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Security Wireless Networking Hardware

Researchers Crack WPA Wi-Fi Encryption 311

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-they'll-know-my-secrets dept.
narramissic writes "Researchers Erik Tews and Martin Beck 'have just opened the box on a whole new hacker playground, says Dragos Ruiu, organizer of the PacSec conference. At the conference, Tews will show how he was able to partially crack WPA encryption in order to read data being sent from a router to a laptop. To do this, Tews and Beck found a way to break the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) key, used by WPA, in a relatively short amount of time: 12 to 15 minutes. They have not, however, managed to crack the encryption keys used to secure data that goes from the PC to the router in this particular attack. 'Its just the starting point,' said Ruiu."
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Researchers Crack WPA Wi-Fi Encryption

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  • Meh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:53AM (#25661943)

    Cat5

  • Ha ha ha ha (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:54AM (#25661945)

    All your AP are belong to us.

    You have no chance to survive make your time.

  • 'Story' tag (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What's up with the 'story' tag? Perhaps we should also tag this 'words'?
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:56AM (#25661995)
    Is AES not the more secure of the two? From everything I have read, AES is the preffered option over TKIP.
    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:59AM (#25662033)

      Is AES not the more secure of the two? From everything I have read, AES is the preffered option over TKIP.

      I recall seeing some AP setups where TKIP was the default scheme.

      In the wide spectrum of Luddite to Novice to Hobbyist to Professional there are probably a bunch of users that might know enough to use WPA (perhaps from prodding from friends) and use the default settings with a key (either random or a passphrase).

    • Hahaha! (Score:5, Funny)

      by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:59AM (#25662043) Homepage
      I use WEP!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by prayag (1252246)

      I have a lot of problem connecting my XP box with AES encryption. If I use 3rd party, may be I could've but I changed my encryption to TKIP and it worked fine.

      So... There you go !!!

    • AES is more secure, so use it whenever possible.

      I don't know if WPA with AES has been cracked yet.

      Personally, I use WPA2 with AES.

      • by Vancorps (746090)

        How often do you run into users that can't connect? I've been stuck with WEP for a long time just because of the number of devices that don't support WPA.

        802.1x with PEAP against WEP isn't terrible although certainly not great. Only recently I've got 802.1x with PEAP using WPA and TKIP. AES support is still rather lacking although getting better. In another year I think I can jump to WPA2 with AES. Currently it's frustrating given that I support WIFI phones on a separate network that I'm forced to use WEP

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:12PM (#25662265)

      For the longest time, XP didn't come with AES/WPA support. You'd have to add this patch: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=662BB74D-E7C1-48D6-95EE-1459234F4483&displaylang=en [microsoft.com]

      I'm not sure if this was rolled into a newer SP. Many people couldn't access a WPA2 AP so manufacturers chose to just enable WPA as there was less chance of incompatibility.

      In my apartment complex, I'm one of two people who have WPA2 enabled. I'm the only one who has only WPA2 enabled.

      Heh, the captcha word is "paranoia".

    • by rpmayhem (1244360) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:25PM (#25662503)
      In short, yes, AES is more secure than TKIP.

      WPA and TKIP was really just a stepping stone to get people off WEP and heading toward WPA2 and AES. Wireless hardware built to run WEP didn't have the processing power to run AES (I think it needed a separate crypto processor just for AES). So they made the WPA standard run TKIP so current WEP hardware was able to use a better security setup. It was all intended to move everyone to WPA2 with AES after everyone had bought newer wireless cards and routers.

      Interestingly, this means if you have hardware that only supports WEP, and the vendor doesn't offer WPA support, it's because they are too lazy to implement it (or want you to buy the new stuff). The hardware can handle it, they just need to add it to the firmware. My work had some handheld units like this. We had to buy all new units.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Firethorn (177587)

        What's also funny is that my router gives me better throughput with WPA/AES than WEP.

        I've just figured that the router probably has a seperate chip to offload AES while WEP is done in the CPU, slowing stuff down.

        • by fataugie (89032) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:47PM (#25664637) Homepage

          What's also funny is that my router gives me better throughput with WPA/AES than WEP

          That's because your router is laughing at you using WEP in between encrypting/decrypting the packets....that's why it takes longer.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by g-san (93038)

            LOL! Is there a patch for that? He probably just needs to pull the UDP plug out the bottom and let all the dropped packets drain out. Where do you think they go when they are "dropped?" Dropped packet buildup has killed more routers than I can count.

    • by sempernoctis (1229258) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:41PM (#25662803)
      TKIP is not a cipher; it is a keying protocol. When you use TKIP, the actual cipher you are using is called RC4, which is older and has more known vulnerabilities than AES. It is also the cipher typically used by WEP, though the keying protocol WEP uses contains additional vulnerabilities. TKIP basically takes RC4, which was designed to encrypt a single stream of data, and creates a protocol around it for sending arbitrary packets, which may not be reliably delivered. WPA2 provides a more secure way to similarly wrap the AES cipher, but retains support for TKIP/RC4 for legacy devices.
    • by dohnut (189348) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:44PM (#25662863)

      AES and TKIP are not apples to apples. AES is an encryption algorithm. TKIP basically handles the keys that the encryption algorithm uses.

      A better apples to apples comparison would be between the encryption algorithms (RC4 and AES) or the key managers (TKIP and CCMP).

      Generally, WPA uses TKIP/RC4 and WPA2 (802.11i) uses CCMP/AES.

      WPA (TKIP/RC4) was supposed to be a bridge between WEP and WPA2. WPA used RC4 (just like WEP) but enhanced (TKIP) in order improve security while using existing (WEP/RC4) hardware.

      WPA2 has always been considered more secure than WPA on paper though until this there has never been a documented exploit for either of them.

    • by JackHoffman (1033824) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:44PM (#25662867)

      AES is a cypher. TKIP is a protocol, the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol, to be precise. The cypher used by WEP and WPA/TKIP is RC4. TKIP is what keeps changing the RC4 key to avoid the attacks on WEP, for which the attacker needs to collect many packets which have been encrypted with the same key. TKIP was invented to salvage older hardware, which only implemented the RC4 cypher.

      It is important to know that WEP's weakness is not simply a vulnerable cypher, but a vulnerability of the crypto system. The announcement states that the attack on WPA/TKIP does not actually crack the key, so this too looks like a vulnerability of the crypto system. That highlights the importance of crypto system design. You can't just take a "secure" cypher and be done with it. The protocol surrounding that cypher is just as important.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by psydeshow (154300)

      Look, obviously TKIP is more secure, becuase it has more letters.

      You geek types are always saying I should use a longer password, right? This is the same thing.

      And anyway, they wouldn't make it an option if it wasn't secure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bendodge (998616)

      I use WPA2 AES with a 128-bit key, but even the 'advanced' DD-WRT v24sp2 router firmware I'm using had TKIP as the default. I think it's for XP compatibility, but SP3 includes WPA2 and PNRP now [cnet.com].

  • It's a ploy! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dmomo (256005) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:59AM (#25662045) Homepage

    OMG! We need routers w/ better encryption. Buy router company and encryption company stocks! Everyone run out to Best Buy and get a new router.

    Or, it just might be a real problem. /crumples tinfoil hat and pouts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MikeBabcock (65886)

      You mean like point-to-point IPSec? That already exists, and is quite usable on modern computers.

  • WPA2 is NOT broken (Score:5, Informative)

    by fractalus (322043) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:00PM (#25662057) Homepage

    Just WPA. WEP was already hideously broken but now WPA should also be considered broken. WPA2 is still safe.

    Although, if you really have data you're concerned about keeping safe, you should (a) use a wired network, (b) use IPSEC, or (c) both.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Quantos (1327889)
      It never ceases to amaze me that people want to trust wireless devices for secure purposes, anything that is sent through the air can be captured and worked on. But are wired solutions really anymore secure? I mean can't packets that go out still be captured and worked on?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:13PM (#25662283)

        It never ceases to amaze me that people want to trust wireless devices for secure purposes, anything that is sent through the air can be captured and worked on. But are wired solutions really anymore secure? I mean can't packets that go out still be captured and worked on?

        Using a wired connection over a wireless connection MINIMIZES the number of people who can look at the packets.

        After all sending data wirelessly gives anyone in the wireless device's area a chance to catch the packets as well as anyone that would normally have a shot on it via wired connection.

        You're still going to hit a router somewhere and be wired back in eventually, anyway.

        Wireless is foremost a technology of convenience rather than security.

      • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:56PM (#25663069)

        Nerds like to sit.
        You can sniff packets while sitting just about anywhere. In your kitchen. In your car. On the crapper.
        To tap a line, you usually have to get up, and you often have to use some archaic toolset like Screw.Driver or Flash.Light that you haven't supported since 3 forks ago.

      • by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:19PM (#25663471) Homepage Journal

        But are wired solutions really anymore secure? I mean can't packets that go out still be captured and worked on?

        Actually, unless you're doing seperate encryption, most wired connections today are less secure than wireless with proper security set.

        Part of the clue is with WEP - Wired Equivalent Privacy. The idea was that, at the time, to make the wireless connection as much of a pain to get into as a wireline. IE not very difficult in most circumstances. Today, due to the march of technology, WEP IS easier to get into than a wire, but not much less either.

        There are ways to sniff traffic today without breaching the wire, there's packet sniffers that can sit in the middle of a cable, etc... They just require either expensive equipment for ranged use or somebody actually getting to the wire.

        So, regardless if you have a wired or wireless connection, before you start putting financial or other private information onto a network, using a secure protocol is a very good idea. HTTPS, SSH, etc...

        Of course, if you want to be really secure, do something like WPA2/AES to the router, then VPN to the private network.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MikeBabcock (65886)

          You can always buy a decent network switch with 802.1x authentication and make your wired network significantly less open.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by element-o.p. (939033)

          Part of the clue is with WEP...but not muc less either

          I disagree. WEP was a marketing phrase -- "See? Our wireless networking gear is just as secure as traditional wired networks!" Unfortunately, it wasn't. WEP was flawed from the start because of some mistakes made in the implementation of encryption (I don't recall exactly what was wrong and I'm too lazy to Google it, but IIRC, they implemented RC4 incorrectly). A more telling clue about the security (or lack thereof) of WEP was in a quote I found while researching wireless networking for a c [gecko-ak.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thelasko (1196535)
      Great, now any new hardware I buy will be incompatible with my old hardware, again!
    • by bryanp (160522) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:09PM (#25662217)

      Although, if you really have data you're concerned about keeping safe, you should (a) use a wired network, (b) use IPSEC, or (c) both.

      Yep. I'm getting some remodeling done on my house right now. Some of my friends think I'm weird because I'm pulling cat5e around the house when everything I use is already working find with WPA2. (Tivo, PS3, etc..). It's only a matter of time before someone breaks WPA2, but by then I plan to have turned wireless off.

      • by Applekid (993327)

        I'm in the same boat of wanting to transition away from wireless after tasting it's sweet sweet succulence... except I'm not remodelling a house. Sure I currently use wireless just for gaming and Tivo but I would hate that leisure network to get compromised and then provide access to my computers where the real neat stuff lives.

        I know /. has to know of good resources to retrofit an existing prebuilt house with wire without me having to rip out all my walls, leave tripping obstacles all around the mouse, or

        • by bryanp (160522)

          I'm not ripping the walls out, nothing that ambitious. It's more a case of "We're ripping up carpet to put down laminate. Well, while the room is empty let's paint it. If I'm going to do that I might as well pull some speaker wire through the attic for some surrounds in the living room." While I'm at it I'm pulling cat5e through the attic and fishing it through the walls in a couple of key locations. If you're not comfortable doing that, then hire a local handyman type of person. In the current econo

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by lostfayth (1184371)

          Fairly easy, if you have a basement or attic (crawlspace) where you can drop wire. Cut a hole for an "old work" electrical box [hammerzone.com], and drill a hole in attic or basement to run the wire through. Run a fish wire through the hole in the attic/basement, and to the larger hole in the wall to pull some cat5 through, then run the wire to where you need it. Terminate and enjoy.

          Gets a little more tricky in multi-story houses or those without attic/basement, but that's the basic idea.

        • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:58PM (#25663121) Journal

          Go to the attic, you'll have access to the insides of the walls from above. Drop a chain with a weight down an interior wall (so there's no insulation in the way). Cut a hole in the drywall for your ethernet jack. Guide the weight to the hole, a strong magnet(perhaps from a hard drive) can help here. Then just attach your cat5 to the end of the chain, go back to the attic and pull it up. You can run the cat5 across the entire house in the attic and not worry about people tripping on it or anything. It's kind of shitty work, but it's doable if you're just a little bit handy.

          • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:21PM (#25663523) Journal

            Some notes on wiring -- either power or ethernet cable.
            1. Drill two holes in the header, each about 1/2" in diameter, about 2" apart. You put a flashlight over one so you can see what you're doing when you drop the line down the other.
            2. On the bottom end, cut a full-sized hole for a standard rework box. You can get standard wall faceplates for snap-in Cat5 outlets. I generally wire with double-hole faceplates, and put a phone cord in the lower one and Cat5 in the upper. A rework box hole gives you a large enough opening that you can get your hand in there and grab stuff. Pull the wire out and run it into a rework box and put that in the wall. (if you have really big hands you might not be able to do this. Find someone with smaller hands or run a loop of wire into the wall first, then drop the wire from the top, through the loop, and then pull the loop out the hole.)

            By using an adjacent hole to admit light, I can usually manage to drop a wire into an existing box if I've punched out the knockout on the top, with a bit of care.

            Note that all this advice, and the parent poster advice, all assume you don't have firebreaks inside the wall. Many newer houses have 2x4's across the wall halfway up, to keep the space between the walls acting like a chimney. In that case you're going to be cutting drywall and/or finding a seriously long drillbit. (It's possible to weld a drillbit onto the end of a 3' piece of mild steel rod, but it's pretty unpleasant to use.)

            • CAT5 in Australia (Score:3, Interesting)

              by labnet (457441)

              And if you live in Australia it is *ILLEGAL* for you to run your own cat5 in dry wall. You need to have a special licence that not even electricians have.
              Welcome to the REAL nanny country!

      • Yep. I'm getting some remodeling done on my house right now. Some of my friends think I'm weird because I'm pulling cat5e around the house when everything I use is already working find with WPA2. (Tivo, PS3, etc..).

        The only reason you need: "they don't sell gigabit wireless equipment at Newegg yet."

        It's only a matter of time before someone breaks WPA2, but by then I plan to have turned wireless off.

        Why? I've taken the approach of assuming my WLAN is compromised and throwing it wide open. Wanna connect? Hop on! You can't really do anything but surf the web and try to connect to my mailserver (via enforced TLS and with a username/password), but I won't stop you.

        • by dnoyeb (547705)

          It stands to reason that ethernet will always be much much faster than wireless.

          My wireless is not wide open, but I consider it insecure. Its firewalled off so the only thing accessible is the internet. I do allow ssh into my local network, and I also have a music server accessible over wireless. Just until I run the CAT5 to my stereo.

      • by Ralish (775196) <ralish@gma i l . c om> on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:32PM (#25662629)

        I have a hard time seeing the point of this, and the rationale behind other similar moves. Here's why:

        Firstly, advances in computing power and security research are always going to result in security schemes being broken, but these broken security mechanisms will always be replaced and improved. Provided you keep up to date with current security practices, and as a Slashdot reader, I assume you can and will, you're really not in any danger at all.

        Further, there's numerous other security options you can enable both at the wireless level and the network level to further protect your network, alongside good security practices with existing WPA2 (e.g. maximum length WPA key consisting of random characters and numbers). For example, MAC Address whitelisting, a strong password on the AP, and enabling AP configuration changes to occur only through wired connections. A half decent wireless AP should expose all of these options.

        This is more than enough to deter all but the most dedicated hacker. I'm not going to pull random statistics out of my behind, but I would wager that only a ridiculously tiny amount of wireless intrusions are done by experienced hackers, and experienced hackers tend to have an agenda beyond "leeching your tubes". The above security options, if all enabled and correctly configured (as in my home network) goes above and beyond what is required to stop the casual or even experienced war driver in their tracks.

        But let's say that somehow, they do manage to break your wireless security. Well, if your network is properly set up, they now have another round of security to get through that should be even tougher. Here, digital signing and encryption of all network communications between Windows machines on the domain is required by policy, no exceptions. This is one example of many.

        If someone out there is really willing to go to all that effort to break into your HOME network and access your personal data, you have VERY serious problems. From a corporate network perspective, of course, things might be entirely different.

        Bottom line: I have a hard time seeing the point of abandoning wireless due to security concerns in home networks, as a properly secured wireless network and home network will easily defeat all but the most determined and skilled hackers.

        And finally, why did you buy into wireless at all in the first place if you were so concerned about security? Everyone knew that WEP was rubbish before it was even cracked (which didn't take long). WPA was a vast improvement over WEP, but even it had its flaws, and this was also well known among those concerned. I find it strange that you're getting out of wireless now, when a look at the whole picture shows that wireless security has improved immensely since the initial takeup of wireless. The real problem is people not moving to these new security setups, and staying with WEP or worse.

        • Excellent points. But you forgot the part about attempting to subvert one or more of the standing governments and / or economies from the average slashdotter's basement.

          That's dangerous work, friend. Can't be too careful.

          Oh, and you can't let your mom find out about your porn. She and her friends could be snooping around at this very moment!
      • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:41PM (#25662781) Homepage

        Some of my friends think I'm weird because I'm pulling cat5e around the house when everything I use is already working find with WPA2.

        You are weird if you're doing that because of security concerns. Here's a hint: no one cares about your wireless network. No, really, they don't.

        That said, given how flakey wireless can be, running cable is only sensible, particularly given it makes it easy to run additional telephones, etc, as well.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192)

          You are weird if you're doing that because of security concerns. Here's a hint: no one cares about your wireless network. No, really, they don't.

          Joe the Pedo cares a lot about getting free untraceable internet access. I care a lot about not getting my house raided because someone abused my network.

          • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:49PM (#25664655) Journal

            Joe the Pedo cares a lot about getting free untraceable internet access.

            Oh no you don't. If the politicians don't get to use the "think of children" excuse to justify increased surveillance, shredding the Constitution, and guilty-until-proven-innocent, then we don't get to use it as an explanation for our security decisions. Let's not have a double standard here; one standard will do just fine.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Hatta (162192)

              It's not a double standard. I'm not using fear of pedophiles to justify not sharing my wifi, I'm using fear of the government to justify not sharing my wifi. That I think is entirely appropriate here. The FBI can, and does, raid people for nothing more than clicking on an URL. That's not paranoia, that's a fact.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by MasterNetHead (920728)
          Its funny... my neighbors are probably thinking the same thing.
      • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:47PM (#25662909) Journal

        Don't install cat5, install conduit. Then you can pull whatever you want, wherever you want, at any point in the future with ease.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by orielbean (936271)
          You can use the old Cat5 as a wire fish to piggyback and attach to the fancypants new wiring that the kids of the future will need; conduit can get expensive.
    • Are we talking about different levels of WPA here? A friend of mine cracked WPA almost a year ago, using a linux box with freely available cracking software. I don't remember the details now, but I think he needed to be listening while someone logged in and then was online for at least half an hour.

    • by D Ninja (825055)

      Although, if you really have data you're concerned about keeping safe, you should not use the Internet at all.

      There, fixed that for you.

  • Is it just me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jazz-Masta (240659) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:00PM (#25662075)

    or is anything worth protecting worth using CAT5 on?

    Most banks and government institutions don't use WIFI because of the security vulnerabilities. Granted CAT5 doesn't have have security to access (like wifi tkip/aes key), but it is physically secure, which is at the same level of security as the physical machines themselves.

    I find WIFI performance and coverage to be dodgy at best. It's an absolute pain to support.

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      or is anything worth protecting worth using CAT5 on?

      The truly paranoid use fiber. Google "TEMPEST security" for hours of fun. (Tinfoil hat is optional.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitalchinky (650880)

        You bend fiber just right and you can sense and demodulate the data stream. Unfortunately the act of doing this can also be detected since it causes signal degradation. This doesn't imply that detection is always going to happen though.

    • by ServerIrv (840609)

      Any time I'm using a wireless connection I immediately connect to a VPN (ssh tunnel or OpenVPN) and tunnel all of my traffic through there. From a users standpoint, you then don't care if you connect to a utterly suspect WEP AP or now a maybe secure WPA AP. You can double bag the connection if you don't trust any intermediary nodes. Unless you encrypt the data (not just the connection), you have to trust that the nodes after your VPN connection are OK. If you don't trust, encrypt; once your data is in t

  • by Seakip18 (1106315) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:06PM (#25662173) Journal

    If I remember reading right, a few years ago, TKIP client encryption was always able to be broken. The catch was that you had to capture the packets with the handshake between the access point and the client. This could be done by breaking the signal and capturing the ensuing reconnect. AES fixed this problem.

    I think this may have been if you wanted to actually decrypt the data between the two though and that meant having the WPA key, which these guys have broken. Before this, as the article states, the only thing was a dictionary attack. So, I wonder if you combine the two, can you intercept data and successfully look at it.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:27PM (#25662519)

      If I remember reading right, a few years ago, TKIP client encryption was always able to be broken. The catch was that you had to capture the packets with the handshake between the access point and the client. This could be done by breaking the signal and capturing the ensuing reconnect. AES fixed this problem.

      I think this may have been if you wanted to actually decrypt the data between the two though and that meant having the WPA key, which these guys have broken. Before this, as the article states, the only thing was a dictionary attack. So, I wonder if you combine the two, can you intercept data and successfully look at it.

      TKIP is a nasty hack, actually. It's designed to work with chipsets with onboard WEP encryption/decryption (it re-uses the RC4 hardware), and its security was always quite low (which is why it always re-keys itself every hour by default). It has mechanisms to detect and prevent replay attacks, as well as message integrity checks in case someone manages to break through the protections. It's final defense is a complete shut down of the network and a re-keying of everyone if it detects 2 or 3 MIC failures (the network literally shuts down for a minute).

      These days, modern chipsets can do AES in hardware, and there's no reason to use TKIP anymore except in legacy applications (which still exist - though modern software can often just offload the AES in software).

  • Well duh... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zakabog (603757) <[moc.guamj] [ta] [nhoj]> on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:07PM (#25662199)

    Does anyone seriously treat any wireless transmission as if it was secure? If anyone who cares to listen can easily pick up everything being sent from your computer it's only a matter of time and CPU power before they can read it.

    Yes I know, the article mentions they actually found a more efficient method of cracking WPA than a simple brute force attack, and that is a flaw in WPA not wireless security. Although while they may come up with new encryption methods I still don't trust wireless for much more than browsing slashdot or searching google. If I need to do anything that involves sensitive information like ordering something online I can wait to go to a wired desktop.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by plague3106 (71849)

      Does anyone seriously treat any wireless transmission as if it was secure? If anyone who cares to listen can easily pick up everything being sent from your computer it's only a matter of time and CPU power before they can read it.

      Well, secure enough. I have WPA2 and AES with RADIUS setup... but as far as recording the transmitted data and decrypting it later, you can use tempest to snoop on Cat5 packets too.. so, I'm not sure wired vs. wireless is that relevent.

    • SSL and SSH were tested for enough time for using them over wireless. Of course, you'll have to assure that the endpoints aren't compromissed, but that is always a problem, not only for wireless.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228)
      You'd be surprised how many times I've walked around the corner to the local cafe to get me a nice coffee and see folks doing their banking,using their CC,etc on the cafe free wifi. Hell I wouldn't even have to do packet sniffing on those that sit towards the center,as either of the two table nooks by the door allow me to see the screen and keyboard of anybody at the lower center tables quite easily. I think it is pretty obvious that folks don't have a clue when it comes to security in public.
      • Re:Well duh... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by 404 Clue Not Found (763556) * on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:29PM (#25663615)

        I do this at cafes from time to time. Over https, what does it matter if the hotspot is open? I guess I should be wary of creeps recording me with a camera or webcam, but is anyone really that bored? And most banks these days don't hold you liable for unauthorized transactions anyway.

        Though I suppose it does get dangerous if they don't initiate the session over https (i.e. bookmark https://www.mymostlysecurebank.com/ [mymostlysecurebank.com] and instead type it in manually (www.mynotsosecurebank.com), since the latter could easily be hijacked prior to the typical auto-redirect to https.

  • by Keramos (1263560) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:14PM (#25662305)

    So, the headlines blare "WPA is cracked!!!!", but the researchers themselves say they haven't cracked the keys used to encrypt the data and all they have is a "starting point".

    So, how is WPA cracked and useless, again??

    I suppose maybe we'll see at the PacSec conference.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by AdmiralXyz (1378985)
      For two reasons:

      1) Even if it isn't completely broken, any kind of significant attack, as this most certainly is, is reason enough to switch to a more secure system if one is available. This revelation, combined with that Russian breakthrough of using GPUs to brute-force WPA keys in very little time, is evidence that WPA is very close to being insecure and inadvisable for use as a wireless security protocol, if it isn't already.

      2) Alarmist headlines always have been the de facto when it comes to secur
  • Secure Wi-Fi (Score:2, Informative)

    by extract (889530)
    Use WPA 2, AES, create private network, MAC address lock on, turn off SNMP, if your router allows it: Reduce transmission strength (Mine is reduced to 10%). Some Windows laptops cannot use WPA2 or AES due to obsolete Wi-Fi card, change the card in the laptop to fix the problem.
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

      Problem is handheld devices such as the PSP are yet to support it - they're TKIP only. Worse, even if you switch the router to accept both type of encryption it breaks some devices which can only understand a router in tkip-only mode.

  • why not RSA? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Bitman (95493) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:37PM (#25662721) Homepage

    As a serious question, the ignorant wanting to be enlightened: Why don't wireless access points just use some well-known and tested public key encryption? What problem is being solved by WEP/WPA/etc which simply broadcasting (or for the paranoid: copying over with a USB key) a regular old public key wouldn't cover?

    • Re:why not RSA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:20PM (#25663497) Homepage Journal

      Why don't wireless access points just use some well-known and tested public key encryption? What problem is being solved by WEP/WPA/etc which simply broadcasting (or for the paranoid: copying over with a USB key) a regular old public key wouldn't cover?

      Why public key? What problem is solved by using public key schemes, with their corresponding complexity, poor performance and large, unwieldy keys?

      The question you SHOULD ask is: "Why don't wireless access points just use some well-known and tested symmetric key encryption?"

      The answer is: They do. The cipher is called AES and the WiFi security scheme that uses it is called WPA2. What's been broken is the stuff that's still based on the RC4 cipher, which has some well-known flaws.

  • So, given that my key gets rotated every 5 min, am I safe from their attack that takes 10-15? Now, assuming that the crack time scales with the resources thrown at it, it would seem that this isn't a safe bet.

    One thing that did interest me was this:

    A new wireless standard known as WPA2 is considered safe from the attack developed by Tews and Beck

    For how long?

    • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

      Not really.. if you capture the data stream somewhere you can take all the time you like to break the key.

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