[ISN] FC: Doonesbury, Allen Hutchinson on 802.11 networks and security

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Jul 23 2002 - 00:06:54 PDT

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    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 00:58:07 -0400
    From: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    To: politechat_private
    Subject: FC: Doonesbury, Allen Hutchinson on 802.11 networks and security
    This is hardly a new topic, but it's a good reminder. Also see
    Sunday's Doonesbury:
    From: "Allen Hutchison" <allenat_private>
    To: <declanat_private>
    Subject: Watch your wireless configs...
    Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 19:17:30 -0700
    I thought you might like this small piece I posted on my blog this evening.
    Feel free to forward to politech if you find it interesting.
    Allen Hutchison
    -----------Forwarded Message------------
    Watch your wireless configs
    Last night I was playing around with the newest version of Lindows. I
    haven't worked with the OS much to date, because it didn't have
    support for my Cisco Aironet card. Since the card was the only way
    laptop can connect to the network I didn't want interrupt that
    ability. Anyway, yesterday a college of mine told me that Lindows now
    had support for wireless cards. So, I took the plunge and installed
    the OS on my laptop.
    The first thing I noticed, after the installation completed, was that
    my wireless card was blinking. I thought that the Lindows install had
    grabbed the settings for my card before it wiped windows off the
    machine. So I started trying to download software and access my
    network resources. Then I noticed that the network seemed really
    unresponsive. I started looking more closely at the network, and found
    that Lindows had not grabbed my previous settings, and I was
    associated with someone else's access point. To be sure I went to the
    default router address with a www browser, and found that it was a
    Well, I thought, that isn't too strange, I have a linksys on my
    network too. So I tried to log in, but it wouldn't take my password.
    So I tried the default password on a linksys router "Admin" and I got
    in. Then I realized that I wasn't logged into my network at all. I was
    getting to the net through somebody else's access point somewhere else
    in the network.
    This person had never bothered to do anything to secure his network.
    Upon further inspection with a sniffer, I found that I could grab all
    of his traffic off the air in my office. He was using no encryption
    and no access control. I could browse the shares on his computer, I
    could see his password flying by. If I only knew where he lived, I
    could go tell him, and help him set up something more secure. All I
    know, however, is a general direction from my condo, South.
    This goes to show how important it is for vendors to stress security
    with their wireless products. Information is becoming more and more of
    a commodity, and the information that describes us is moving around on
    the Internet every day. When we install new technology, it is the
    responsibility of a vendor to explain the security consequences. It
    was obvious in the case of my mysterious neighbor that he hasn't
    installed any security on his network. It is quite possible he isn't
    even aware of the security hole he has opened onto his data.
    Something to think about.
    POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
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