Many people are familiar with connecting to a Wi-Fi hot spot. Our phones, tablets and wi-fi security computers all have Wi-Fi ability, and we have been told that (encryption) is what makes us safe. Many don’t understand that open Wi-Fi is dangerous; they blindly connect their devices and go about looking for a date or checking their bank account. I chuckle to myself every time I see this in line at a star bucks.
Many are under the belief that the corporate user who connects to their workplace on a public wifi though a virtual private network is completely safe. A lot of uninformed windows administrators blindly install a wide variety of applications to keep their mobile workplace connected.
Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer the ability to share a connection to their computer. If this happens to be turned on an attacker can get to that computer and piggy back the connection. This allows anyone connected to use whatever is on the computer or what it is connected to. Thus, it makes it possible to bypass the vpn that is protecting the corporate network. The attacker can act as a part of the corporate network sharing the connection that was supposed to be protected. Thus bypassing the vpn and all attempts of wi-fi secuity.
So many people in large corporations don’t have a clue about security and frankly some don’t really care. Lots of people are completely lax in thinking security is someone else’s problem. They will blindly use any connection and work in public many with sensitive personal information of others on their computer.
Many of us store personal information on our devices and sharing it with the world is not what most people want with their private information. This is what happens though when many people use unprotected and unknown networks in their daily life.
Many would be completely unsuspecting sitting in a café and connecting to a WI-FI pineapple. The latest marketing information touts “With its custom, purpose built hardware and software, the WiFi Pineapple enable users to quickly and easily deploy advanced attacks using our intuitive web interface. From a man-in-the-middle hot-spot honeypot to an out-of-band pentest pivot box, the WiFi Pineapple is unmatched in performance, value and versatility. “
Hacking began with a false claim of security using Wi-Fi
At the dawn of the industrial age, an incident occurred that some consider the first hacking episode. Guglielmo Marconi, 1909 joint Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, credited in the invention of radio and many other great electronic achievements, was the victim.
According to author Sungook Hong in his book Wireless, Marconi and his assistant John Fleming were about to demonstrate their claim that messages such as Morse code could be sent wirelessly and more importantly, securely over long distances. Fleming was in the lecture theater of the Royal Institution in London before a large audience. Morse was some 300 miles away in Poldhu, on the southern coast of England.
At the same time, a frustrated inventor and music hall magician, Nevil Maskelyne, was in the nearby Egyptian Theater, setting up his own wireless transmitter. It is said that he came from a family of inventors; that is, if you accept the fact that Nevil’s father invented the first pay-toilet by equipping them with locks that required a penny to gain entrance.
Maskelyne was self-taught in the early technologies of radio and even used Morse code to wirelessly send messages to an accomplice and thus fake “mind-reading” in his magic acts. He did, however, actually build larger working transmitters and was sending messages wirelessly as early as 1900. When Marconi virtually monopolized the wireless market by filing a wide array of patents, Maskelyne became even more frustrated and angry, and set out to embarrass Marconi and his claims of “secure” wireless transmissions.
As Fleming awaited Marconi’s transmission, due at any moment, he and the audience heard a ticking noise coming from the lantern projector that held the slides for his lecture. His assistant, Arthur Blok, quickly concluded that it was someone sending Morse code. Blok translated the message as the word “rats” being sent over and over. Soon it was replaced with the following little ditty:
“There was a young fellow of Italy, who diddled the public quite prettily.”
Several more lines of the rude poetry came out, as well as other lines of Shakespeare. Marconi et al had been hacked.
It wasn’t until four days later that Maskelyne fired off a letter to the Times of London taking credit for the hack. He claimed he did it for the public good, to expose the security holes in Marconi’s system. That message would be played out many times by future hackers, right up to the present day, and no doubt far into our future.
For several years before this incident, all this new “tech” worried the traditional wired telegraph companies. They weren’t looking forward to the possibility that it could soon put them out of business. Their only hope was to show their customers that wireless was unsafe and unsecure.
The wired communications leader of the British Empire, the Eastern Telegraph Company, that had a huge investment in underwater cables spread out across the globe, felt its monopoly threatened. After Marconi successfully sent a transatlantic message wirelessly on December 12, 1901, they had hired Maskelyne to hack Marconi.
As part of his efforts to intercept Marconi’s transmissions, Maskelyne had a 150-foot tower built near Eastern’s facility at Porthcurno, also on the southern coast of England. He was soon listening in to Marconi’s transmissions to ships at sea, already a booming business.
Maskelyne soon demonstrated that he could intercept Marconi’s transmissions. The later Royal Institute hack in 1903 also showed that he could interfere with the transmissions as well. For Maskelyne, it was just the “icing on the cake”.
Years later, as radio technology became one of the dominant players in cellular and satellite communications, Maskelyne’s lessons on the shortcomings of wireless security were all but forgotten. His antenna still exists on the cliffs west of Porthcurno, England.
Anyway that you say it WI-FI security is a myth
After all the first public demonstration ever of the wireless telegraph over one hundred years ago, ended up in being compromised with dirty limericks being remotely transmitted.