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Paint Provides Network Protection 262

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-much-for-foil-hats dept.
thefickler writes "Forget WEP and WPA; I'm switching over to the EM-SEC Coating System, a recently announced paint developed by EM-SEC Technologies that acts as an electromagnetic fortress, allowing a wireless network to be contained within painted walls without fear of someone tapping in or hacking wireless networks. The EM-SEC Coating System is clearly the most secure option aside from stringing out the CAT5, and can be safely used to protect wireless networks in business and government facilities."
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Paint Provides Network Protection

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  • Blocking EM eh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StuartFreeman (624419) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:30AM (#18478877) Homepage
    I hope no one ever wants to use a cell phone in your house.
    • by ip_fired (730445) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:34AM (#18478911) Homepage
      I hope nobody has windows (the physical, see-through kind, not the operating system)...
      • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:36AM (#18478933)
        Ahhh, but that brings up an interesting question--which type is less secure? : p
      • Re:Blocking EM eh... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Oriumpor (446718) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:09AM (#18479227) Homepage Journal
        There are coated double pane glass windows work pretty well at blocking EM if I recall correctly.
        • Re:Blocking EM eh... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Fizzl (209397) <fizzl&fizzl,net> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:54AM (#18479631) Homepage Journal
          Called "selective screens". Used everywhere here in Finland. They let heat in but not out. However, they are not of any use for blocking radio signals. (I guess they are also used in other parts of the world for the opposite effect)
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Oriumpor (446718)
            I remember reading about it from a luddite *keep the emf out* website

            A quick google reveals this [lessemf.com]

            There's no doubt more.
        • by pestie (141370) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @03:05PM (#18480835) Homepage
          I lived in an apartment at one point which didn't allow my DirecTV dish, but one of my windows had a clear view of the southern sky. OK, I decided, I'll just set the dish here on the floor and point it out the window! Well, that didn't work. At first it was the metal screen blocking the signal, but the apartment complex manager was nice enough to have it replaced with a non-conductive fiberglass screen when I asked. But it still didn't work. With the window open so the dish was only looking through the screen, everything was fine. Close the window, though, and my signal dropped to zero. Signals at those frequencies are known to pass through ordinary glass, so I'm guessing that the windows were coated with some type of glazing, possibly metal-based, that blocked the signal. Heat was included in the rent at this place, so the apartment complex had a direct interest in energy efficiency.

          My solution was to build a double-paned window out of two sheets of clear acrylic separated with spacers and insulated all the way around with foam tape. I cut it to fit the open window perfectly and unless you looked very carefully, you'd never notice that the "real" window was wide open and the "fake" window was filling the space. It was well-insulated enough even in the winter that the heat loss was no problem. But the important thing was that the satellite signals passed through the acrylic with no problem, and I was probably the only person in the whole complex to have satellite TV. Plus, I earned geek points for having a working satellite dish on my living room floor. Yes, I was single at the time; why do you ask? Heh...
      • by gjuk (940514) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:18PM (#18479787)
        Governments have a great habit of wasting money by trying to dot every 'i' and cross every 't'. Of course, you can never achieve perfection, but their endless quest does have the effect of each extra step costing enormous amounts of extra money with minimal incremental benefit.

        In this case: WPA (and many other layers of encryption) = free. Painting a building with special paint = £$massive.

        What's scary is that someone from a government department will mandate this kind of tosh - and suddenly every government building (including leisure centres) will have to have it.

        Of course, the irony is that - once they get paint like this, people will feel overly secure - reduce the more sensible types of encryption - and then leave the loading bay doors open, right next to a wireless repeater, pouring forth their unencrypted secrets.
        • Or people will get pissed off that their cell phones don't work.

          Hey, maybe they should paint theaters with this stuff...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by modecx (130548)

            Hey, maybe they should paint theaters with this stuff...


            Fuck that, I'm all for painting cars belonging to people caught using cellphones while driving with this crap. I mean, windows and everything. Maybe we could arrange a dunking vat, you know, for quick, easy and thorough radio-wave proofing.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Doddman (953998)
            I'm sure schools would pick this up very quickly if it blocked cell phone signal. I can almost factually say that my school would.
        • The problem isn't necessarily trying to dot every i and cross every t, or even government in particular. How hard is it to picture a good number of PHBs in the private sector reading this article and thinking "paint will make our network secure!"? The difference is that rather than your tax dollars being wasted, investment/operations dollars will be. Cost subsidized by the consumer in less competetive or more collusive markets.

          To be pithy, the ultimate problem is "zeal without knowledge" -- or, to be a bit
        • Oh, bullshit... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Moraelin (679338) on Monday March 26, 2007 @03:10AM (#18485345) Journal
          You know, just because you don't understand why the army needs this, doesn't meam they're automatically complete idiots.

          Here's a thought for you: any good defense is built in layers. So if one layer fails, the others are there to prevent a complete catastrophe. This doesn't mean they won't enable encryption, maybe even an extra layer of encryption on top of WPA, it means that they'll _also_ have a physical EM shielding layer to pick the slack if someone made a mistake.

          Additionally, the army has a long history of using and dealing with counter-measures. You don't see people trying to actively jam your home network, but in case of a war, that's exactly what the army might have to deal with. Whether actual pure jamming, or just an EMP from a nuke frying all your electronics, if the shit hits the fan big time. So when that happens, you'd rather most of it was shortcircuited by the building being a big Faraday cage.

          Additionally, the army has to deal with EM radiation out of the building in more ways than some wardriver surfing for porn on your home network. It can be someone intentionally placing a transmitter somewhere, to some spy leaking the encryption keys, to being basically tagged for an EM seeking missile. While a Faraday cage won't make any of those 100% impossible, it gives you one extra chance against it. E.g., if someone left the door open near a repeater, you can notice you suddenly detect EM radiation around a building that was supposed to have none. E.g., sure, someone could climb on the roof and place their emitter for the missile there, but there's a chance someone will see them, whereas a modified laptop/clock/whatever in a drawer might not even get noticed until it's set to activate at midnight in anticipation for an enemy strike. Etc.

          Additionally, the army is a bigger target than your home network. A wardriver will just go for whatever unsecured network is in the neighbourhood, and not even bother to crack your encryption. You're not worth it. You're one of millions of networks, each perfectly equivalent to any other, for his purposes. Even with the old WEP, chances are noone stood around long enough to gather packets and crack your keys, because, again, it wasn't worth the effort. A spy isn't as easily deterred. He won't go for Aunt Emma's home network instead. And he can devote disproportionate computing power and manpower to cracking the codes of a potential enemy superpower.

          Of course, you can stick your head in the sand, put a big "WAP can't ever be cracked" poster and feel secure. What if you're wrong? Even for WEP it took two years for the vulnerability to be published. Plus, for the standard WW2 example, the Germans didn't think Enigma had been cracked either. (Nor did the civillians in most allied countries, for that matter. It was top secret.) What if some bright chinese mathematician comes up with some brilliant new way to decrypt it? Would you rather bet on that never happening, _or_ have an extra layer of defense just in case? Because from where I stand, given high enough stakes, the latter looks like the much smarter choice.

          Basically, get your head out of the ass, and out of the "I'm teh genius, anyone doing things otherwise than me is automatically an idiot" mentality. Most often that should just be your hint that you don't actually understand what's happening there, and you're operating on just wild assumptions and pseudo-data pulled out of the ass to support that "I'm teh genius" preconception. And, as they say: Garbage In, Garbage Out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      I hope no one ever wants to use a cell phone in your house.
      Uhhh... WiFi is ~2.4GHz

      Cell phones are all lower frequency
      From 800 MHz to 1.9 GHz
      (and something about 450MHz, but that isn't common)

      Don't you think they can limit their product to 2.4 GHz +/- 500 MHz?
      • Don't you think they can limit their product to 2.4 GHz +/- 500 MHz?


        Not with 'simple paint'. This could be done with panels of circuit board material with structures that resonate at 2.4 GHz.

      • by Dun Malg (230075) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @02:19PM (#18480545) Homepage

        Cell phones are all lower frequency
        From 800 MHz to 1.9 GHz
        (and something about 450MHz, but that isn't common)

        Don't you think they can limit their product to 2.4 GHz +/- 500 MHz?
        No. That's hard enough to do with a mechanical Faraday type arrangement, much less paint. Don't you think it'd be better to understand the physics of EM radiation before you make silly presumptive comments?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by etzel (861288)
      Quick! Close the door now...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by t00le (136364)
      Isn't it illegal to block wireless frequencies in any private or public place? I recall an old story about a church attempting to do the same thing, but with a different technology. Maybe I am not remembering it correctly, but it is illegal to block pager/cell frequencies as per the FCC. Private spaces I can see them not enforcing the law, however if your office is next to a public building wouldn't this potentially interfere with the pager/wireless frequencies?

      Imagine sharing a wall with a doctor and you e
      • Re:Blocking EM eh... (Score:5, Informative)

        by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr&bhtooefr,org> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:45PM (#18479963) Homepage Journal
        It's illegal to actively block frequencies (by using a jammer, for instance), but not illegal to passively block frequencies (by creating a Faraday cage, like this paint is trying to do).
    • by britneys 9th husband (741556) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:48PM (#18479991) Homepage Journal

      I hope no one ever wants to use a cell phone in your house.
      This paint should be mandatory for all movie theaters and restaurants.
      • Well, if you're fortunate enough to have the cell phone yakker sitting directly in front of you; kick the back of their seat hard...really HARD! If by chance they turn around to look, give them the "evil eye" as though you're going to kick their ass. Remember, don't imagine it. You must be willing to follow through with the ass-kicking should it be needed.

        So far, this method works every time I've tried it. Whoever said violence doesn't solve anything can blow me!
      • yes, no, maybe ... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gr8dude (832945)
        This 'solution' creates another problem - it prevents communication from happening.

        It is one thing when a person in a cinema uses their phone - lack of education. And it is another thing when someone receives an SMS, being notified by vibra, without disturbing anyone. What if the SMS bears news about an emergency, or something that is of a critical importance?

        Do you think it is 'cool' when you have a problem and your doctor is notified via SMS while they're watching a movie in a cinema or having dinner in a
        • by Dun Malg (230075) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @02:34PM (#18480629) Homepage

          Do you think it is 'cool' when you have a problem and your doctor is notified via SMS while they're watching a movie in a cinema or having dinner in a restaurant that uses this uber-paint?
          You know, if the tired old "what if your doctor blah blah blah" is the only thing anyone can ever come up with against cell blocking, then I say who the fuck cares? There's generally nothing one doctor can do in an emergency that another can't, and in those very rare cases where there is, then those doctors need to stay out of EM blocked places, 'kay? The "doctor getting an SMS" case is already such an extreme outlier that it really has no business dictating policy that affects everyone. Go ahead, tell me you hope my mother has a terrible cheese-grater accident and needs the services of the one and only "grated face restoration" expert, but that he's watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in a theater covered with this EM paint. I'm willing to take that billion to one chance.
          • by gr8dude (832945)
            Point taken, let me alter the scenario a little bit.

            You are the admin of a small company, the only person who knows the passwords and is able to solve the technical problems that can occur there. Like any other human being, you're enjoying your weekend, watching a movie at the cinema.

            Obviously, there are armies of admins who *know* the stuff, but will any of them be able to deal with that particular task in a reasonable amount of time?
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by DDLKermit007 (911046)
              If you are the only person with highly valuable/non-recoverable passwords, you need to be fired and replaced by two lower paid people. Once an Admin walks out the door, it is to be assumed they will be hit by a car, and die until they get back in the building. If your in a theater there is little you can honestly do to begin with that will happen within the next 1-2 hours anyways. You pick up the message when you leave the premisis, and life goes on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by quick2think (833211)
      In a truly secure area, no one should be allowed to use a private cell phone. For somewhere to be secure you should have all means of communication in/out secured and monitored, whether digital, analog, two tin cans and a string, etc... Cell phones are as much a threat as anything. Remember, most security threats come from the inside. Now a company can claim they are securing their wireless network, and apologize for interfering with private cellphone usage, when all along this may be what they want to stop
  • Lawsuits... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ChadAmberg (460099) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:32AM (#18478891) Homepage
    Someone is going to sue, either because they painted all the inside walls like a dumbass and wireless won't go room to room, or else they'll get cancer, and swear the paint magnified and reflected all the microwaves into their body.
  • by nietsch (112711) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:35AM (#18478927) Homepage Journal
    Sure it is safe untill somebody needs to open a window or door? Or is this to keep the wifi signal in prison safe? Another fine example of security by obscurity: it never works and is only a good idea as a complement to a setup that is secure without it.
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:50AM (#18479041)
      Theoretically you would have a doubled doored vestibule... Most commercial buildings have one anyway to keep the (heat|air conditioning) bills low.

      A physical barrier is not security through obscurity.
      • The only difference is the wavelenght: a few cm's versus 400-600 nano's.
        • by ivan256 (17499)
          The term "security through obscurity" is generally accepted to mean that you are relying on the fact that nobody knows what the weaknesses in the security are in order to prevent attacks. It is using the "Not easily understood" definition of the word obscure, not the "hidden from view" definition. Physically blocking access to the data you are securing is not "security through obscurity" unless you're trying to make a clever play on words, in which case, Hah hah, very funny.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NevarMore (248971)
      You have the same issue with normal blocking methods unless you faraday cage the windows too.

      A more likely situation is that a few years down the road a company grows and needs more space . The leasing agency who owns the building (re)moves a non-load bearing wall and rents them some more space from the unit next door. No one remembered that the company had this paint on and now you have an open wall. Could even happen with the traditional methods.

      I'm even willing to speculate that because the other 3 walls
    • by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:46AM (#18479559) Journal
      Anyone who needs their network to be more than casually "safe" needs to run cat5. Running some cable is too much of a problem, but repainting your house and installing some specialty doors and windows is somehow easier?
      • by ivan256 (17499)
        It's hard to walk around a building with a networked device if it's attached to a run of CAT5. Also, don't limit yourself to an 802.x world. Telephones are networks. Also, you may be just as interested in preventing the signals from getting *in* as you are in preventing them from getting out.
  • Is this some sort of lead-based paint?? Yeah, that's a safe alternative...don't eat the paint chips guys!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Quasicorps (897116)
      Paint chips? You mean wall candy!
    • Re:Lead? (Score:4, Informative)

      by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp@freeshell.COBOLorg minus language> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:37AM (#18479487) Homepage Journal
      Is lead the only metal that
      1) Can be made into a paint
      2) Conducts radio waves (this is a Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] for radio waves)?

      The answer is no. Most metals conduct radio waves to some degree, just like most can conduct all EM radiation. There are quite a number to choose from that are harmless to humans. Lead is the big choice because its so dense, but we're not talking about nuclear radiation here (and more importantly, we're not talking about nuclear particles, which are stopped by other matter getting in the way, not just by conductive materials). We're not blocking the EM equivalent of a truck - just a series of tubes.

      I can see a way around the window/door thing as well.

      Put enough conductive material into the Windows and you'll get the same effect. In addition, there are some shapes you can make the entryways (again using principals of a Faraday cage) that will cause the radio waves to tend not to reflect out.
    • by Dun Malg (230075)

      Is this some sort of lead-based paint?? Yeah, that's a safe alternative...don't eat the paint chips guys!
      Lead paint is no longer legal, genius. And what makes you think lead is particularly good for blocking EM radiation? Oh, that's right! Superman's X-ray vision is blocked by lead! Same thing, of course!
  • by enrevanche (953125) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:39AM (#18478961)
    if this stuff is safe, i could paint my head with it, this is much better than aluminum foil

    it could also protect against cell phone brain cancer

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The idea of containing electrostatic and electromagnetic fields is to create a Faraday cage. If you are within an unbroken metal shell, most alternating fields and all electrostatic fields can't reach you. Un-alternating magnetic fields can still pass through. The problem is that any break in the metal shell is a possible window for the fields. That means the shielding on the walls has to be completely bonded to the shielding on the ceiling and floor and windows. The doors use something akin to weather
    • Wave Guides (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hhawk (26580) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:59AM (#18479663) Homepage Journal
      A bit off topic, but a friend just set up his new MRI scanner and of course the room it is in is well shielded. You need to keep its magnetic waves in the room and you don't want anything interfering with the machine. However, so they can do functional MRI, they need to project video into the machine (e.g., you can watch a video while getting scanned).

      Since the video projector can't be in the room... they created a wave guide which is a metal tube of a size (width and length) that doesn't allow anything harmful in or out of the room (electro-magnetically speaking) but is effectively a literal hole in the wall that they can project through. In some studies about taste they can also run long tubes filled with "flavors" so that they can allow a person in the scanner to "taste" while being scanned.
  • by rjforster (2130) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:51AM (#18479051) Journal
    The concept of this product is neat. With careful design you should be able to prevent much of the signal from an access point going beyond a certain area, thus allowing you to put more APs on the same channel closer together within the building than before. The number of users that can sensibly use one AP will be the same but the number of users per m^2 that can use APs(plural) will be much higher. Bandwidth still won't get close to Ethernet but that shouldn't be the issue as the few people who really need bandwidth in a corporate environment should still be wired.

    As before, proper authentication and confidentiality is the route to a secure wireless network,
  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by The-Bus (138060) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:53AM (#18479065)
    OK, I just ran pbrush.exe but I don't see any commands for establishing my network protection. It only gives me some tools for what seems to be a diagraming program.

    Maybe I should read the article or the summary for more detail.

    Nah...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:54AM (#18479079)
    Already protects my network [imageshack.us].
  • What about EMP? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quinn_Inuit (760445) <Quinn_Inuit&yahoo,com> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:55AM (#18479081)
    I wonder if this paint would block an EMP? I didn't see anything about it in TFA, but that would be a neat side effect.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Short Answer: No

      Long Answer: It might reduct the affects on items not plugged in, but in general an EMP bomb goes off near your house, it will come in through the power or phone lines. I remember reading somewhere about bunkers that are EMP shielded have internal power sources and having communications with fiber optic lines to the outside world in order to prevent the EMP shock coming in that way.

      Maybe if your house had tinfoil over the windows, underground power lines, Verizon FiOS, and this paint... Then
  • Really funny (Score:3, Informative)

    by vidarlo (134906) <vidarlo@bit[ ].net ['sex' in gap]> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @10:56AM (#18479091) Homepage

    The EM-SEC Coating System is clearly the most secure option aside from stringing out the CAT5, and can be safely used to protect wireless networks in business and government facilities."
    Yeah, really. Fiber is about as secure as cat5, and so is a net which only provides a media for transporting a VPN-tunnel. A paint able to stop one kind of RF-communication will stop all other kinds of RF-communication, like cell phones, FM/AM radio, TV and such. Imagine any business trying to explain why phones stop working when inside the building...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      Imagine any business trying to explain why phones stop working when inside the building...

            For certain businesses (restaurants, cinemas, hospitals) that might actually be a GOOD thing...
  • I work in a metal fabricated building. I'm sure most people do and have no problems with cell phone reception. While this paint may offer significant absorbtive properties, note that NO dBi attenuation ratings are provided. This paint will have to reduce the power level orders of mnagnitude before useable signal becomes insignificant. Remember, radio signal strength is logarithmic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by John Hasler (414242)
      > Remember, radio signal strength is logarithmic.

      No it isn't. It is inversely proportional to distance squared.
      • by honkycat (249849)
        I think the gp means it's measured in logarithmic units (dBm = decibels relative to 1 milliWatt)
  • by emilyridesabmx (1009713) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:01AM (#18479151) Homepage
    I work in a pretty specialized architecture firm, and some of our clients are slightly paranoid to say the least (Ting foil hats? More like Tin Foil Ceremonial Headpieces...) and we are working on a project that has a room that is set up to ward off an EMP during the coming apocalypse. I'm not kidding. The 'Safe Room' in this building is totally shielded, you can't get any type of electronic signal in or out. Coatings like the paint mentioned in the article are becoming more and more and common,and I think we're going to see a lot more multi-use coatings like this in the future. At the moment, they are extremely expensive, but as the price drops, this will become a pretty standards feature in a lot of new constructions where buildings are put up in close proximity to each other and interference tends to be a big problem. Conversely, you can always just get a few rolls of Reynolds Wrap and poster your walls with that.
    • by customizedmischief (692916) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:22PM (#18479815)
      I have a paranoid client who would use a product like this in the real world as well. Their house was constructed with gypsum panels with aluminum backed paper. All of the custom cabinetry is steel. The windows are something special too. The place is cool as hell. No, I can't get a cellphone signal in there. The place was designed to keep the radio waves out, not in, but it works both ways. I wouldn't put that place up against a determined nsa van, but it is really impressive what the gets blocked. As far as I know, none of those panels are intentionally bonded to ground, so it could be a lot better.

      This place has a "safe room" too, but it's just the place where they put new plastic products coming into the house for a month or two to let them outgas most of their VOCs. I get my chuckles about it, and I'm not allowed to go there if I put on deodorant that day, but I have to admit that the air quality in there is superb. Placebo or not, I always feel better after working there for a day.
  • MS Paint (Score:4, Funny)

    by c00rdb (945666) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:04AM (#18479177)
    I agree with this article completely. I have been using MS products for years and I found that MS Paint is the one program that has never had any exploits. If I could somehow run everything through Paint, I'm sure my network would be much more secure.
  • Sure, paint three walls and knock out the fourth so you can get access in the next room (or the same room now). Repeat until wireless signal is available *only* throughout office or home. Quick, shut down the wireless network, I need to open the front door. Why's it so dark in here ... oh ya we painted over the Windows.
  • If NASA can receive data from a ~10 watt transmitter at a distance of 10 billion miles, I'm sure that it's possible for someone to read the leakage from any signals inside the building from a distance of 1 block, no matter how much "shielding" is slapped onto the walls.
    • If NASA can receive data from a ~10 watt transmitter at a distance of 10 billion miles, I'm sure that it's possible for someone to read the leakage from any signals inside the building from a distance of 1 block, no matter how much "shielding" is slapped onto the walls.

      I'm not so sure - the product is described as "Multi-layer" and a "System" So I don't actually know how they are doing it... is it really Liguid only, or is it an adhesive to roll on aluminum matting that is then grounded? The article is very light on details. However, the Company website claims TEMPEST certification for the product. If that claim is true, then NASA would not be able to read those transmission through that wall. However, if the TEMPEST claim is true, then the side speculation elsewhere

    • But now you're talking diminishing returns.

      Let's take wireless in a corporation, for example. There's a great value-add to having wireless in places like conference rooms - and as I've found in my work, even in the cube-realm. I can take my laptop into any office and stay connected. It's so nice that I've given up use of a PDA for the first time in 6 years or so, and no more need to sync.

      Anyways, from my experience the corporation knows about the flaws in wireless and would love to be able to ensure that
  • I wont even read the article. How do you figure you can contain a WLAN signal? What about the windows? And the doors? Can you still make cell phone calls from within? Or listen radio indoors?
    I think the idea is stupid. I hope they didn't blow much VC money with this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by karnal (22275)
      I thought about this as well; however, if you think about it - this paint could really help in certain areas.

      Let's say you have a need for wireless in a data center. Most data centers I've been to have 0 windows - windows just aren't energy efficient enough to have in a data center; in addition, if someone wanted in from the outside, they'd just smash a window. Those servers would start to look like gold to a thief.....

      Anyways, any secured area that you might want a specific network on wireless could have
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fizzl (209397)
        Actually I can think of a use for itmyself, too. The way we are testing wireless forensics or mobile viruses is to set up and actual real life environment. No emulation, but real hardware itself. At the moment this calls for renting of an underground military machine shed/hangar which is naturally signal shielded by helluva lot of rock/soil on it. It would be lot more efficient just to have a test lab which is painted with this.
        And ofcourse building a faraday cage would be just as efficient, but it's always
      • I have equipment in a top-one-percent data center. They DO have Windows, but have those holy blinds to cut down on heat in the summer (free cooling in the winter, I guess. LOL).

        It's not much of a security concern, because breaking into a data center on the 8th floor is tricky enough that you couldn't do it fast enough for the security guards not to notice.

        NOW, I suppose, you could rapell down 10 stories from the roof, come in through the windows, and kill all the security guards one by one as they came to i
  • Blog article links to another, dated February 2007 on how to hack a WEP network. Gee, 2 years ago Tomshardware had a tutorial, and by then it was already old news. ForceFieldWireless (among others) has had a "wifi paint" product on the market for years.

    Not too useful for many people, I suppose. I mean, a properly secured wireless network with a sensible admin should be able to monitor break ins. For stuff you want to restrict on site, Cat-5 (or -6) works pretty well, and there's much less RF crap to shield
  • It conducts electricity, so it will act as a Faraday shield. Considering that it's not particularly popular now, you can probably "secure" a room for considerably less that this paint will cost.
  • by laurensv (601085) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:14AM (#18479279) Homepage
    When 14 or so people were to be moved to adjacent building, it was my job (ITmanager) to make sure they had all there network services.
    So I asked for wires to every room and one wireless spot in the middle, the DECT repeater in the hallway not far off was enough to get good reception in every room.
    A week before they change places I checkt the new cables, new fiber to the spot, the wireless, it all works.
    The day they move, I get scrambled calls about the wireless not working properly and the phones even worse.
    What happened? The last day the creative head decided everybody needed one or more magneticly painted walls so they can hang work/memos/etc without having leaving little holes in the wall everytime.
    So I needed a new DECTrepeater (and new cables from the PABX, which would have cost a little extra when the fiber was laid in place; but now costs as much for the work) and even now 3 rooms down the phone service isn't great, wireless in those rooms sucks.
  • I placed my WiFi router in my basement. I can pick up the signal anywhere in my house and about a 10-foot perimeter around my house. Anything beyond that the signal is too weak (including the road) with the several WiFi adapters I've tried. Forget WEP...don't need it!! This allows friends to easily use their laptops inside my house without bothering with WEP setup.

    Yeah yeah yeah...so it ain't perfect and maybe someone could use a super-sensitive receiver, but if someone is gonna try that hard to snif
    • I'm in the same boat, I hung the router on a floor joist. I also run Hotspot software (a la internet cafe) and just type in a password for whatever guest happens to be there (frequent guests just get their own account).

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @11:36AM (#18479473) Homepage
    http://www.rustoleum.com/product.asp?frm_product_i d=644&SBL=1 [rustoleum.com]

    painted my daughters room with it OVER 3 YEARS AGO and it does the exact same thing. we lost cellphone coverage in that room (aluminum screens and storm windows complete the circuit)

    The overpriced paint mentioned in that article and I have see elsewhere for the tinfoil-hat crowd is no better than the el-cheapo rustoleium primer applied as 3 coats so that fridge magnets happily adhere to the wall.

    • Funny - we did the same thing with our daughter's room a couple years ago as well (used primer with iron filings in it). She asked for it, but of course hardly takes advantage of it.

      I'm not sure the stereotypical Slashdot geek would like this solution though - a gallon can of that primer was bloody heavy! Plus mixing it wasn't exactly a picnic...
  • So, if you have a disgruntled employee, all they need to do is stick a tack in the wall. Instant nearly invisible outside access. I bet even a pushpin holding the latest calendar up on the wall would do the trick, and not even need to be intentional.

    Oh, and there are those pesky doors and windows to deal with too.

    But look at the bright side, you cant be paged or get a SMS call when the servers go down. :)
  • Wasn't there some sort of big regulatory brouhaha (e.g. blocking E911 signals) when movie theaters tried this to silence cell phones? I could just imagine the fan-excrement collision when one of the employees turns out to be a ham radio nut and starts quoting chapter and verse out of the ARRL handbook. I saw this happen once when my college tried to institute a blanket ban on antennas hanging out of dorm windows (a number of students had small dishes out the windows to pirate satellite TV). Apparently there
  • If it blocks cell phones this could be a very good thing for public places like movie theaters. Too many people still haven't figured out how to turn off their cell phone or even worse they talk loudly during a movie. Sure if they are talking you can get someone from the staff to remove them, but it is still interrupting the movie.
  • can be safely used to protect wireless networks in business and government facilities.

    Funny, I work for the government and there is no directive saying that we can install wireless if we use EM-shielding paint. We still have to do far more fancy things to secure our wireless infrastructure.

    This is a nice slashvertisement, though.
  • This is probably ineffective against anyone with a decent antenna. All it takes is a slot bigger than a wavelength and RF will leak through. You might not be able to pick up the leak with the tiny omnidirectional antenna on a laptop, but a directional antenna, even the classic Pringles can, will provide significantly more gain.

    Real TEMPEST-shielded rooms [panashield.com] are solid steel, with welded seams, mesh over any opening, fiber optic data connections, filters on the power, and an airlock-type arrangement with co

  • Am I the only one disapointed that this article is NOT about MS Paint havign some, previously unkown, abilities to secure a network?

    cmon, it is one of MS's best programs yet after all...
  • I am excited about this. Not because it "protect wireless networks in business and government facilities" but that it could be used to help protect me from business and government facilities. Not me personally but protect the people, in general, against what seems to be an every increasing attack on privacy from within our own government (the USA).

    It seems that this would have a lot of applications beyond simple WiFi blocking and should block or reduce RF in general. I'd like to know the spectrum it has
  • Tin foil paint! Can you paint your head with it? If it blocks EM radiation then it has to be great to keep them from reading your thoughts. I might even paint the dog with it.

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