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Risk

1/3/2008
02:16 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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Is There A Wi-Fi Flu Waiting To Happen?

We've all talked a lot about wireless security (or lack thereof) and hotspot vulnerabilities and other perils of the wireless world. But researchers at Indiana University suggest that wireless routers may be a perfect medium for communicating contagious malware.

We've all talked a lot about wireless security (or lack thereof) and hotspot vulnerabilities and other perils of the wireless world. But researchers at Indiana University suggest that wireless routers may be a perfect medium for communicating contagious malware.According to the researchers, the combination of overlapping Wi-Fi coverage areas and lax Wi-Fi router security offers an appealing medium for the transmission of contagionware -- attack software specifically designed to infect a wireless router and spread to overlapping routers.

While WPA encryption stops the (so far) theoretical virus vector in its wireless tracks, the researchers note that the older but still common (or prevalent) WEP only slows its progress. Unsecured routers and those retaining their factory-installed passwords actually help it spread.

Within 24-48 hours of such an attack on a wireless-dense urban are, up to 55 percent of the area's overlapping routers could be infected, the researchers said.

This one's still theoretical, but I wouldn't bet on it remaining that way for long. And even if it does, no excuse for not covering your own business's wireless tracks with WPA-certified devices.

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