Feeds

Aaah-CHOOO! Brit boffins say WiFi can 'sneeze' malware

Vulnerable access points could spread viruses like that snuffly chapy next to you on the train

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

While the "head cold" metaphor is a bit laboured, the issue is genuine: a group of researchers from the University of Liverpool have found that WiFi access points are highly efficient at passing around virus infections.

Likening the spread of computer viruses over WiFi as akin to the spread of human viruses in the air, the researchers say once a single access point in (for example) a city is infected, it's easy to pass on the virus to other access points.

The modelling was based on a simulation of the Chameleon WiFi access point virus, being spread in Belfast and London.

In the WiFi environment, Chameleon is a polymorphic virus that arose during 2012. Described here, Chameleon is a firmware-replacement attack that presents false outward-facing credentials from infected machines. It can then steal data from users connecting to the access point.

The University of Liverpool modelling exercise also showed that Chameleon could identify the least-protected access points visible from an infected site, while avoiding detection. Unlike endpoints such as laptops, phones and tablets, WiFi access points aren't watched by anti-virus software, the researchers point out in this release.

A poorly-protected access point is easy to infect, and where there's a high concentration of access points, any infected device is likely to be within view of another vulnerable unit. Once units are within 10-50 metres of each other, the modelling found, the virus propagates very quickly.

“WiFi connections are increasingly a target for computer hackers because of well-documented security vulnerabilities, which make it difficult to detect and defend against a virus,” said University of Liverpool professor of network security Alan Marshall. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.