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Paint Provides Network Protection

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the so-much-for-foil-hats dept.

262

thefickler writes "Forget WEP and WPA; I'm switching over to the EM-SEC Coating System, a recently announced paint developed by EM-SEC Technologies that acts as an electromagnetic fortress, allowing a wireless network to be contained within painted walls without fear of someone tapping in or hacking wireless networks. The EM-SEC Coating System is clearly the most secure option aside from stringing out the CAT5, and can be safely used to protect wireless networks in business and government facilities."

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Blocking EM eh... (5, Insightful)

StuartFreeman (624419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478877)

I hope no one ever wants to use a cell phone in your house.

Re:Blocking EM eh... (4, Insightful)

ip_fired (730445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478911)

I hope nobody has windows (the physical, see-through kind, not the operating system)...

Re:Blocking EM eh... (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478933)

Ahhh, but that brings up an interesting question--which type is less secure? : p

Re:Blocking EM eh... (4, Interesting)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479227)

There are coated double pane glass windows work pretty well at blocking EM if I recall correctly.

Re:Blocking EM eh... (4, Informative)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479631)

Called "selective screens". Used everywhere here in Finland. They let heat in but not out. However, they are not of any use for blocking radio signals. (I guess they are also used in other parts of the world for the opposite effect)

Re:Blocking EM eh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479459)

i see no need to qualify that statement.

Re:Blocking EM eh... (1)

kennygraham (894697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479101)

It would actually improve your signal if combined with a repeater [cellantenna.co.uk] .

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479231)

Still wondering why the Mac has "zoom" instead of "maximize"? If you can't handle more than one window at a time, go back to Windows or Linux. Linear thinkers don't belong on our platform.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479517)

Elitist scum. Comments like these should be IP-traced and have the whole block banned.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479705)

The funniest thing about these posts is that anyone actually gives a crap. Seriously, how much of a loser do you have to be to actually care about this?

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479723)

While you're making that evaluation ... How much of a loser do you have to be to actually respond to trolls like this?



Don't feed the trolls, mmmkay?

Re:Blocking EM eh... (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479419)

I hope no one ever wants to use a cell phone in your house.
Uhhh... WiFi is ~2.4GHz

Cell phones are all lower frequency
From 800 MHz to 1.9 GHz
(and something about 450MHz, but that isn't common)

Don't you think they can limit their product to 2.4 GHz +/- 500 MHz?

Re:Blocking EM eh... (2, Funny)

etzel (861288) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479467)

Quick! Close the door now...

Lawsuits... (5, Funny)

ChadAmberg (460099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478891)

Someone is going to sue, either because they painted all the inside walls like a dumbass and wireless won't go room to room, or else they'll get cancer, and swear the paint magnified and reflected all the microwaves into their body.

Re:Lawsuits... (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479577)

It's shame that the compensation culture is going to restrict the development of an innovation that is set to make the tinfoil hat look as quaintly old fashioned as the house-brick sized mobile phone.

Re:Lawsuits... (0)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479579)

hey, maybe someone will put some popcorn in the microwave and as soon as they hit start, the entire place starts on fire with electricity bolts flying everywhere lol. I hope they tested it with microwaves :P and don't tell me it's all contained cuz we put fresh bread on the top of the microwave and somehow it became severely molded in like 2 days!
btw did anyone else think this was about MS Paint that comes with Windows? :P

What about windows? (1)

rsun (653397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478899)

Is living in darkness the answer to wireless security or do you just ground your aluminum screened windows and hope for the best?

Re:What about windows? (-1, Flamebait)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478931)

Of course windoze doesn't have wireless security! M$ couldn't have any security if they tried! LOLOL...

</feeling childish for the day>

Re:What about windows? (5, Funny)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479059)

What are you talking about? Windows COMES with Paint, with Linux, you're stuck with this thing called GIMP.

Wait, what are we talking about? I'm confused now.

(Seriously, when I first read the article headline, I thought they did mean MS Paint and couldn't figure out why that would help with network protection. Then I read the summary and figured it out.)

Re:What about windows? (4, Funny)

26199 (577806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479529)

Then I read the summary and figured it out.

Huh. I guess they're good for something after all.

Re:What about windows? (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479561)

Try Kolourpaint on Linux if you don't like the GIMP. Kolourpaint is one of the friendliest apps on any platform. It has all the ease-of-use of MS Paint, and none of the inexplicable gaps in functionality (MS Paint can't zoom out, can't zoom in except by powers of two, can't drawn transparent, has no hotkeys for tools, can't rotate except by 90-degree angles.....)

Re:What about windows? (4, Funny)

olddoc (152678) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479087)

You will have to de-fenestrate your home.
Most Slashdotters already live in homes without Windows.

Re:What about windows? (4, Funny)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479243)

You will have to de-fenestrate your home.
I believe there is a major violation of a physical law if you accomplish this. At least it is a whole concept that requires changing some topological rules I thought were laws.

Re:What about windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479401)

Well, it's simple if you've taken N-dimensional physics at Star Fleet Academy. Then you don't need doors.

And I once studied under an ancient Guru who taught me how to teleport bodily waste from my body, eliminating need for a bathroom. Except I never could get the hang of doing it accurately. The less we speak of this the better.

Re:What about windows? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479515)

Had the same problem, but solved it. Work like you are training for bowling, go for consistency over accuracy and then move the computer so everything is on target.

Re:What about windows? (1)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479263)

I searched (quickly, and not very thoroughly) and didn't find it, but I believe when Slashdotters were polled, most of us actually use Windows. Just like everybody else. Go figure.

Re:What about windows? (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479333)

ive been reading /. for years and only recently switched to using linux regularly. until a year or so ago, i was gaming often enough that linux just didnt cut it for me. i stopped, and switched like id always promised myself i would.
i wont be using windows again on any personal machine of mine, im certain of that.

Re:What about windows? (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479493)

Both parent and GP missed the joke. The GGP was talking about our basement-dwelling fellow slashdoters.

Re:What about windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479767)

Parent's basement doesn't count; the house probably still has windows upstairs... If they would ever go there.

Re:What about windows? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479139)

They would go well with your hat!

Aluminum window screen isn't all that effective... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479343)

...at blocking 2.4GHz WiFi signals, or 850 & 1900MHz cellphone signals either.

I've tested this inside a completely metal covered travel trailer (an Airstream) with aluminum screened windows, at an RV park that offered free WiFi to its customers and more than enough 2.4GHz and cellphone signal gets inside for the devices to work just fine, although the signal level is reduced a fair amount. If enough RF gets inside, then you can surely bet that enough signal can also get outside to be "useful" to someone else too.

Does this block cellphones too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18478901)

contain WIFI, block GSM?
I hope it doesnt, else its a no-go in Wireless Office world.

Nice painted windows? (3, Insightful)

nietsch (112711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478927)

Sure it is safe untill somebody needs to open a window or door? Or is this to keep the wifi signal in prison safe? Another fine example of security by obscurity: it never works and is only a good idea as a complement to a setup that is secure without it.

Re:Nice painted windows? (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479041)

Theoretically you would have a doubled doored vestibule... Most commercial buildings have one anyway to keep the (heat|air conditioning) bills low.

A physical barrier is not security through obscurity.

it _is_ security through obscurity (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479545)

The only difference is the wavelenght: a few cm's versus 400-600 nano's.

Re:it _is_ security through obscurity (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479595)

The term "security through obscurity" is generally accepted to mean that you are relying on the fact that nobody knows what the weaknesses in the security are in order to prevent attacks. It is using the "Not easily understood" definition of the word obscure, not the "hidden from view" definition. Physically blocking access to the data you are securing is not "security through obscurity" unless you're trying to make a clever play on words, in which case, Hah hah, very funny.

Re:Nice painted windows? (2, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479149)

You have the same issue with normal blocking methods unless you faraday cage the windows too.

A more likely situation is that a few years down the road a company grows and needs more space . The leasing agency who owns the building (re)moves a non-load bearing wall and rents them some more space from the unit next door. No one remembered that the company had this paint on and now you have an open wall. Could even happen with the traditional methods.

I'm even willing to speculate that because the other 3 walls are coated in it that it may offer a *slight* directional effect.

IMHO it depends on price. For an organization who has moderate security concerns and understands that caging their wireless signals will help (to varyng extents) and that the EM paint is a more cost effective helper than a full metal cage.

Just run the damn cable. (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479559)

Anyone who needs their network to be more than casually "safe" needs to run cat5. Running some cable is too much of a problem, but repainting your house and installing some specialty doors and windows is somehow easier?

Re:Just run the damn cable. (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479613)

It's hard to walk around a building with a networked device if it's attached to a run of CAT5. Also, don't limit yourself to an 802.x world. Telephones are networks. Also, you may be just as interested in preventing the signals from getting *in* as you are in preventing them from getting out.

Re:Nice painted windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479753)

This is not an example of "security through obscurity". That phrase is reserved for claiming a crypto algorithm is secure by hiding the algorithm. The algorithm should be open, only the key hidden. I hate when people apply this phrase to anything and everything, it doesn't even make sense. What are you "obscuring" when you use this paint exactly?

Lead? (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478947)

Is this some sort of lead-based paint?? Yeah, that's a safe alternative...don't eat the paint chips guys!

Re:Lead? (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479075)

Don't know what it is based on, but Aluminium-based would be a safer bet (that's what they use as "paint" on Stealth for absorption of radar-waves)

Re:Lead? (1)

freefrag (728150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479641)

Actually, that would be graphite-ferrite microspheres.

Re:Lead? (2, Funny)

Quasicorps (897116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479259)

Paint chips? You mean wall candy!

Re:Lead? (1)

Spookticus (985296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479539)

I bet thats something willy wonka was behind

Re:Lead? (3, Informative)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479487)

Is lead the only metal that
1) Can be made into a paint
2) Conducts radio waves (this is a Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] for radio waves)?

The answer is no. Most metals conduct radio waves to some degree, just like most can conduct all EM radiation. There are quite a number to choose from that are harmless to humans. Lead is the big choice because its so dense, but we're not talking about nuclear radiation here (and more importantly, we're not talking about nuclear particles, which are stopped by other matter getting in the way, not just by conductive materials). We're not blocking the EM equivalent of a truck - just a series of tubes.

I can see a way around the window/door thing as well.

Put enough conductive material into the Windows and you'll get the same effect. In addition, there are some shapes you can make the entryways (again using principals of a Faraday cage) that will cause the radio waves to tend not to reflect out.

Re:Lead? (0, Troll)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479551)

There is nothing wrong with lead paint, unless you're dumb enough to eat it. If you are, perhaps you should die.

Re:Lead? (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479747)

Hope you don't have kids... those little morons will eat anything.

better than aluminum/aluminium foil hats (5, Funny)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478961)

if this stuff is safe, i could paint my head with it, this is much better than aluminum foil

it could also protect against cell phone brain cancer

Re:better than aluminum/aluminium foil hats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479237)

Nooo, the phone signal would travel in through your ear canal, then bounce about inside your paint-coated head until stopped by cancer cells or until it reached its bounce limit (calculated by frequency/amplitude * pi)

It isn't as easy as painting the walls (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18478967)

The idea of containing electrostatic and electromagnetic fields is to create a Faraday cage. If you are within an unbroken metal shell, most alternating fields and all electrostatic fields can't reach you. Un-alternating magnetic fields can still pass through. The problem is that any break in the metal shell is a possible window for the fields. That means the shielding on the walls has to be completely bonded to the shielding on the ceiling and floor and windows. The doors use something akin to weather stripping.

The other problem is that wires pass through the faraday shield in most cases and those provide a path through it. The bottom line is that if you are relying on a coat of paint to protect you, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

Re:It isn't as easy as painting the walls (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479319)

Assuming all surfaces are well grounded, are gaps really a problem? The wavelength of 2.4 GHz radio is 12.5 cm, and 5 GHz is 6 cm. As long as your gaps are well below that size, there should be very little power transmitted. Of course, if gaps cause some surfaces to not be at the same potential, then you have problems. Best to ground every wall/floor/ceiling with a separate connection.

Agreed on the wire problem, though. You'd want to put chokes on all conductors passing through the shield to ensure they don't become antennas for your WiFi. That won't be good for CAT5 ethernet, so fiber would have to be used instead.

True as far as it goes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479479)

When you talk about grounding the walls and floors and ceilings, you have also to talk about how you are going to do the grounding. Any conductor that you use will act like an antenna or at least it will have significant impedance. Really, the only way to do a Faraday cage is to have an unbroken metal shell. Your comment about wavelength is correct; again as far as it goes. For instance, the window of a microwave oven consists of a bunch of holes which are too small for the RF to squeeze through. On the other hand the gap can be long and narrow so the shield on the wall and the shield on the floor won't work if they aren't bonded every inch or so at the frequencies you mention.

I take note that the grandparent is modded as a troll. Somebody should have to explain that one. I'm guessing that whoever modded it that way would have trouble with Ohm's law let alone RF circuits.

Wave Guides (3, Interesting)

hhawk (26580) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479663)

A bit off topic, but a friend just set up his new MRI scanner and of course the room it is in is well shielded. You need to keep its magnetic waves in the room and you don't want anything interfering with the machine. However, so they can do functional MRI, they need to project video into the machine (e.g., you can watch a video while getting scanned).

Since the video projector can't be in the room... they created a wave guide which is a metal tube of a size (width and length) that doesn't allow anything harmful in or out of the room (electro-magnetically speaking) but is effectively a literal hole in the wall that they can project through. In some studies about taste they can also run long tubes filled with "flavors" so that they can allow a person in the scanner to "taste" while being scanned.

What about other signals? (1)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18478977)

So... what about Radios, Televisions, Cell phones, etc? I assume this paint makes your house into a sort of Faraday cage, so wouldn't those signals be blocked too? What a pain in the ass. I'd rather just set up encryption on my wireless network, than paint my abode in [i]Electromagnetic Fortress Blue[/i].

Re:What about other signals? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479019)

cable tv or sat tv

Most secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18478993)

The EM-SEC Coating System is clearly the most secure option aside from stringing out the CAT5...

How is this more secure than a traditional (hardware) faraday cage? They are built into the walls at many workplaces (including mine).

More convenient, sure, but more secure?

Re:Most secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479121)

I guess they're only considering options that lie on the convex hull on a convenience vs security plot.

Not a security solution! (3, Interesting)

rjforster (2130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479051)

The concept of this product is neat. With careful design you should be able to prevent much of the signal from an access point going beyond a certain area, thus allowing you to put more APs on the same channel closer together within the building than before. The number of users that can sensibly use one AP will be the same but the number of users per m^2 that can use APs(plural) will be much higher. Bandwidth still won't get close to Ethernet but that shouldn't be the issue as the few people who really need bandwidth in a corporate environment should still be wired.

As before, proper authentication and confidentiality is the route to a secure wireless network,

Re:Not a security solution! (1)

bodan (619290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479565)

Yes, that's what I was curious about. I won't bet a cent on the security properties of this thing, but I'm very curious how well it might work in keeping out the wireless signals of the neighbors. I never get fewer that three foreign access points around the house, and I don't even live in a very dense apartment block. I'd need a repeater within certain frequencies for cell-phone and other out-of-the-house wireless I might want. (This would be double-nice: since cell phones communicate through the repeater/amplifier, they would need lower transmission power!)

Also, is the paint reflective or absorbent? In the former case, it might even boost my signal a bit inside the house, provided that I'm careful to use it only on external walls.

And how much does this thing cost? Since they're marketing it as a snake oil derivative, I guess it's too much to be worth it.

It's a bummer that all comments are about the bogus security instead of the nice signal-shaping possibilities.

Really? (4, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479065)

OK, I just ran pbrush.exe but I don't see any commands for establishing my network protection. It only gives me some tools for what seems to be a diagraming program.

Maybe I should read the article or the summary for more detail.

Nah...

But MS Paint... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479079)

Already protects my network [imageshack.us] .

Re:But MS Paint... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479329)

What a l00z3r. Whoever did that used a .jpg.

Anyone who actually cares about security uses a .bmp, and file size be damned.

What about EMP? (4, Interesting)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479081)

I wonder if this paint would block an EMP? I didn't see anything about it in TFA, but that would be a neat side effect.

Re:What about EMP? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479673)

Short Answer: No

Long Answer: It might reduct the affects on items not plugged in, but in general an EMP bomb goes off near your house, it will come in through the power or phone lines. I remember reading somewhere about bunkers that are EMP shielded have internal power sources and having communications with fiber optic lines to the outside world in order to prevent the EMP shock coming in that way.

Maybe if your house had tinfoil over the windows, underground power lines, Verizon FiOS, and this paint... Then maybe.

Really funny (2, Informative)

vidarlo (134906) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479091)

The EM-SEC Coating System is clearly the most secure option aside from stringing out the CAT5, and can be safely used to protect wireless networks in business and government facilities."
Yeah, really. Fiber is about as secure as cat5, and so is a net which only provides a media for transporting a VPN-tunnel. A paint able to stop one kind of RF-communication will stop all other kinds of RF-communication, like cell phones, FM/AM radio, TV and such. Imagine any business trying to explain why phones stop working when inside the building...

Re:Really funny (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479159)

Imagine any business trying to explain why phones stop working when inside the building...

      For certain businesses (restaurants, cinemas, hospitals) that might actually be a GOOD thing...

Re:Really funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479523)

cinemas I understand, since you're not supposed to be talking. Why is it a plus for restaurants? Talking in a restaurant is expected. If you're bothered by someone at your table talking on the phone rather than to you, take it up with them. If you're bothered by someone at the next table talking on the phone, mind your own damn business.

Re:Really funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479323)

That would be very useful actually. We need to paint the inside of my church with this stuff. People who talk on the phone during service are really annoying.

SNAKE OIL (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479113)

I work in a metal fabricated building. I'm sure most people do and have no problems with cell phone reception. While this paint may offer significant absorbtive properties, note that NO dBi attenuation ratings are provided. This paint will have to reduce the power level orders of mnagnitude before useable signal becomes insignificant. Remember, radio signal strength is logarithmic.

Re:SNAKE OIL (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479193)

> Remember, radio signal strength is logarithmic.

No it isn't. It is inversely proportional to distance squared.

Finally... (1)

chowdy (992689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479117)

I can take off my tinfoil hat in peace!

Isn't part of the point to go through walls? (1)

mpotratz (730437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479141)

Isn't part of the reason people buy wireless routers is so that they don't have to run cable through their house? I want mine to go through walls so I don't have to run that wire through the walls. I mean if I am locking my wireless signal to a single room why not just run cable across the floor instead of buying a wireless router and one would assume expensive paint. This might be an OK solution for a business but if I were a business I would still rather just use plain old CAT-5 to avoid any possible security issues from wireless.

Coatings are Becoming More Popular (5, Interesting)

emilyridesabmx (1009713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479151)

I work in a pretty specialized architecture firm, and some of our clients are slightly paranoid to say the least (Ting foil hats? More like Tin Foil Ceremonial Headpieces...) and we are working on a project that has a room that is set up to ward off an EMP during the coming apocalypse. I'm not kidding. The 'Safe Room' in this building is totally shielded, you can't get any type of electronic signal in or out. Coatings like the paint mentioned in the article are becoming more and more and common,and I think we're going to see a lot more multi-use coatings like this in the future. At the moment, they are extremely expensive, but as the price drops, this will become a pretty standards feature in a lot of new constructions where buildings are put up in close proximity to each other and interference tends to be a big problem. Conversely, you can always just get a few rolls of Reynolds Wrap and poster your walls with that.

MS Paint (4, Funny)

c00rdb (945666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479177)

I agree with this article completely. I have been using MS products for years and I found that MS Paint is the one program that has never had any exploits. If I could somehow run everything through Paint, I'm sure my network would be much more secure.

Why? Seriously? (1)

FFCecil (623749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479179)

If you're going to go to the trouble of repainting your entire office/building/whatever so your wireless network can be secure, why not just string cables instead? Unfortunately, the article is light on details, such as the price of this high-tech paint and whether it has any (undesired) side-effects like blocking cell-phones. The real question as I see it is, if you have to factor in the price of repainting your entire workplace (and don't miss any spots!) to the already high expense of going entirely wireless, why not just string some cable and be done with it?

Disclaimer: I'm just hip-shooting here. I've never been in charge of a company so I don't know all the factors which would affect a decision of this type. I just don't get why you'd ever go wireless if security is important to you.

Re:Why? Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479287)

Cables are not a good option in an office where management reorganizes the desks/cubes arrangement every month.

Re:Why? Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479423)

If you're going to go to the trouble of repainting your entire office/building/whatever so your wireless network can be secure, why not just string cables instead?

Laptops.

very useful indeed (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479191)

Sure, paint three walls and knock out the fourth so you can get access in the next room (or the same room now). Repeat until wireless signal is available *only* throughout office or home. Quick, shut down the wireless network, I need to open the front door. Why's it so dark in here ... oh ya we painted over the Windows.

Sure (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479209)

If NASA can receive data from a ~10 watt transmitter at a distance of 10 billion miles, I'm sure that it's possible for someone to read the leakage from any signals inside the building from a distance of 1 block, no matter how much "shielding" is slapped onto the walls.

Re:Sure (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479387)

If NASA can receive data from a ~10 watt transmitter at a distance of 10 billion miles, I'm sure that it's possible for someone to read the leakage from any signals inside the building from a distance of 1 block, no matter how much "shielding" is slapped onto the walls.
I'm not so sure - the product is described as "Multi-layer" and a "System" So I don't actually know how they are doing it... is it really Liguid only, or is it an adhesive to roll on aluminum matting that is then grounded? The article is very light on details. However, the Company website claims TEMPEST certification for the product. If that claim is true, then NASA would not be able to read those transmission through that wall. However, if the TEMPEST claim is true, then the side speculation elsewhere is also true. When you walk into that room/building/whatever The wireless is going to be contained, and so is your cell phone, and most every other signal too.

Diminishing Returns (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479469)

But now you're talking diminishing returns.

Let's take wireless in a corporation, for example. There's a great value-add to having wireless in places like conference rooms - and as I've found in my work, even in the cube-realm. I can take my laptop into any office and stay connected. It's so nice that I've given up use of a PDA for the first time in 6 years or so, and no more need to sync.

Anyways, from my experience the corporation knows about the flaws in wireless and would love to be able to ensure that there is an almost 0 chance of someone getting on the network unauthorized. This paint would help with this. However, would it subvert someone from grabbing the signal with a laptop and a basic WiFi card? I'm betting so. Would it help someone on the building top of the neighboring business with a yagi pointed at the building? Maybe not... but then again, that's what we place other safeguards in place for (WPA with authentications; centralized AAA, paging on "odd" attempts to connect)

In the end, it's all about diminishing returns. If you want to go the complete extra mile (as someone like the Government would) - you'd take any precaution to make sure that no one outside the specific area would be able to connect at all. You would have a specific team who would do a security audit and try to break in. For a standard company, you'd probably attempt to tie everything back to one place and use higher encryption with AAA. That's my experience, anyways.

you are all nuts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479223)

First you cut all the wires because they make great feed throughs.
Then to be really solid you block all the vents with plywood and caulk all the seams (since you can'f afford a shielded vent.
Next, you paint this stuff on makins sure that you get really good coverage with no gaps at all.

Then you suffocate in isolated darkness.

Lead shields (X and Gamma ray) and Faraday shields (electrostatic) are irrelevant.

I spend a lot of time in shielded rooms. It is miserable.

Apart from wanting a poor (but cheap) shielded room (since it won't be as good as two layers of copper or steel with a gap between them like the professionals use) why would you want this rubbish?

Don't bother mentioning Tempest.

It might be worth pointing out that you can buy paper backed copper foil to be used as shielding wall paper.
This has been around for years. Not much point if you have normal windows though. ITO doesn't come cheap.

Tag: Snakeoil (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479233)

I wont even read the article. How do you figure you can contain a WLAN signal? What about the windows? And the doors? Can you still make cell phone calls from within? Or listen radio indoors?
I think the idea is stupid. I hope they didn't blow much VC money with this.

Re:Tag: Snakeoil (2, Interesting)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479497)

I thought about this as well; however, if you think about it - this paint could really help in certain areas.

Let's say you have a need for wireless in a data center. Most data centers I've been to have 0 windows - windows just aren't energy efficient enough to have in a data center; in addition, if someone wanted in from the outside, they'd just smash a window. Those servers would start to look like gold to a thief.....

Anyways, any secured area that you might want a specific network on wireless could have 0 (or faraday caged) windows within the room. I'm sure if it's a wireless security issue, this paint can be a huge help. It probably wouldn't help much on your house, for example.

Re:Tag: Snakeoil (2, Interesting)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479607)

Actually I can think of a use for itmyself, too. The way we are testing wireless forensics or mobile viruses is to set up and actual real life environment. No emulation, but real hardware itself. At the moment this calls for renting of an underground military machine shed/hangar which is naturally signal shielded by helluva lot of rock/soil on it. It would be lot more efficient just to have a test lab which is painted with this.
And ofcourse building a faraday cage would be just as efficient, but it's always cool to rent underground military premises :P

Travis, you're years too late (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479269)

Blog article links to another, dated February 2007 on how to hack a WEP network. Gee, 2 years ago Tomshardware had a tutorial, and by then it was already old news. ForceFieldWireless (among others) has had a "wifi paint" product on the market for years.

Not too useful for many people, I suppose. I mean, a properly secured wireless network with a sensible admin should be able to monitor break ins. For stuff you want to restrict on site, Cat-5 (or -6) works pretty well, and there's much less RF crap to shield.

Just use foil wallpaper (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479277)

It conducts electricity, so it will act as a Faraday shield. Considering that it's not particularly popular now, you can probably "secure" a room for considerably less that this paint will cost.

Even one wall/side it works (or stops ppl working) (2, Interesting)

laurensv (601085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479279)

When 14 or so people were to be moved to adjacent building, it was my job (ITmanager) to make sure they had all there network services.
So I asked for wires to every room and one wireless spot in the middle, the DECT repeater in the hallway not far off was enough to get good reception in every room.
A week before they change places I checkt the new cables, new fiber to the spot, the wireless, it all works.
The day they move, I get scrambled calls about the wireless not working properly and the phones even worse.
What happened? The last day the creative head decided everybody needed one or more magneticly painted walls so they can hang work/memos/etc without having leaving little holes in the wall everytime.
So I needed a new DECTrepeater (and new cables from the PABX, which would have cost a little extra when the fiber was laid in place; but now costs as much for the work) and even now 3 rooms down the phone service isn't great, wireless in those rooms sucks.

Status of WPA? (1)

5pp000 (873881) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479301)

How good is WPA these days, anyway? If I put a strong password on the router, use WPA-PSK with a strong key, turn off SSID broadcast, and allow connections only from specified MAC addresses, how safe am I? (This is a home network in an apartment complex; I can see 10 or 12 other SSIDs from here. So I'm inclined to think that turning off SSID broadcast will keep me under anyone's radar, since there are other, less well secured networks in the vicinity. Still it would be nice not to be completely counting on that.)

Re:Status of WPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479521)

WPA, with a strong pre-shared key is pretty safe. You only worry about dictionary attacks to the preshared key via the first few packets (EAP) and their encoded values.

The two ciphers you can use are TKIP or AES-CCMP. TKIP is basically fixed WEP, a working implementation of RC4. I believe this is considered OK. AES-CCMP is better.

The packet conversation of a WPA network is pretty simple. Client makes association request and access point responds with please authenticate (EAP Start). The preshared key is used as the master key, only temporal keys are ever used for encipherment.

The MAC address and SSID stuff doesn't do anything. A wireless sniffer can detect access points not broadcasting SSIDs as easily as those not, and once a client does join the network the SSID is know from the unencrypted management frame (association request). I believe a future standard (802.11w) will solve that particular problem. A wireless sniffer can also easily determine the MAC address of any client connected and wait for it to leave (or an attacker can sent it an disassociation packet, hey anyone can!) and then move the hacker system to that MAC address.

All disabling the SSID broadcast does is to remove your SSID from client scan lists, removing your network from the awareness of the lemmings but not the hackers.

Just put WiFi router in basement (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479365)

I placed my WiFi router in my basement. I can pick up the signal anywhere in my house and about a 10-foot perimeter around my house. Anything beyond that the signal is too weak (including the road) with the several WiFi adapters I've tried. Forget WEP...don't need it!! This allows friends to easily use their laptops inside my house without bothering with WEP setup.

Yeah yeah yeah...so it ain't perfect and maybe someone could use a super-sensitive receiver, but if someone is gonna try that hard to sniff my network, they might as well break in my house when I'm not home.

Attentuation ratings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479425)

The product's datasheet lists 60-70 dB attenuation as a function of frequency, going all the way up to 2GHz. It's interesting that they don't document attenuation in the 2.4 GHz ISM band (802.11b/g, Bluetooth), nor any other higher frequencies. Assuming that the attenuation is similar for 802.11ish frequencies, I question this thing's effectiveness.

Throw in a few extra dB for the wall, and this shield probably won't prevent an attacker with a directional antenna from listening in to a maximum power transmitter protected by the shield. Maybe not even from a normal 802.11 card.

That said, it sounds like a nice supplemental technology.

Huh? just discovered? (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479473)

http://www.rustoleum.com/product.asp?frm_product_i d=644&SBL=1 [rustoleum.com]

painted my daughters room with it OVER 3 YEARS AGO and it does the exact same thing. we lost cellphone coverage in that room (aluminum screens and storm windows complete the circuit)

The overpriced paint mentioned in that article and I have see elsewhere for the tinfoil-hat crowd is no better than the el-cheapo rustoleium primer applied as 3 coats so that fridge magnets happily adhere to the wall.

Paint Coating (1)

szabodabo (1035126) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479537)

I actually thought while first reading the article that you were supposed to cover the wireless router with it. I was thinking "How would that help? Is that even HEALTHY??" If someone really wanted to hack a wireless network, they could stick a repeater in an outlet right next to a door or something like that. I think that no one should be stealing the government's WiFi anyway... They're inefficient as it is, they need all the bandwidth they can get.

Gotta love the wording (1)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479639)

Airborne RF signals, wtf does that mean?

Inside Job (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479653)

So, if you have a disgruntled employee, all they need to do is stick a tack in the wall. Instant nearly invisible outside access. I bet even a pushpin holding the latest calendar up on the wall would do the trick, and not even need to be intentional.

Oh, and there are those pesky doors and windows to deal with too.

But look at the bright side, you cant be paged or get a SMS call when the servers go down. :)

Better than CATS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479657)

I don't see how some newfangled paint could protect you more than an army of CATS, even if they were "strung out".

If security becomes inconvenient... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18479709)

Come on, wireless networks are for convenience. The security involved is a neccesity. If security becomes just inconvenient, people (non-sysadmin people) will work around it. With WPA encryption, security isn't an inconvenience as much as a must - people cannot in any way access the WLAN without the right key installed. Replacing all access points with ones that don't penetrate special paint will only make people (with the right key) angry and annoyed. And failing to convince the sysadmins, they work around it.

Where I work new access points are installed all the time, just to make all areas accessible. If one room doesn't have coverage, someone is sure to stretch a cable, and install a new access point. They don't even bother to tell anyone; it's WPA protected anyway.

In short: go ahead, paint away. But if I want WLAN access in _this_ meetingroom, I'm going to make it happen ;-).

Cinema's (1)

Enigmafan (263737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18479761)

Please please please cinema's all over the world, put this stuff on your walls... (I hope it helps against mobile phones as well).

If there's an emergency, I will walk out and tell someone who works at your place.
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