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Wi-Fi 802.11 Hacked

A vulnerability just found in the 802.11 wireless standard will allow a remote attacker to jam all wireless networks within a one kilometer radius using a standard Wi-Fi PDA or similar wireless enabled device.

According to the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team, AusCERT, this new attack specifically exploits the CCA function at the physical layer and causes all WLAN nodes within range of the “jamming” device to defer transmission of data regardless of them being an access point or client.

In the past, attacks against publicly accessible IEEE 802.11 networks have required specialized hardware and the ability to saturate the wireless frequency with high-power radiation. This new method is a low-cost conspicuous method feasible by an average skilled hacker using easily obtainable, if not already obtained equipment.

“At this time, AusCERT continues to recommend that the application of wireless technology should be precluded from use in safety, critical infrastructure and/or other environments where availability is a primary requirement. Operators of wireless LANs
should be aware of the increased potential for undesirable activity directed at their networks.” states the AusCERT advisory.

About Fabrizio Pilato

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