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New attack cracks common Wi-Fi encryption in a minute
Network World ^ | 27 August 2009 | Robert McMillan

Posted on 08/28/2009 10:58:25 AM PDT by ShadowAce

Computer scientists in Japan say they've developed a way to break the WPA encryption system used in wireless routers in about one minute.

The attack gives hackers a way to read encrypted traffic sent between computers and certain types of routers that use the WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption system. The attack was developed by Toshihiro Ohigashi of Hiroshima University and Masakatu Morii of Kobe University, who plan to discuss further details at a technical conference set for Sept. 25 in Hiroshima.

Last November, security researchers first showed how WPA could be broken, but the Japanese researchers have taken the attack to a new level, according to Dragos Ruiu, organizer of the PacSec security conference where the first WPA hack was demonstrated. "They took this stuff which was fairly theoretical and they've made it much more practical," he said.

They Japanese researchers discuss their attack in a paper presented at the Joint Workshop on Information Security, held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan earlier this month.

The earlier attack, developed by researchers Martin Beck and Erik Tews, worked on a smaller range of WPA devices and took between 12 and 15 minutes to work. Both attacks work only on WPA systems that use the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) algorithm. They do not work on newer WPA 2 devices or on WPA systems that use the stronger Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm.

The encryption systems used by wireless routers have a long history of security problems. The Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) system, introduced in 1997, was cracked just a few years later and is now considered to be completely insecure by security experts.

WPA with TKIP "was developed as kind of an interim encryption method as Wi-Fi security was evolving several years ago," said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director with the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry group that certifies Wi-Fi devices. People should now use WPA 2, she said.

Wi-Fi-certified products have had to support WPA 2 since March 2006. "There's certainly a decent amount of WPA with TKIP out in the installed base today, but a better alternative has been out for a long time," Davis-Felner said.

Enterprise Wi-Fi networks typically include security software that would detect the type of man-in-the-middle attack described by the Japanese researchers, said Robert Graham, CEO of Errata Security. But the development of the first really practical attack against WPA should give people a reason to dump WPA with TKIP, he said. "It's not as bad as WEP, but it's also certainly bad."

Users can change from TKIP to AES encryption using the administrative interface on many WPA routers.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: cyberattacks; cybersecurity; encryption; wireless; wpa

1 posted on 08/28/2009 10:58:26 AM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

2 posted on 08/28/2009 10:58:41 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

Pingaling


3 posted on 08/28/2009 11:01:09 AM PDT by Danae (- Conservative does not equal Republican. Conservative does not compromise.)
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To: ShadowAce
Mac address filtering is your friend. :)

4 posted on 08/28/2009 11:03:11 AM PDT by TSgt (I long for Norman Rockwell's America.)
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To: ShadowAce

So much for security on my Wi-Fi at home. Guess it’s back to hardwiring for now.


5 posted on 08/28/2009 11:03:34 AM PDT by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: ShadowAce

6 posted on 08/28/2009 11:03:35 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: ShadowAce

My home office wireless router was installed by Verizon, and it has a WEP key printed right on the side of the unit. Should I be worried? Freeper experts, any feedback on how an average user can protect their wireless networks?


7 posted on 08/28/2009 11:03:36 AM PDT by Califelephant
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To: MikeWUSAF

If somebody wants to hack something bad enough and they have the time to do it, they will always find a way.


8 posted on 08/28/2009 11:04:34 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: MikeWUSAF

MAC filtering will prevent connection to and use of the WAP. But will it prevent the interception and decryption of wireless traffic?


9 posted on 08/28/2009 11:05:08 AM PDT by Hazwaste (Liberals love the average American the same way that foxes love the average chicken.)
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To: ShadowAce

Good. WPA2 is safe......for now.


10 posted on 08/28/2009 11:05:51 AM PDT by Red in Blue PA (If guns cause crime, then all of mine are defective!)
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To: Califelephant

WEP is the weakest of any security. Should be at least WPA.....preferably WPA2 if your router supports it.


11 posted on 08/28/2009 11:06:37 AM PDT by Red in Blue PA (If guns cause crime, then all of mine are defective!)
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To: Califelephant

I’m in I.T., but not an expert in wireless security. I use MAC filtering, WEP, and non-broadcasted SSID. Not perfect, but it’s the best that my WAP provides.

Don’t forget to change the default login and password for the WAP admin account.


12 posted on 08/28/2009 11:09:06 AM PDT by Hazwaste (Liberals love the average American the same way that foxes love the average chicken.)
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To: ShadowAce

Pinging you Ski, just in case you’re not on the tech list. This is scary.


13 posted on 08/28/2009 11:09:35 AM PDT by Miss Behave
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To: Petronski

Pinging you Ski, just in case you’re not on the tech list. This is scary.


14 posted on 08/28/2009 11:10:29 AM PDT by Miss Behave
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To: Califelephant

You may want to cover it up with a piece of tape.

The main reason to have your wireless network password protected is to keep your neighbors from using your network. Not so much to keep them from getting into your data, but to keep them from stealing your bandwidth (a neighbor kid downloading music and video can impact your speed.)

There are people that drive around looking for home networks to hack into to steal data, but there are so many unsecured (no password) home networks out there that they don’t need to hack into one with a password.

Unless one of your neighbors (or their kids) saw the password and wrote it down you are probably OK.


15 posted on 08/28/2009 11:11:42 AM PDT by Brookhaven (http://theconservativehand.blogspot.com/)
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To: ShadowAce

WPA 2 is pretty well established by now, having been part of the standard with which compliance is required since 2006 in order for the WiFi logo to be used on a product. If you have a pre-2006 router, maybe it’s time to upgrade. First, check to see if a firmware update is available which might provide WPA 2. Else, get a new router. They’re cheap and there have been speed, security and functionality improvements. My personal recommendation, after a lot of research, has been the D-Link DIR-655, for its speed and superb firewall.


16 posted on 08/28/2009 11:16:42 AM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast (Cheney/Palin 2012!)
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To: MikeWUSAF

yes


17 posted on 08/28/2009 11:22:00 AM PDT by mowowie
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To: MikeWUSAF; Hazwaste; dfwgator

MACs can be spoofed quite easily


18 posted on 08/28/2009 11:22:10 AM PDT by rabscuttle385 (May God save the American Republic.)
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To: Califelephant
"My home office wireless router was installed by Verizon, and it has a WEP key printed right on the side of the unit. Should I be worried?"

Much depends on what the password is, and what it pertains to. It may be a login password for the Verizon PPoE (or whatever) network, not the WiFi. If it's for the WiFi, then there are two issues: (1) Who has seen the password, and (2) Is the password a proper gobbledegook password, or is it some silly insecure default thing like "ADMIN" or "LINKSYS".

If it is indeed for your WiFi link, why not just change the password to be sure? It's generally not difficult, though you'll have to update the login for any computer or other device (printer, iPhone...) that accesses your WiFi network.
19 posted on 08/28/2009 11:22:38 AM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast (Cheney/Palin 2012!)
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To: Califelephant

Go to Staples and buy a new WPA2 wireless router for 30 bucks.


20 posted on 08/28/2009 11:23:31 AM PDT by mowowie
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To: Hazwaste

“Don’t forget to change the default login and password for the WAP admin account.”

Thats a biggie, if they can get into your wireless they can acess your router pretty easily.


21 posted on 08/28/2009 11:25:24 AM PDT by mowowie
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To: ShadowAce

WPA2 is still good for now. We’ll see for how long. BTT.


22 posted on 08/28/2009 11:26:29 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Brookhaven

“but there are so many unsecured (no password) home networks out there....”

I have one right here.
Last week while on my back deck listening to tunes on my laptop i realized that an un-secured network somewhere had a higher power reception than my own wireless router so i used their internet instead of mine for the day.
Worked great.


23 posted on 08/28/2009 11:31:13 AM PDT by mowowie
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To: ShadowAce

Thanks to all for the good suggestions.


24 posted on 08/28/2009 11:37:13 AM PDT by Califelephant
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To: MikeWUSAF

>> Mac address filtering is your friend. :)

Wow, you’re even more paranoid than me... you aren’t letting ANY mac ids connect! :-)


25 posted on 08/28/2009 11:40:15 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Stop dissing drunken sailors! At least they spend their OWN money.)
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To: rabscuttle385

>> MACs can be spoofed quite easily

True, but you kinda need to know what ID to spoof; that’s a little bit harder of a problem. Not insurmountable, but harder.


26 posted on 08/28/2009 11:42:06 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Stop dissing drunken sailors! At least they spend their OWN money.)
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To: ShadowAce

Interesting this originated in Japan.
From what I understand the laws are much harsher there.
You are held responsible for what is done with your equipment and a “hostile takeover” is not a valid excuse.
I’d be surprised if very many in Japan still used WEP.


27 posted on 08/28/2009 11:44:23 AM PDT by astyanax (I'm here to spread peace, love and happiness... so get the f*#% out of my way.)
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To: Nervous Tick; MikeWUSAF

>>>> Mac address filtering is your friend. :)

Wow, you’re even more paranoid than me... you aren’t letting ANY mac ids connect!<<

On my old Microsoft router, It was all I could get to work. I just got a new router and tried using actual security. It worked but when my daughter tried to get in using vista, instead of asking for the security code, it asked for a password and other data. We gave up and just had her use a neighbor’s unsecured wifi.


28 posted on 08/28/2009 11:51:52 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: RobRoy

>> We gave up and just had her use a neighbor’s unsecured wifi.

ROFL! Another happy Vista customer.


29 posted on 08/28/2009 11:53:34 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Stop dissing drunken sailors! At least they spend their OWN money.)
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To: Nervous Tick

Then break out Wireshark and start sniffing traffic. ;)


30 posted on 08/28/2009 11:56:21 AM PDT by rabscuttle385 (May God save the American Republic.)
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To: rabscuttle385

>> Then break out Wireshark and start sniffing traffic. ;)

Yeah, I guess a hacker could do that. Then he could break my WEP, and by golly, he’d be in!

I might get suspicious of that car in the cul-de-sac for a week, though. Not really close enough to any neighbors for someone to do it from an adjacent house.

I don’t know which is more pathetic — a guy like me who has a really boring on-line life, or a guy who would spend a lot of effort hacking the boring wifi comms of a guy like me. :-)


31 posted on 08/28/2009 12:08:05 PM PDT by Nervous Tick (Stop dissing drunken sailors! At least they spend their OWN money.)
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To: ShadowAce
A great man I once worked for used to say, "Locks are made to keep out honest people."

Lock up something of value and a crook will always find a way to break the lock.

32 posted on 08/28/2009 12:11:28 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Hope requires the contender, who sees no virtue in surrender.)
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To: Nervous Tick
I might get suspicious of that car in the cul-de-sac for a week, though. Not really close enough to any neighbors for someone to do it from an adjacent house.

I would set up a small self-contained box somewhere nearby but in a hidden area...and just let that sniff traffic for a while. Pick it up later and analyze the results.

33 posted on 08/28/2009 12:12:37 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (May God save the American Republic.)
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To: Nervous Tick

;)

Setting up my wifes Vista laptop was less of a challenge. I don’t remember why. With my daughter’s, I would click on my connection and it asked for information completely irrelevant to the actual key.


34 posted on 08/28/2009 12:13:24 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: rabscuttle385

>> I would set up a small self-contained box somewhere nearby but in a hidden area...and just let that sniff traffic for a while. Pick it up later and analyze the results.

Oh, THAT’S what that box is. You might want to find a more interesting location for it!


35 posted on 08/28/2009 12:19:05 PM PDT by Nervous Tick (Stop dissing drunken sailors! At least they spend their OWN money.)
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To: Nervous Tick

Lol.


36 posted on 08/28/2009 12:20:12 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (May God save the American Republic.)
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To: RobRoy

>> Setting up my wifes Vista laptop was less of a challenge. I don’t remember why.

On my brother’s, it went pretty well if he jacked into the router to set up his wireless. Fairly automatic, then unplug the cable and away you go.

Your daughter, on the other hand, must be on that special “federal watch list”. ;-)


37 posted on 08/28/2009 12:21:17 PM PDT by Nervous Tick (Stop dissing drunken sailors! At least they spend their OWN money.)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

A great man I once worked for used to say, “Locks are made to keep out honest people.”
Lock up something of value and a crook will always find a way to break the lock.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Criminals (like water) always follow the path of least resistance.

As long as you have a bigger lock than your neighbor you are good.


38 posted on 08/28/2009 12:26:56 PM PDT by Brookhaven (http://theconservativehand.blogspot.com/)
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To: mowowie; Brookhaven; ShadowAce
> Last week while on my back deck listening to tunes on my laptop i realized that an un-secured network somewhere had a higher power reception than my own wireless router so i used their internet instead of mine for the day. Worked great.

I don't doubt it. But you may have been compromised already, and if not you will be eventually.

An unsecured wireless is an obvious invitation to others. Well guess what? When you connect to such a network, you are a "peer" (on the same local net) to any other wireless user on that access point.

Including, of course, the guy who set it up, who has been waiting for you. Or the guy in the car, war-driving, and looking for victims. Bet on it -- there's a hacker who knows about, or set up, that unsecured wireless.

He is the spider in that web. As soon as you connect, he can connect to your computer. Unless you have strong passwords on your login accounts, he will be able to access your hard drive (e.g. on Windows using the default C$ share) with "administrator" privilege.

Connecting to an unsecured wireless is like having unprotected sex daily with strangers. Sooner or later you WILL get infected, or have your identity stolen, or your credentials copied.

It's a free country -- do as you wish. But at least, please use strong passwords, and a strong firewall that actively warns you of attempts to connect to your computer. That'll mitigate the danger a little.

39 posted on 08/28/2009 4:22:27 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: ShadowAce
Is this enough for Obama to declare a cyber-threat and shut down the nations's private internet?

See ya... it's been nice chatting with everyone...

-PJ

40 posted on 08/28/2009 4:26:12 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (Comprehensive congressional reform legislation only yields incomprehensible bills that nobody reads.)
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To: mowowie

Unsecured users are EXTREMELY common.

Years ago I got my hand on a Linksys wireless card. I didn’t have a service or a provider, so it sat on the shelf for a while.

Well, one day I plugged it in just to see and the darn thing connected!!

My neighbor had wireless with no security turned on.

So a couple months later. I charged the laptop battery good, set it on my front seat in my car, and just for the hell of it, started Network Stumbler and drove aroung the block.

I was hitting two to four wireless networks per block. Half or so of them unsecured.

The reason is people, probably most people, don’t want to be network engineers, they just want it to work out of the box. So they get the hardware, plug it in and turn it on, then do the minimal amount they need to get connected.

Part of the problem also being the people who run unsecured networks are also the people who never turned off sharing for their files and folders. Odds are very, very high that they’re infected.


41 posted on 08/28/2009 4:33:23 PM PDT by djf (The "racism" spiel is a crutch, those who unashamedly lean on it, cripples!)
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To: Califelephant

Do you have FIOS? My Verison FIOS router came with a default WEP key based on the MAC address. If you could get the router’s MAC address, you basically had the key. First thing I did was change the key.


42 posted on 08/29/2009 6:28:25 AM PDT by ken in texas
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To: ken in texas

Thanks Ken ... yes, I think there is a way to access the FIOS router from my PC ... I’ll spend some time figuring out how to do that (and change my key), this week.


43 posted on 08/30/2009 6:30:22 PM PDT by Califelephant
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