[ISN] Commuters hack wireless networks

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 27 2003 - 01:43:56 PST

  • Next message: InfoSec News: "[ISN] Security UPDATE, March 26, 2003"

    Forwarded from: William Knowles <wkat_private>
    26 March, 2003
    Jumping on to the increasing number of wireless networks around cities
    such as London has become something of a hobby for hackers and those
    seeking to gain free access to the internet.
    The security arm of consultancy firm KPMG set out to discover just how
    big a menace so-called war driving is to London businesses.
    It set up three wireless "honeypots" around the City of London in an
    attempt to lure hackers.
    Not all harmless
    The dummy set-up appeared to be a legitimate corporate wireless
    network but actually recorded and analysed the activity of users
    trying to access it.
    It found that the most popular time for war driving was between nine
    and 10 am and between five and six pm.
    This suggested to investigators that people scan for wireless access
    points during their commutes to and from the office, either on foot or
    in the car.
    Virtually no activity was recorded at weekends.
    On average 3.4 attempts to access the network were spotted each day.  
    Of these, 84% appeared to be harmless war-driving hobbyists content to
    pinpoint a vulnerability and move on.
    Only 16% of the probes actually accessed the network, but of these a
    worrying three-quarters appeared to have malicious intentions.
    Dispelling the myth
    Activities included attempts to run computer commands that would
    damage the technology as well as attempts to tamper with and access
    "The activity recorded is significant, given the proliferation of
    wireless networks now being used by companies," said Mark Osborne,
    Director of Security Services at KPMG.
    "The project dispels the myth that all unauthorised wireless activity
    is harmless. Risks include stealing bandwidth which slows the network
    down, or actual physical disablement of systems," he added.
    War drivers and hackers tend to access wireless networks via laptop
    computers running freely available software that can detect such
    Often these networks are denoted for others by chalk marks on the
    building or the pavement.
    "Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
    without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
    C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org
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