Looking Back At Wireless Security In 2003
by Berislav Kucan - Friday, 26 December 2003.
In June, we've seen a big plus going to wireless networks, when Intel Corp.'s Chief Financial Officer Andy Bryant said his company had found that the security offered by a "controlled wireless network" was superior to computer security regimes that traditionally have blocked wireless access as a threat. The end of the June was marked by a third World Wide WarDrive. This is an effort by security professionals and hobbyists to generate awareness of the need by individual users and companies to secure their access points. The results showed that things are going better, as the number of WEP enabled networks went up and both numbers of default SSID and default SSID + No WEP networks went down.

I need to mention AirDefense one more time, but in July they did another interesting thing. During the 802.11 Planet Expo in Boston, they monitored WLAN activity and published their findings. The results showed a lot of malicious activity. Citing the "explosion" of wireless hotspots in public spaces, homes and businesses, IBM Corp. in October unveiled a new managed intrusion detection service targeted at wireless networks. According to Shane Robison, HP executive VP, HP has security projects in development such as moving its SSL-based VPN technology to 802.11 wireless networks.

November brought us "Weakness in Passphrase Choice in WPA Interface" by Robert Moskowitz, a senior technical director at ICSA Labs, part of TruSecure Corp. In his paper, Mr. Moskowitz describes a number of problems with the new WPA standard, including the ability of attackers to sniff critical information from wireless traffic and to discover the value of a wireless network's security key.

As people have a lot of imagination, these are some of the phrases you'll stumble upon any day now: Warwalking, Warwatching, WiLDing, Warbiking, Warhiking, Bluejacking and Bluestumbling.


Although the software products I will mention weren't released in 2003, they were quite often updated during the past 12 months and received a fair amount of exposure in wireless security related discussions.

AirSnort is currently in version 0.2.3. Microsoft Windows users were pleasantly surprised when AirSnort developers announced in February that AirSnort alpha is working on the Windows platform. After some AiroPeek reverse engineering (this software does monitor mode style wireless packet capture, and as the AirSnort developer noted, it was easier to do some reverse engineering than learning to write Windows drivers), AirSnort can be run on Windows. Many Windows running wannabe wardrivers were happy with this news, but the developer noted: "I literally just got this running and I have not had a lot of time to debug anything". From the software's point of view, there were some new patches released - orinoco patch for orinoco-0.13d/0.13e drivers and dsniff patches to allow dsniffing in monitor mode.


Harnessing artificial intelligence to build an army of virtual analysts

PatternEx, a startup that gathered a team of AI researcher from MIT CSAIL as well as security and distributed systems experts, is poised to shake up things in the user and entity behavior analytics market.

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