points in my heighborhood, like that, and I was able to browse the Internet when I traveled to SF and stayed in a hotel, through an unsecure PC downstairs. So if you are worried at all about your privacy, use the damn MAC and WEP and don't lose sleep.



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 05:11 PM
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hello all

First both Wifi/cable are not secure, but wifi is less secure than cable.

My advice for those who use wifi:

for the computer
1-use software firewall & antivirus
2-if possible for the router use a syslog software.


for the wifi router
1-Use wep or higher

2-change wep/other keys at least once a week( there are some domestic routers where we can store 4 keys and use them alternatly)

3-use mac address filter (it could be sniffed and used but it makes it a bit more harder)

5-disable ssid (it could be sniffed anyway).

6-disable dhcp.

7- change defaults passwords.

8- disable remote management and only one ip can access it.

9- reduce router waves radius, possible in some brands.

10-keep an eye to the router log or syslog in the computer if any supicious activity change keys


Someone said this long time ago and still today it's the truth:
"A safer computer is the one that is locked inside a safe and with the power plug off"......."and don't forget to throw away the safe's key"


Crustas




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