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WEP And PPTP Password Crackers Released

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the be-worried dept.

Security 244

Jacco de Leeuw writes "SecurityFocus published an article by Michael Ossmann that discusses the new generation of WEP cracking tools for 802.11 wireless networks. These are much faster as they perform passive statistical analysis. In many cases, a WEP key can be determined in minutes or even seconds. For those who have switched to PPTP for securing their wireless nets: Joshua Wright released a new version of his Cisco LEAP cracker called Asleap which can now also recover weak PPTP passwords. Both LEAP and PPTP employ MS-CHAPv2 authentication." Update: 12/22 00:14 GMT by T : Michael Ossmann wrote to point out his last name has two Ns, rather than one.

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But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (1)

Hot Summer Nights (771962) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145626)

It's ultra-secure.

Re:But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145638)

penis is not a secure password

Re:But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (1)

Hot Summer Nights (771962) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145653)

It is, if you use a condom.

Re:But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (0, Offtopic)

yogikoudou (806237) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145661)

Yeah, I got that message last time I tried to use it :Sorry, password isn't long enough

Re:But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145662)

And if it is, it's not long enough. ;-)

Re:But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (1)

gibler (445031) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145650)

ultra-secure is NOT a good password.

Re:But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145660)

-1? Why would anyone want to?

Re:But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (1)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145686)

RATS! And I thought it was ************. Oh well, back to the 133T Guide to H4CKing....
In Soviet Russia, your password hacks YOU!
I, for one, welcome our PPTP-password-cracking-slammer-leaving overlords

Re:But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (1, Offtopic)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145705)

But in south Korea, only old people use WEP anyway!!!

Re: But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145755)

And in soviet Russia, WEP crack you!

Re: But nobody can crack my Slashdot password (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145970)

And in china WEP is always positive.

Can we stop now?

Hmm heres a thought (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145631)

Starbucks - now without the crappy coffee!

so more attacks? (1)

sachins (833763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145637)

so does this mean we can expect someone to listen to our mobile phones and start spamming messages filling my inboxes?

old (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145648)

This is very old, I read this on securityfocus about a week ago.

Re:old (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145772)

I read about it three years ago on the NSA internal web site

I'm not worried. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145658)

Not at all..

yes you are... you should be !!!!

he. what the. Who ?

hahaha got you.


Too late !!..


Now who can we blame for downloading GB of stuff? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145659)

Its obvious that people now hav ethe ability to go around neibourhoods and gain access to these networks for any purpose!

Can we be blamed if the tenant runs a pot-growing facility in our basement? Is it the same?

Re:Now who can we blame for downloading GB of stuf (1)

Dasch (832632) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145978)

This is actually quite scaring. One of my neighbours's computers were confiscated by the police about a month ago because of alleged child pornography downloading (3 pictures.) The house was empty at the time of the crime though (it was before noon,) and they had a wireless network (which wasn't protected by anything, not even WEP,) so anyone could have stood on the sidewalk and downloaded the pictures. They'll get their computers back in about 6 months...

Feasibility of dictionary attacks no protocol flaw (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145665)

Every communication which uses passwords for authentication is susceptible to dictionary attacks. That is not a protocol weakness. If you use a random and long enough password, you'll be fine. Public key based authentication has other risks, like insufficiently secured storage of the key.

Re:Feasibility of dictionary attacks no protocol f (4, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145722)

Every communication which uses passwords for authentication is susceptible to dictionary attacks

But the good ones only allow online dictionary attacts. LEAP, PPTP, WEP, and unfortunately WPA all allow offline attacks.

Re:Feasibility of dictionary attacks no protocol f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145747)

Before authentication there's always the possibility of a man in the middle, who could then perform offline attacks. I don't think any protocol can avoid this. However, an attack on passively captured data is worse, I'll give you that.

Re:Feasibility of dictionary attacks no protocol f (3, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145770)

If you have automatic server authentication (which is often fairly easy to do with certificates or simply stored keys a la ssh) then you can avoid man-in-the-middle.

Re:Feasibility of dictionary attacks no protocol f (5, Interesting)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145744)

Every communication which uses passwords for authentication is susceptible to dictionary attacks. That is not a protocol weakness. If you use a random and long enough password, you'll be fine. Public key based authentication has other risks, like insufficiently secured storage of the key.

First, you will note that the attack on WEP (but not on PPTP) is not a dictionary attack and works with a computer-generated random 64- or 128-bit key. This is a protocol weakness.

Second, a good protocol does protect passwords. Either it establishes an encrypted session with the server, like SSH or SSL does, or it uses a secure password protocol like SRP. SRP in particular has the following properties:

1) The protocol is entirely public, and open-source implementations are available.
2) An eavesdropper on the wire does not get a dictionary attack on the password; without breaking the crypto behind the protocol, which nobody has been able to do yet, he gets no information. Of course, he can still do an online attack, but the server should prevent that.
3) Someone impersonating the server also does not get a dictionary attack on the password, even though the client does not need to memorize a key hash.
4) Someone who compromises the server database does get a dictionary attack on the password (this is inevitable), but they don't get the password for free. Furthermore, the password is salted, so they have some work to do.

Re:Feasibility of dictionary attacks no protocol f (1)

rokzy (687636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145748)

what about bank card or mobile phone PINs? get it wrong 3 times in a row and you're locked out and need to have your card/phone reactivated.

if the protocol or system involved doesn't allow for a penalty against failed atempts, then that IS a weakness.

Re:Feasibility of dictionary attacks no protocol f (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145756)

A failed attempt penalty is a DoS risk. Trading false positives for false negatives can also be seen as a security problem.

In soviet russia... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145667)

The newly released NetBSD confirms wireless security is dead!

so what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145670)

i don't really see how this changes anything... it just forces the encription people to make a new protocol and the cracker people to break that one too. woo fucking woo.

once they crack my secret code that i pass notes in class with i'll be impressed.

End-to-End Security (3, Interesting)

Renegade Lisp (315687) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145680)

This just underlines that encryption at the wireless link level may not be the right way to go. Even if the algorithm wasn't so weak -- it strikes me as odd that a whole network should be protected by just a single key, which needs to be present on every individual machine of this network. How easily is this compromised!

It's far better not to rely on wireless link encryption and encrypt your application-level protocols instead. SSL for web browsing, PGP or S/MIME for e-mail, ssh for login. Far better algorithms, far better key management.

Re:End-to-End Security (3, Insightful)

selderrr (523988) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145740)

While I applaud your suggestions for SSL, PGP et al., one should realize that none of these protect against network intrusion, or more often : someone living of your bandwidth...

Re:End-to-End Security (1)

Renegade Lisp (315687) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145820)

For consumer-grade scenarios (my neighbour living off my bandwidth), restricting access to certain MAC addresses is enough. (By the way, does anyone know how easy/difficult it is nowadays to get WiFi hardware that lets you choose your own MAC address?)

For higher demands, use a proxy/firewall against which users (not machines) must authenticate in order to get out.

Re:End-to-End Security (2)

jaseuk (217780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145859)

-By the way, does anyone know how easy/difficult it is nowadays to get WiFi hardware that lets you choose your own MAC address?)

It's a standard feature in almost all any device with a MAC address including WiFi & Wired.

MAC address filtering is a useful additional layer of security but I wouldn't rely on it.


Re:End-to-End Security (3, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145873)

MAC address restriction is an especially weak form of protection on wireless networks. Contrary to wired networks, where the switch may only send data over the wire connecting to the right card, a wireless AP must broadcast the data to everyone in hearing range. This means that you only have to assume one of the MAC addresses that are allowed to connect to the AP, and you're on the network.

Re:End-to-End Security (2)

ayn0r (771846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145875)

By the way, does anyone know how easy/difficult it is nowadays to get WiFi hardware that lets you choose your own MAC address?

I haven't got around to buying wifi equipment for my apartment yet. Living in a flat with a bunch of neighbours though, I just checked to see if there was any wifi network nearby. Tried it, found one, set ethereal to sniff packets for perhaps 5 minutes. Most of these packets contained relevant MAC addresses for me to use.

After that, ifconfig ath0 hw ether [mac-addr] and voilà. I'm in. Really, restricting access to a certain mac address doesn't do squat. Most nics will support changing the mac address without any problems whatsoever.

Now if I can only find what neighbour's net I've been using. I took myself and my laptop for a walk today to see where the signal strength increased, but had to go back inside because people were staring at me. :)

Re:End-to-End Security (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145938)

I prefer a different tack: Use a general-purpose VPN solution. IPsec (been around a long time, heavily analyzed, no obvious bugs) and OpenVPN (uses SSL for all the sensitive bits, much simpler but more than flexible enough for almost all use cases) both do quite well sitting on top of a wireless connection, and by restricting access to the network beyond the access point to folks coming through the VPN, moochers and such are avoided.

Ideally, I prefer the belt-and-suspenders route: WPA, then a VPN, then app-level encryption on top.

Re:End-to-End Security (2, Informative)

Umrick (151871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146020)

What I'm looking at implementing (20 wireless tablet pcs used by physicians and their techs) is something more like this:

Bare open wireless with a dedicated DHCP/OpenVPN server. Server configured to only allow connections to/from known MAC addresses. Use OpenVPN (128 bit certificate keyed AES) to connect to the internal network.

Potentially an attacker could compromise one of the wireless devices, however the clients could be firewalled to permit only connections to/from the server to limit that exposure.

All clients are already setup with network/printer sharing disabled, so using the software firewall will be an acceptable risk.

Application level would be nice excepting for a few problems. Legacy apps that don't support it, and required services that can't be encrypted (printing/shared drives) without using a fairly brittle IPSEC solution. OpenVPN is a better solution. You end up with strong encryption, better key management, high resiliance (udp tunnelling, not tcp) to loss, higher throughput (lzo compression), and transparent protection.

Re:End-to-End Security (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146033)

Hmm. Sounds like we're implementing very similar solutions in very similar environments.

Mind if I ask where you work?

Easier for travelers (5, Interesting)

ad454 (325846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145681)

Great, I will be leaving for a business trip soon, and now I can freely *access* those commercial WEP enabled Wi/Fi access points in many airports without risking my credit card.

Seriously though, Wi/Fi has to be treated like an unsecure public network, and anyone wants to restrict access they should use a more secure protocol like IPSec in host-to-host mode. Do not count on Wi/Fi manufactures to protect you, for some reason they just simply refuse to provide secure products.

Re:Easier for travelers (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145725)

this will not break an authenticated WAP. the ones I help support in my community have only port 80 open for low bandwidth for free, you join us and you get a password you access through nocatauth and then gain full speed open access at the wireless points.

these tools are useless against that scheme. you still need to perform old-skool cracking in order to get past nocatauth, no point and drool tools for getting past that yet, espically with the non-public modifications we made to it to make it different than what is freely available.

Re:Easier for travelers (1)

MattWillis (16246) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145784)

Most public access wireless nets do not employ WEP.

The ones I have seen use a proxying technique which redirects your MAC address to a "pay us" screen.

Re:Easier for travelers (2, Insightful)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145839)

"Do not count on Wi/Fi manufactures to protect you, for some reason they just simply refuse to provide secure products."

I wouldn't trust Wi-Fi as a fully secure medium even if the manufacturers built in more security measures. As a completely hypothetical and unrealistic example, say I had a completely closed network, with no outside net connections at all. Now, to gain access with physical connections, I've either got to get actual access to a terminal, or do a bit of cable snipping. Now, if I network with Wi-Fi, the job's a lot easier.

Compeltely hypothetical of course, but shows the difficulties of mainting secure access (as in personel able to use, rather than data) to a wi-fi network.

Re:Easier for travelers (2, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146300)

You have astutely observed one of the true aspects of security: Security is always somehow inversely proportional to the amount of functionality you allow "remotely" - i.e., without physical verification. For instance, whenever you allow remote logins, there is no difference from the server's standpoint between the authorized person using a correct password and a malevolent person using a correct password; this is because the server verifies the password (you can substitute "encrypted key of any sort" for "password"), not the person itself. It's actually not even possible to ever verify a person - even biometrics could be spoofed (albeit with difficulty).

It's a radical assertion perhaps, but it's my belief that security attacks are merely a symptom of some other problem (not sure entirely what it is, but I could posit some of the characteristics); beefing up security is merely like treating a toothache with painkillers; the pain goes away, but the rot is still there.

So, how do you get rid of the rot? There are only two options: you have to first remove the rot from the system, then implement preventive measures so more rot doesn't develop. Strangely enough, nobody in the security industry (computer, homeland, or any other variety) seems to be looking at that aspect - they seem to be focused on creating and using better pain killers.

Some thoughts on Wireless and Security (4, Insightful)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145689)

Well, I wrote some thoughts on Wireless and Security in my blog which I now copy here.

# setting up secure connections is too difficult for the lay person. We need standard Diffie-Helman key exchanges. I saw on the internet that it is available on some access points, but it just should be the standard of the IEEE. As far as I could find with Google it isn't yet. I can't understand why.

# Securing accesspoints should be mandatory. There are too many open access points available. There is no use for anonymous connections over a random family's access point, it only endangers them into being seen as cybercriminals.

# If people want to make it possible for neighbours and strangers to make use of their access point it should be done in the same way hotspots are now available at airports and Starbucks. Make it possible to extend the official network of the ISP to a users access point. This way if I open up my laptop and there is an access point available of Joe User, I can only hook up to it by propperly logging in to the ISP's network or use the airport/credit card system. This will require many roaming agreements etc, but it would bring security and convenience at the same time. It should be done in such a way that the person opening up his network in this way can throttle the speed of the guest users and/or the times they can access. So I would like to see a rule like "Guests can only connect when I am not connecting" or "Guests only get 1mbit/sec".

Re:Some thoughts on Wireless and Security (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145729)

ad 1: DH is a key exchange algorithm, not a complete crypto system. As an algorithm it is used in quite a few standards (IPSec for example).

ad 2: Depends on your understanding of what the net is. If you think that WLANs are insecure means of accessing a safe network, then yes, AP security should be mandatory. If you think that WLANs are just another insecure link in a dangerous network, then what difference would it make?

ad 3: There are so many ways to abuse this system, it isn't even funny.

Old news (2, Funny)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145761)

This story is old news [] , as I posted the following way back in April:

If you bought one of those shiny new 802.11{abg} access points so you could be lazy and use your laptop in bed without a bunch of cords dangling all over the place, you have a decision to make. Do you want your neighbors and random strangers using your Internet connection?

If you decide you don't want other people using your connection, then don't do these things:

  • Hide your SSID. Your access point will broadcast it anyway whenever your computer associates, and if you're using Windows XP then it associates every few seconds.
  • Use MAC filtering. Your access point will broadcast valid MAC addresses whenever those stations are in use, and anybody can pick those up and change their MAC address to match yours.
  • Use WEP. It's easy enough to crack that anybody listening can recover your WEP key in a fairly short time if you actually use your wireless connection for anything.
  • Use a Microsoft access point. Microsoft access points will gladly send their WEP key to anybody who asks, making WEP completely useless.
  • Use LEAP. It is based on Microsoft CHAP and a poor implementation at that. It's easy to crack.

Hm, what's the point of enabling all that security if it's so easy to get around? Here are some other things you might try:

  • Turn off the access point's DHCP server. Won't do you much good, since somebody can just "borrow" your IP address when you aren't using it or use an unused IP address in your subnet.
  • Reorient the access point's antenna. Then you'll just have the people on the other side of your apartment using it.

Hm, you may as well just take the damn thing back and get a refund, and suffer the Ethernet cord.

Re:Old news (3, Insightful)

beeblebrox87 (234597) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145887)

Whats wrong with letting the world access your network? Use SSH/SSL etc to keep your connections secure. If somebody wants internet access, why not provide a public service to them? Wouldn't you like it if someone else did the same for you? If they start using too much bandwidth you can always you can politely ask them to stop, and if that fails, blackmail them with all the pr0n they've been downloading.

Re:Old news (2, Informative)

DarkMantle (784415) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145939)

The problem isn't about someone using another persons access point. The problem is what they use it to access. They are usually used to access things that the war driver doesn't want tracked to his home. So the problem isn't all the pr0n theve' been downloading, it's the age of the people in the pr0n. This then gets traced back to the IP address your router had at that date/time, and then you're charged for it.

Re:Old news (3, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145960)

Whats wrong with it is your not an ISP, and your not protected by the same rules, regulations and laws as them.

So if someone did illegal things through your connection, YOU will still be responsible.

The RIAA Cares! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145976)

I had a sneaky neighbor using my wireless internet for a while since I had accidentally removed WEP and was broadcasting my SSID. They decided to download a movie via Suprnova and the RIAA caught on.

Guess who got a notice from the ISP/RIAA? Me. My neighbor is clean and clear!

Sharing your internet without limits (or accidentally, in my case) is a BAD IDEA. If someone wants internet access, let them pay for it.

Re:Old news (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145981)

If somebody wants internet access, why not provide a public service to them?

And if they are spamming/breaking into NASA/trading child porn?

Re:Old news (1)

kieran (20691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146171)

One word: Traceability.

Re:Old news (1)

downhole (831621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146116)

This might be a stupid question, but isn't WPA fairly secure?

Re:Old news (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146210)

I dunno why Ethernet is such a bad word...

Re:Old news (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146226)

This is wacky. You dismiss WEP and SSID hiding as useless, yet seriously recommend turning off the DHCP server will help?

Hiding your SSID and enabling WEP will turn away all casual freeloaders. Yes, WEP is crackable, but you still need to be fairly knowledgeable to do it. Doing these two things will save you from 99% of the attackers out there. Turn on MAC restrictions, and you've probably gotten rid of 90% of what's left. Turning off the DHCP server can't hurt, but anybody who can get through the WEP and the MAC filtering will be able to guess a working address without any thought.

Re:Some thoughts on Wireless and Security (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145765)

you are wrong. the FIRST step in securing a WAP is to be sure the signal is not going where you do not need it. the Accesspoint in my home is 100% open and you can not even tell it is there until you get your sniffer up against one of my windows. 2 feet from the house and you have no indication.

THAT is higher security than the most expensive wireless access point hardware that money can buy can ever give you.

if they can not recieve the signal, they can not hack it.

and yes, I have good coverage all over my home.

Re:Some thoughts on Wireless and Security (3, Funny)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145788)

Of course, all that aluminum foil you're using to coat your walls and windows must have set you back a bit.

Re:Some thoughts on Wireless and Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146207)

Yup, only $5500.00 2 years ago for a very secret specalized and RARE construction material...

called aluminum siding.

change your fiberglass screens in your windows to aluminum screen material and you eliminate the windows as leak points also.

I know it is highly rare to find houses with aluminum siding and aluminum screens, only at very specalized stores like "lowes" and "home depot" and other secret organizations called "home imporvement sotres and contractors" have access to this extremely rare and high tech material.

lumpy must be someone who is part of the echelon to have access to this very rare material.

good of you to spot his secret techniques!

Re:Some thoughts on Wireless and Security (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145914)

Securing accesspoints should be mandatory. There are too many open access points available. There is no use for anonymous connections over a random family's access point, it only endangers them into being seen as cybercriminals.

Give me a break.

Securing one's front door should be mandatory. There are too many open front doors available. There is no use for someone to randomly walk into a family's front door, it only endangers them into being seen as victims of crime or criminals themselves if the "bad guys" hang out and do crime in their open house.

Securing access points is a pain in the ass. Even what I do, and suggest to others is a pain in the ass. All I suggest to people is to not broadcast their SID, but even that is a pain in the ass because they have to remember to rebroadcast it to add another client, and then turn it off again. Since I'm an ubergeek, I don't broadcast my SID and I lock down access by MAC address, but that too is a pain in the ass if a friend comes over. The only reason I put any security on my AP is because I know how, and something tells me its a "good thing", but its not that big of a deal.

WEP is stupid. Like I'm going to let everyone using my network know the password because that makes it secure. Now if access points had range of miles, that would be a different story. But I live in a suburban cookie cutter neighborhood where the adjacent houses are exactly 14 feet apart and a little more distance (much more) front to back. When my cable modem was not working correctly, sometimes I can go to certain areas of the house and I was able to get a net connection from an open access point, but the connection sucked. Trust me, if it were more reliable, I would debate not paying for my own connection, but its not. If I were better friends with my neighbors, I would seriously consider splitting the bill with them.

Oh, and I just found some kiddie porn that a roommate that I recently kicked out of my house on unrelated charges. I guess if I had given him my password to my WEP encrypted network I would be better off.

Re:Some thoughts on Wireless and Security (2)

crowemojo (841007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146219)

There are two fundamental concerns when considering the placement of wireless access points on any network.

1) Someone can access my network.
2) Someone can see my traffic.

Any wireless network implementation should take both of these into account. Wireless access points, until other encryption and access control mechanisms mature, should be treated as if they were compromised to begin with. If you treat an access point like a live jack into your network that's located outside your building some where, then you are off to a good start.

To address the first issue, we need network segmentation. Locate the access point in a DMZ, only allowing communication with other network resources over controlled means, such as ssh. By located it in a DMZ, you limit the exposure of the rest of your network and have the means to properly control what it can and can't see. Ideally, it can't see anything without some form of authentication beyond what is provided by the AP. This is possible to accomplish regardless of what you want your legitimate users to be capable of through the use of properly configured proxy servers, etc.

To address the second issue, as several others have mentions, make sure that anything that is sensitive is encrypted. Don't allow people to check their email through the wireless connection using imap or pop3, require that they use a web interface with SSL encryption. Don't use telnet for your custom applications, whatever they may be, use SSH. Of course, all that being said, it's much easier to tell someone to never use telnet then it is to actually do it. Anyone care to take a guess at how a typical software vendor supporting legacy applications will respond to the request to make their programs function over SSH?

My $0.02

MAC Control tables useless? (1)

Ized (764731) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145692)

I'm not that familiar with wifi tech, but I've if I understand this correctly, would this mean that even if someone has protected their wireless network with MAC control tables, it could be now compromised?

Is it possible to sniff the MAC address from the traffic as well? This would mean that even if there's MAC control table in use, it could be by passed as the password can also be cracked.

Re:MAC Control tables useless? (1)

Baal Sebub (797455) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145773)

Is it possible to sniff the MAC address from the traffic as well?

MAC addresses need to be broadcast. Also they can easily be spoofed.
So yes, you understand this correctly.

Re:MAC Control tables useless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145903)

It has been my understanding that the MAC address never was encrypted anyway, so anyone sniffing can always clone (fake) one that is valid & in use.

Think about it. The MAC address is how all of the packets you send anywhere get back to you. If those were encrypted? How much of your outgoing packets would return thru your NAT box?

Re:MAC Control tables useless? (3, Insightful)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145959)

Er, MAC filtering is the LEAST safe way to lock-out wireless. MAC addresses are EASILY picked-out of the air, and all you have to do is push the address you want to your wifi card to 'steal' one.

MAC filtering is not encryption, even if you MAC filter, I can come by with any number of 'tools' and leech all your traffic without having to do any work. Perhaps the only thing MAC filtering does is keep the non-technical neighbor upstairs off your signal.

This article refers to another way to crack networks that are actually encrypted, which was generally enough of a hassle that someone would want to specifically target YOU before going through the trouble. As with all encryption though, cracking what's out there gets easier every day, time to move up to something else!

Security is an illusion ... (4, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145706)

To be truthful, nothing is secure ... It can only be "Secure Enough". If the cost of breaking something is more than the benifit - that is security in one sense.

Any encryption can be broken - given enough resources ... The trick is to make it so difficult that nobody finds out unless they are prepared to invest more than what you did (time, computing power, money, technology).

Interestingly in India, according to Department of Telecom [] website - security means something different :).
23. Individuals/Groups/Organisations are permitted to use encryption upto 40 bit key length in the RSA algorithms or its equivalent in other algorithms without having to obtain permission from the Telecom Authority. However, if encryption equipments higher than this limit are to be deployed, individuals/groups/organisations shall do so with the prior written permission of the Telecom Authority and deposit the decryption key, split into two parts, with the Telecom Authority.
We have to keep our private keys in ESCROW to use >40 bit encryption ... Talk about stupid laws (of course which no-one enforces or obeys).

Re:Security is an illusion ... (4, Funny)

amorsen (7485) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145731)

Heh, I love the fact that they mention 40-bit RSA. 40-bit symmetric could be sort of used back in the 80's. With 40-bit RSA it's faster to break the encryption than to type in the key.

Re:Security is an illusion ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145922)

Here's a test for alfredo's place [] which will hopefully work.

Re:Security is an illusion ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145796)

Security is not an "illusion", then, if there are different degrees of security. That's like saying heat is an illusion because nothing's "100% hot." Except, I'm sure, for something that I am unaware of.

"Security is not an absolute" is what I think you mean.

Re:Security is an illusion ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145799)

Data XORed with an equal amount of "truely" random data is secure as long as you keep the random data secret and never re-use it. :p

Re:Security is an illusion ... (1) (551216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145826)

Such a law is not meant to be enforced against random people like us. But it serves to punish people that are suspected of illegal activity, but can't be convicted because they encrypted their communications. Then, these suspects can be arrested on grounds of violation of such a law, and tried when further evidence has been gathered.

I'd like to compare it to a weapons license that you need to obtain in every sane country in order to possess firearms legally.

Re:Security is an illusion ... (1)

Bwian_of_Nazareth (827437) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146021)

This is wrong thinking. A law that is not to be enforced it wrong because it teached people that some laws are not "proper" and do not have to be obeyed. Laws cannot be used as a tool to punish the bad guys when there is nothing else to punish them for.

Re:Security is an illusion ... (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146024)

I'd like to compare it to a weapons license that you need to obtain in every sane country in order to possess firearms legally.

I won't have minded it if they asked for a provision to ask for private keys - I just don't trust the government that much - Especially my clients.

Laws like patents, have to specific - otherwise they are easily misused.

Re:Security is an illusion ... (1)

clap_hands (320732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146086)

Any encryption can be broken - given enough resources ... The trick is to make it so difficult that nobody finds out unless they are prepared to invest more than what you did (time, computing power, money, technology).

I agree with your comments about it only being necessary to secure something with respect to how much resources your adversaries are willing to invest in attacking it. However, it's not really true that all encryption can be broken, although this idea dates back at least to Edgar Allen Poe: "we say again deliberately that human ingenuity cannot concoct a cipher which human ingenuity cannot resolve."

First, we have the one-time pad [] , which has provable secrecy; even an army of quantum computers couldn't help you find the correct plaintext.

Secondly, while the one-time pad is not particularly useful in modern cryptography, we have algorithms, such as Triple-DES or AES, which (as far as is known) the amount of resources needed to break far exceeds the resources available to the entire of humanity. In these cases, it is not reasonable to say that "any encryption can be broken".

Misread the headline... (4, Funny)

Timo_UK (762705) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145714)

And I thought they had released some crackers from prison...

Make getting on the internet go faster. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145715)

Would you like to search for a wireless basestation?
Would you like to connect?

A few minutes or even seconds later ......

Todays cpu's really can "get you on the internet faster".

aircrack - Korek based attack (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145724)

After capturing packets in kismet for 3 days (1.2million crypt packets), I successfully ran aircrack on the resultant .dump files. The WEP cracked almost as soon as the dump files had been parsed.

However, the essid remained hidden. How does one use the WEP key without an ssid?

To get this out of the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145736)

Since this article deals with something that potentially could cause a network outage I'd like to forestal what passes for wit amongst computer geeks and suggest that this post be the single +5, Funny 'no carrier' joke in the comments for this story. And with no further ado - the joke.

lol lol lol, no one could ever crack my...


So how can I secure my connection? (1)

NaveWeiss (567082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145763)

If I want to create a wireless network and make it secure, using Win32, what should I do then? I used to think that encrypted PPtP is enough. I guess it isn't.

Re:So how can I secure my connection? (2, Interesting)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145790)

I use openvpn for securing my home network (the access point is open and nonrouting), and although it's a bit of a shit to get set up, I've never had any problems, and I've got 1.5 meg/sec using blowfish from a K6-400 at the other end.

Re:So how can I secure my connection? (1)

AusG4 (651867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146028)

The problem really is not -securing- your connection, it's both securing and limiting access to your wireless network.

That said, your best bet, until 802.11i is widespread, is to buy an access point and wireless card that support WPA, which provides for regular key changes.

Additionally, be sure to configure your base station to only allow your specific MAC address (the address of your personal wireless card and any other authorized cards) to peer with your access point.

This way, even if someone -does- break your WAP packets (though unlikely, especially since some base stations support AES now, your mileage may vary), at least they can't connect to your AP and suckle at your bandwidth.

Thank goodness.... (1)

wcitechnologies (836709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145775)

Thank goodness for firmware upgrades.

We've known WEP was broken for a long time (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145797)

This article shows that the time needed to break WEP is smaller than previously demonstrated, not that WEP is any less safe than before. Really, we've known WEP was no good for a _long_ time. The reasons are well known. Both WPA and the recently ratified 802.11i RSN provide good solid fixes to link layer wireless security.

So, this isn't really "new" news, although it should reinforce the message that WEP is worse than useless.

Re:We've known WEP was broken for a long time (2, Insightful)

ifoxtrot (529292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146109)

Actually I disagree with you. Not on the fact that WEP wasn't "broken" before, but on the fact that you say WEP is worse than useless.

Security is not an absolute, it is relative. Yes WEP is broken, worse than previously thought.
WEP, however bad it is (and however many better solutions exist) still stops most people from using your bandwidth. Retail studies have shown that most staff theft is opportunistic - while most people are basically honest, if they see money lying around, most of them will pick it up. Same goes for unprotected bandwidth. Many people would not have a problem if it's completely open, but put even the semblance of a lock and they won't try to break in - that's because they have to actively be dishonest in order to steal your bandwidth/money, as opposed to ignorant.

So while it wasn't a perfect solution TM, it was actually better than nothing.

I'm not arguing that better solutions aren't available, but I am saying that WEP isn't as completely useless as you make it out to be.

What would you prefer no security or bad security? That's actually a trickier question than it sounds!

cut&paste complete article (0, Redundant)

nietsch (112711) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145808)

I only got some ad for FREE microsof security products (sewage odorizers?) here is the complete article :)
WEP: Dead Again, Part 1 by Michael Ossmann last updated December 14, 2004 Introduction

This article is the first of a two-part series that looks at the new generation of WEP cracking tools for WiFi networks, which offer dramatically faster speeds for penetration testers over the previous generation of tools. In many cases, a WEP key can be determined in seconds or minutes. Part one, below, compares the latest KoreK based tools that perform passive statistical analysis and brute-force cracking on a sample of collected WEP traffic. Next time, in part two, we'll look at active attack vectors, including a method to dramatically increase the rate of packet collection to make statistical attacks even more potent.

Is WEP that bad?

Many security folks and even more wireless folks these days are saying that WEP isn't all that bad. They say that if you use modern equipment that filters weak Initial Vectors (IVs) and change your keys frequently (or at least once in a while), nobody will ever crack your WEP. Sure, maybe some next-generation WEP attacks will arise one day that will change everything, but WEP is okay today for all but the most sensitive networks. Well, that next-generation is already here, heralded by highly functional tools that make WEP look weaker than Barney Fife on guard duty, sleeping on the job.

Let's take a look at some of the new tools that should be in every penetration tester's bag of tricks, rather then delving into the details of why the various attacks work. Time and time again, the industry has shown that it will not reject broken security safeguards until attacks are actually demonstrated in the real world. Here's how to quickly turn some heads.

The way things were

Since the summer of 2001, WEP cracking has been a trivial but time consuming process. A few tools, AirSnort perhaps the most famous, that implement the Fluhrer-Mantin-Shamir (FMS) attack were released to the security community -- who until then were aware of the problems with WEP but did not have practical penetration testing tools. Although simple to use, these tools require a very large number of packets to be gathered before being able to crack a WEP key. The AirSnort web site estimates the total number of packets at five to ten million, but the number actually required may be higher than you think.

The first caveat to this old approach is that only encrypted packets count. As wireless access points transmit unencrypted beacons several times per second, it is easy to be fooled into believing that you have a larger number of useful packets than you really do. If you use Kismet for network discovery and sniffing, it breaks down the packet count for you, displaying the number of "Crypted" packets separately from the total number, as shown below: Figure 1. Kismet in action. []

The second thing working against your packet collection efforts is that only certain "interesting" or "weak" IVs are vulnerable to attack. Kismet also tells you how many of these have been gathered, although it may not use the same counting method as the various cracking tools. To make matters more difficult, wireless manufacturers responded to the FMS attack by filtering out the majority of weak IVs that their access points and wireless cards transmit. Unless your target network is using old equipment, chances are you'll have to collect no less than ten million encrypted packets to crack a WEP key using these older tools.

In early 2002, h1kari released a tool called dwepcrack (part of the bsd-airtools package) that improved upon the existing implementations of the FMS attack. Although dwepcrack did a good job of advancing the practical implementation of statistical WEP cryptanalysis, its improvements were only incremental.

Tools that changed everything

On August 8th, 2004, a hacker named KoreK posted new WEP statistical cryptanalysis attack code (soon to become a tool called chopper) to the NetStumbler forums. While chopper is functional, it is not currently maintained, and the attacks have since seen better implementations in aircrack and WepLab. However, the KoreK attacks change everything. No longer are millions of packets required to crack a WEP key; no longer does the number of obviously "weak" or "interesting" IVs matter. With the new attacks, the critical ingredient is the total number of unique IVs captured, and a key can often be cracked with hundreds of thousands of packets, rather than millions.


The first tool in our new WEP cracking toolbox is aircrack by Christophe Devine. Implementing KoreK's attacks as well as improved FMS, aircrack provides the fastest and most effective statistical attacks available. To give aircrack a try, simply collect as many packets as possible from a WEP encrypted wireless network, save them as a pcap file, and then start aircrack from the command line.

Figure 2. aircrack succeeds. [] How many packets does it take?

The number of packets required for success with aircrack varies greatly. As a rule of thumb, shoot for a minimum of 200,000 for a 64 bit key and 500,000 for a 128 bit key, and remember to count only encrypted packets with unique IVs, not total packets. aircrack comes with a handy packet capture tool called airodump that keeps a running tally of unique IVs (the counting method is imperfect but soon to be fixed) and is capable of handling very large capture files. Personally, I find it easier to use Kismet most of the time and simply estimate the number of unique IVs based on the number of "Crypted" packets reported by Kismet. The number of encrypted packets with unique IVs is typically more than 95% of the total number of encrypted packets.

How long does it take? I often find that aircrack determines a WEP key within a few seconds, but the execution time is highly variable. Shorter execution times require more unique IVs, more luck, and the lowest successful "fudge factor," a setting that tells aircrack how wildly it should guess when trying new keys. The higher the fudge factor, the more keys aircrack will try, increasing both the potential time of execution and the likelihood that the attack will succeed. The fudge factor has a default value of two but may be set to any positive integer. The default setting may be a good place to start, but trying several different settings is frequently fruitful if the initial attack does not succeed. I have encountered some data sets that could be cracked with a fudge factor of one, several that could only be cracked with three, four, or higher, and one data set that could only be cracked with a fudge factor of 31 or higher.

The higher the fudge factor, the more branches aircrack will take. This generally results in a longer execution time unless a successful crack happens early in the process. The following graph shows the time of execution as reported by aircrack (not counting file loading and parsing) for a particular data set with various fudge factors. Blue dots represent the time required for a successful crack and red dots represent the time spent in a failed attempt.

Figure 3. aircrack execution times. []

If the default fudge factor (two) fails, I usually double it for each subsequent attack on the same data set. By terminating any attack that takes longer than five or ten minutes, I have had good luck finding a successful fudge factor fairly quickly.

One of the nice features of aircrack is that it works for both 64 bit and 128 bit WEP keys by default. If you know the key length of the target network, giving the length to aircrack as a command line option can speed up the process.


Although not quite as successful in my tests, Jose Ignacio Sanchez's WepLab provides an alternative implementation of the KoreK attacks that can be nearly as effective as aircrack, with a little experimentation. Similar to aircrack's fudge factor, WepLab provides a probability adjustment with its --perc command line option. The default --perc setting of 50% is fairly aggressive and results in relatively few branches, while higher settings increase the number of branches taken. In addition to excellent statistical attacks, WepLab provides brute force and dictionary cracking attacks that can be very effective. This combination of techniques makes WepLab an essential tool.

Comparing the tools

WepLab and aircrack are certainly impressive, but are they the best tools in the box? To find out, I performed a series of tests comparing the ability of several statistical WEP cracking tools. To set up the test, I configured a wireless access point with a random 128 bit WEP key, generated a great deal of traffic, and collected about 25 million encrypted packets. I then carved up the capture into shuffled subsets of various lengths and tried to crack each subset with each tool, measuring the number of seconds for every successful crack (including file load times). Trials that lasted more than ten hours were terminated. The results surprised me quite a bit.

[table snipped]

Although aircrack was successful with the greatest number of data sets, it did not perform as well as I expected with the default fudge factor. In fact, beyond about four million packets, its success rate with default options noticeably declined with the addition of more packets. This problem was easily remedied, however, by increasing the fudge factor. A fudge factor of four was successful in nearly every case. In the few cases in which a fudge factor of four did not work, I was able to find a successful setting in the five to twenty range.

WepLab's nearly complete failure with default options was surprising, but a little experimentation resulted in a --perc setting of 95% that rivaled even aircrack's best results. For some data sets, WepLab was more successful than aircrack; for others, aircrack was the winner. Overall, both tools yielded outstanding results with minor tweaking, though aircrack edged out WepLab in the smaller data sets.

AirSnort's success rate matched my expectations quite closely, cracking nearly every key with ten million or more packets but failing most of the time when using a smaller data set. AirSnort's speed beat out aircrack and WepLab in every case. Of course, an extra minute or two is rarely a concern, so the superior cracking ability of the KoreK attacks with far less required input puts WepLab and aircrack well above AirSnort in my book.

The most unexpected results were the total failures of WEPCrack and dwepcrack with all data sets. WEPCrack came up with as many as eleven out of thirteen correct bytes but always included incorrect bytes in its final result. Lacking a process to verify the correctness of a key, WEPCrack produced a false positive result every time. dwepcrack failed in every case, complaining of either "insufficient ivs," the inexplicable error, "unable to find a valid data packet in logfile," or, for my largest data set, "File too large." As the tests were performed under Linux, perhaps dwepcrack would be more successful in its native BSD environment.

Don't ignore the obvious

WepLab and aircrack make statistical attacks alarmingly easy, but many keys can be cracked without going to such lengths. The simple fact is that most people don't choose strong encryption keys, in part because vendors make it so easy to use weak ones. Because of this weakness, a great number of WEP encrypted networks are vulnerable to dictionary or brute force attacks that only require the capture of a single encrypted data packet to attempt.

The simplest brute force attack involves trying every possible binary key, a process that is completely impractical for 128 bit keys but may be worth trying for 64 bit keys if you have a few supercomputers lying around. WepLab and dwepcrack provide the ability; you provide the CPU cycles.

WepLab and WepAttack both provide two dictionary attack methods, one based on the more common MD5 hashing technique that many access points use to turn a passphrase into a binary WEP key, and the other using null terminated raw ASCII WEP keys, employed by a few devices. Knowledge of the target network hardware may help to determine which method would be preferred for a particular environment.

Because both of the above tools can use any dictionary in a text file or standard input, powerful password cracking utilities such as John the Ripper may be used to generate the word list. Combined with John's ability to apply rules (various capitalizations, appending numbers, etc.) to a basic dictionary, these tools result in a successful crack surprisingly often. Although both performed dictionary attacks successfully in my tests, WepLab executed faster while WepAttack provided the convenience of multiple simultaneous attack modes.

If a dictionary attack fails, an optimized brute force attack based on the vendor's passphrase method may be fruitful. For devices that use null terminated ASCII keys, WepLab offers a brute force attack that only tries ASCII bytes, resulting in a somewhat smaller (though still generally too large) key space. For the more common MD5 hashed passphrases, dwepcrack can execute an optimized brute force attack for 64 bit keys. This method, devised and first implemented by Tim Newsham, dramatically reduces the potential key space from 2^40 to 2^21 possible keys, resulting in an extremely fast attack.

The complete toolbox

Featuring the most effective statistical attacks available, aircrack may be the single most important tool in the box. WepLab is also essential, providing several techniques including an excellent alternative implementation of the KoreK attacks. AirSnort may be worth trying if you have a lot of packets to work with, but its position as statistical attack leader has been usurped. WepAttack is a nice addition for dictionary attacks, and dwepcrack provides the most fruitful brute force technique. The only other essential ingredient is a method to collect packets; while most of these tools include packet gathering as a built-in ability or ancillary program, I personally prefer Kismet for this function. All of these tools are available in the Auditor Security Collection live Linux CD-ROM.

Concluding part one

Looking at the outstanding success rate of aircrack and WepLab in the 500,000 to 1,000,000 packet range, it is clear that a new era is upon us. Vendors' efforts to limit the transmission of weak IVs have been blown away, and the time required to collect packets for a successful statistical attack has been reduced twentyfold. If you thought WEP was okay, think again.

All of the tools discussed so far are completely passive, receiving data but transmitting nothing. In part two, we will look at active WEP attacks, including a method to dramatically increase the rate of packet collection, making statistical attacks even more potent. Fasten your seat belts.

Because a majority of the tools refer to 64 bit and 128 bit key lengths, this article adopts the convention. It is important to realize, however, that the secret portion of a 64 bit key is only 40 bits and the secret portion of a 128 bit key is only 104 bits.
All tests were performed with a 1.6GHz Pentium-M laptop running Gentoo Linux ( kernel). Linux was chosen for the tests in order to accommodate the greatest number of tools. Some of the tools are also available for OS X, Windows, and/or various BSDs. In addition, there are a few tools for the other platforms that are not available for Linux. None of these, however, appear to implement the KoreK attacks except for the current development version of KisMAC.
Tool information and links:
- version: 2.1
- sample invocation: aircrack -n 128 packets.pcap
- sample invocation: aircrack -f 4 -n 128 packets.pcap
- source:

- version: 0.2.6
- sample invocation: airsnort
- 128 bit crack breadth: 2 (default)
- source:
Auditor Security Collection
- version: 081004-01
- source:

- version: 0.4
- sample invocation: dwepcrack -s -w packets.pcap
- sample invocation: dwepcrack -b packets.pcap
- source:
- notes: also tried binary from Auditor Security Collection with identical results

John the Ripper
- version: 1.6
- source:

- version: Kismet-2004-10-R1
- source:

- version: 0.1.3
- sample invocation: john -w:words.txt -rules -stdout | wepattack -m n64 -f packets.pcap
- source:

- version: 0.1.0
- sample invocation: -b 13 -f packets.pcap;
- source:

- version: 0.1.3
- sample invocation: weplab -rpackets.pcap
--key 128 testers.pcap
- sample invocation: john -w:words.txt -rules -stdout | weplab -y --key 64 --attacks 1 testers.pcap
- source:
Ideally, the input data sets would come from a variety of source networks with varied hardware and WEP keys. Although the results are not fully comprehensive, the spot checks against various networks generally agree with the test results.
About the author
Michael Ossmann is a senior security engineer for Alternative Technology.

Joshua rocks again (1)

Rodux (842288) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145814)

Joshua simply rocks, this guy works well. Again.

Securing wireless connections (5, Informative)

da.phreak (820640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145869)

I did not trust WEP even before this tools were released. I read a bit about securing the connection independent of the wireless equipment. Treating the wireless connection like a public network, I set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). I'd like to share my experiences:

First I tried to setup IPSec. It was a nightmare. Although I know a lot about computers and networks I did not manage to setup IPSec. It's configuration is so complicated, I have no clue. Although, it must be possible to get IPSec running, maybe it's just me who is too stupid :). IPSec would have been the most secure solution, but despite public belief it's not that secure:

Then I tried Cipe. It was very easy to get it running, but it's horribly insecure. Peter Gutmann wrote a nice article, which was in the news on slashdot some time ago: html

In that article I read about tinc, which I now use. It's almost as easy to setup as cipe, but more secure (although not perfect and not as good as IPSec). Here is the answer of the developers of tinc to Peter Gutmann's article:

So, maybe if you believe them it's not that bad, I'm not sure about this.

I think one great advantage of the VPN-solutions is that AFAIK there are no tools available that make cracking them as easy as cracking WEP. So the "common War Driver" or Script Kiddie has no clue what to do, you'd need some kind of expert to crack your connection. And, if such an expert is trying to break your security, you maybe have a bigger problem anyway.

I just wanted to have an acceptable level of security and lock War Drivers out.

IPsec (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145995)

it can be easy but mostly its hard to get servers to talk to each other

IPSec is cross platform people and AIRPORT people should just use it and dump the crypto stuff on the cards and let the OS deal with it

N. Ferguson and B. Schneier "it is the best IP security protocol available at the moment." bbut dont like the fact the config is hard...

push the vendors to all support IPSec and make config easy and bingo "the world is a better place" tm

do it

john jones

Re:Securing wireless connections (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146239)

IPsec is actually quite secure when used properly. The main complaint of security experts like Schneier is that IPsec is too complex for most people to set up at all, let alone set up securely. Apparently you yourself fell victim to this complexity.

A working IPsec wireless gateway setup is described at WAVEsec [] .

The best lightweight VPN suite available in the free software world is probably OpenVPN [] . It uses standard SSL encryption instead of trying to invent its own, and so far no doubt has been cast on its security.

honeypot WAP time! (2, Funny)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145878)

I have like 5 WAPs plugged in - but only one of them is actually plugged into the network. Go ahead, waste some time cracking the WEP keys on the 4 other ones that don't even have ethernet cables plugged into them. muhahahahaa..

The 5th one is a flaky piece of crap anyway and will likely just fry your WiFi card when my roommate fires up the microwave.

Hidden ESSID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145921)

One question.... I've seen some equipment which actually hides the ESSID .... which means that if you scan for access points (using the common tools) you will not find anything. Now the thing is, using "any" as essid on your client, will connect it to the AP?? secondly, can the essid be obtained without accessing somebody's computer with access to that AP? Because if both questions are NO, them at least the access to your network will be secure enough from the occasional "bandwith leeching neighbour". On the other hand I think this would not pevent somebody from sniffing the data passing by, would it?

Is PPTP considered safe? (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145934)

I am not an expert on security -- could someone just tell me in 1 sentence whether PPTP can be considered 'secure' for a VPN at the moment? Or is it worth going to some other VPN infrastructure?

Thanks to anyone who replies.

Re:Is PPTP considered safe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11145966)

As long as you use strong passwords (14 chars+), it is safe.

Stupid questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146011)

So are WPA-secured networks still fine? Also, how long might it take for us to get routers that can detect when they're being attacked and ban by MAC addresses?

out of jail (1)

Ian 0x57 (688051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146017)

anyone else read this as someone who had gone to jail for cracking the passwords and they had just been released from jail? ...anyone ... hello .. it is so cold and lonley....

One solution to all this security mess... IPSec (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146027)

We should see more movement towards encryption at the IP layer with something like IPSec.
I know its not the "magic bullet" but it would certainly help with some areas of weak security.

Only problem is that no-one is interested in implementing IPSec. Why cant we implement IPSec like we do with IPv6 where if both ends support it, it gets used.
Then, people can install IPSec on their clients and servers and start using it.

Although unless Microsoft added IPSec support to tcpip.sys or whatever (and released versions for current MS operating systems), its probobly not going to go anywhere :(

Yes But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146031)

Is it digitally signed?

Interesting tidbit from Microsoft's website (1)

echocharlie (715022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146071)

Here's a tidbit from Microsoft Website:

MS-CHAP v2 is a password-based, challenge-response, mutual authentication protocol that uses the industry-standard Message Digest 4 (MD4) and Data Encryption Standard (DES) algorithms to encrypt responses. The authenticating server challenges the access client and the access client challenges the authenticating server. If either challenge is not correctly answered, the connection is rejected. MS-CHAP v2 was originally designed by Microsoft as a PPP authentication protocol to provide better protection for dial-up and virtual private network (VPN) connections. With Windows XP SP1, Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 SP4, MS-CHAP v2 is also an EAP type.

Although MS-CHAP v2 provides better protection than previous PPP-based challenge-response authentication protocols, it is still susceptible to an offline dictionary attack. A malicious user can capture a successful MS-CHAP v2 exchange and methodically guess passwords until the correct one is determined. Using the combination of PEAP with MS-CHAP v2, the MS-CHAP v2 exchange is protected with the strong security of the TLS channel.

The editor's implication is that MS-CHAP is what makes PPTP and LEAP weak. But the reality is that M$ acknowledges it, and depends on an encrypted channel to make the authentication truly strong. CHAP is inherently breakable, whether it's an MS implementation or not.

I'm not worried (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146093)

Call me old fashioned, I still prefer UTP for regular home use. I really like the 'It just works' feeling of it. And once it works, it keeps working, unlike wireless that mysteriously feels the need to go down once in a while.

Also, if you have a regular RTL8139 or NE2000 clone like I do, no exotic drivers are needed either to get things up and running.

Disclaimer: I don't have a clue about the current state of wireless on live distro's such as knoppix. Anyone hit me with a clue bat please?

People still use WEP? (2, Interesting)

AusG4 (651867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146126)

Who still uses WEP? The weeknesses in WEP have been known for some time, and there have been more than a few working crackers in the wild for quite a while now.

WPA [] is the money. It's far more secure than WEP in that it has key rotation, and some of the snazzier base stations already support AES as the cryptographic algorithm. Most older stations with dilligent vendors will at least support WPA with TKIP (RC4 with rotating keys), since it's a trivial addition from a compute-intensiveness point of view.

That said, if you do insist on sticking with WEP (some people prefer classic cars to modern ones as well, I guess), or even less (ie, run an open base station) at least ensure that your access point is configured to only allow your specific MAC (as well as those you trust) to peer with it. This will at least keep the bandwidth sucklers off your back.

Unless, of course, being suckled upon is what you like. At that point, do what you want. I'm Canadian, so my personal bandwidth is everyones bandwidth.

Ahhh... socialism. :)

As for PPTP, switch to using KAME, FreeS/WAN or your IPSec implementation of choice. You can, of course, even use IPSec to do transport level encryption for your wireless connection if your base station doesn't support WPA, though you would need additional boxen to do this, of course.

Both of these (WPA and IPSec) provide the same functionality as what they replace (WEP and PPTP) with additional security benefits. We moved to WPA for our corporate access points over a year ago and have been running a 100% IPSec (SonicWall, specifically [] ) VPN for just as long. They're functional, production tested and very secure.

Don't wait. Do it now.

Here's the skinny on a good alternative... (1)

ollyg (675470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11146245)

At the previous SANE [] conference (on Systems Administration) there was an excellent poster presentation titled "PPTP Must Die" by Jacco de Leeuw.

The poster (and website below) explain what's wrong with PPTP, and present the alternative: L2TP/IPSec which is widely available. Having been implemented later than PPTP there are some holes in the specs, being filled by pseudo-standards for the time being.

Jacco's site is here [] . HTH.

regards, olly.

Easy solution for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146265)

Why don't you all do what I did: wrap your house in tinfoil! That has the added benefit of letting you take your tinfoil hat off while you're inside. It's the ultimate in convenience and security! :-)

Not going to affect me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11146299)

I use IPSec with digital certificate authentication with 4096 RSA key that changes every 2 years along AES 256-bit key that is used as the session key that changes every 4 hours.
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