Asus | WL-100G | Giuseppe Razzano , Neeli R. Prasad , Roberto De Paolis

Giuseppe Razzano , Neeli R. Prasad , Roberto De Paolis , Roberto Cusani
Telecommunication Research Center Vienna (ftw.), Austria
Center for TeleInFrastruktur (CTIF), Aalborg University, Denmark
INFOCOM Dpt., University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy
·Due to the diffusion of internet based services, a large number of people require secure and protect
information exchange, also in their private life.
·Ease of installation, reduced costs, scalability are among the reasons that have led to an enormous
diffusion of wireless systems. An ever increasing number of private houses and small offices are
now equipped with wireless access.
·Federal security agency in USA has announced that unsecured Wi-Fi networks of unsuspecting
consumers and businesses have started to be used by criminals.
·While in the wired world, it was often difficult for lawbreakers to make themselves untraceable, in
the wireless world, on the contrary, it is extremely easy, especially thanks to the amount of open and
unsecure Wi-Fi networks.
·This work presents the result of some tests carried on to analyze the security level of the current
installations of 802.11 networks, analysing the main problems and vulnerabilities and
proposing some countermeasures to increase the security level, given the current wireless
devices available.
Choose network cards that support 128-bit encryption or 256-bit encryption.
Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) must be in place to monitor each segment of the wireless
network, in order to recognize and prevent attacks, before the hacker authenticates to the AP.
Generally speaking, IDS comprises of three functional areas:
· A stream source that provides chronological event information.
War driving means going around in an inhabited area, while scanning for wireless access points.
Wireless PC
Access Point
Modem Router
Laptop with wireless
card passively capturing Traffic
Hacking a WLAN, the first problem is to locate and detect the wireless network.
Beacons sent by APs at predefined intervals are essentially invitations and driving directions that
enable the client to easily find the AP and configure the appropriate settings to communicate.
WLAN scanners allow users to identify WLANs through the use of a wireless Network Interface
Card (NIC), running in promiscuous mode, and the application of a software tool, able to probe
for APs (e.g. NetStumbler). Another useful tool is a Network Sniffer. This, can be used, either as
SSID and MAC address identifier, or as a wireless sniffer to cache all the traffic of the WLAN in order
to decrypt it.
To test the level of security and the diffusion of wireless network devices, several war driving in the
city of Rome were carried on.
War Driving Configuration
Notebook Prostar 2794
· An analysis mechanism to determine potential or actual intrusions.
512 Mega Ram
· A response mechanism that takes action on the output of the analysis.
Windows 2000 Professional S.P. 4
When the expense of IDS technology cannot be sustained, some techniques can be applied to
discover wireless card trying to hack the WLAN or sniffing its traffic:
WLAN Card Asus WL-100g
NetStumbler 0.3.30
· Wireless
cards running in promiscuous mode can be detected sending a request to the IP
address of the machine, but not to its WLAN adapter.
· Decoy method:
setting up a client and a fake server on either side of the network, where the
client runs a script to logon to the server using protocol where user authentication is sent in
plain text (e.g. Telnet, POP, IMAP) . Once a hacker sifts the usernames/passwords, he/she will
then attempt to log on using this information, on the server which log this occurrence, alerting
the fact that a sniffing hacker has found the traffic and attempted to use the information.
beacons on the AP, such that only nodes knowing the SSID can associate to the AP.
However, this action does not prevent WLAN identification, as some scanners operate by sending a
steady stream of broadcast packets on all possible channels and unfortunately, APs respond to
broadcast packets, reporting their existence, even if beacons have been disabled.
Ethereal 0.9.14 (with WinpCap 3.01)
During the scanning, a large number of APs, installed in hotels, flats and small offices were located:
the level of security of the AP was very low, and it was possible, almost always, to easily surf on the
discovered networks.
Cracking time is dependent upon both the key size and the amount of traffic in the network. When
network traffic is near the capacity of 11 MBps, cracking a 40-bit WEP key may take from three to
four hours. To facilitate the WEP cracking, it is possible to artificially generate network traffic using
an UDP flooder.
MAC level filtering. MAC addresses can be spoofed, but still MAC filtering is enough to
thwart off casual hackers. This solution is not scalable, but it is a good choice for SOHO scenarios,
where the number of users is not large and does not change very often.
·Do not use DHCP on WLANs. To access hosts at a targeted site, a hacker would need to obtain a
valid IP configuration. Static IP address require the user to correctly configure its pc to access the
network, but in all the cases where the number of users does not change often this solution is suitable.
·Locate APs centrally, thus placing them away from the exterior walls or windows and
adjust their
transmission power (50-75% reduction can be achieved.
·Change encryption keys. An attacker could crack the keys within a matter of hours, but
the encryption keys ensures that a compromised network does not remain insecure indefinitely.
default passwords/IP addresses. Most APs have a built in web server that provides a
console for administration.
·Purchase only APs that have flashable firmware. There are security enhancements that are being
developed and released very frequently.
·Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) should be used to increase what 802.11b provides in the way of
encryption and authentication.
802.11i is the new version of the standard, finalized in 2004 by IEEE Taskgroup i, with the aim of solving the weaknesses of WEP-based wireless security. Substantial components of the 802.11i standard were
already released before the standard was released and products are available on the market, under the auspices of the Wi-Fi Alliance. Already in November 2002, the Wi- Fi Alliance announced the so called
Wireless Protected Access (WPA).
·802.1X port-based authentication framework: extensible authentication protocol that applies to both wireless and wired Ethernet networks.These are the main
·Standard based: 802.1x is an IEEE standard released in June 2001, which makes use of existing standards (i.e. Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP)
and RADIUS).
·Flexible authentication: administrators may choose the type of authentication method used.
· Scalable to large enterprise networks by simply adding APs and, as needed, additional RADIUS servers.
·Centrally managed allowing roaming to be made as transparent as possible.
·Client keys are dynamically generated and propagated. The encapsulation protocol (EAP) allows different authentication protocols to be used (i.e. Md5, LEAP,
EAP-Transport Layer Security (TLS) - Public
Key Infrastructure (PKI), EAP-Tunneled TLS (TTLS)).
Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP): enables secure, dynamic key generation and exchange. TKIP continues to use the RC4 encryption engine used by WEP, but provides the following important
improvements over WEP:
·Dynamic keys: allows per-session and per-packet dynamic ciphering keys.
·Message integrity checking (MIC): ensures that message have not been tampered during transmission.
·48-bit IV hashing provides longer IV (used in conjunction with a base key to encrypt and decrypt data) that avoids the weaknesses of the shorter 24-bit WEP RC4 key.
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