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Wireless Networking Security Windows IT Linux

Windows 7 Can Create Rogue Wi-Fi Access Point 123

Posted by timothy
from the feature-not-bug dept.
alphadogg writes "Windows 7 contains a 'SoftAP' feature, also called 'virtual Wi-Fi,' that allows a PC to function simultaneously as a Wi-Fi client and as an access point to which other Wi-Fi-capable devices can connect. The capability is handy when users want to share music and play interactive games. But it also can allow on-site visitors and parking-lot hackers to piggyback onto the user's laptop and 'ghost ride' into a corporate network unnoticed." While this means a bit more policing for networks meant to be locked down, it sounds like a good thing overall. Linux users, meanwhile, have had kernel support (since 2.6.26) for 802.11s mesh networking, as well as Host AP support for certain chipsets.
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Windows 7 Can Create Rogue Wi-Fi Access Point

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  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:01PM (#31206242)

    Agreed, this is beyond stupid. You could do the same with XP if you like, but now its a little easier. I used to share a cellular card this way years ago. The "policing" and "lockdown" of "rogue" access points is like one click in group policy or a value in a reg key.

    Slashdot has become the fox news of tech.

  • Easy Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:09PM (#31206290) Homepage

    This doesn't seem like any more of a problem than someone jacking in to an empty ethernet port on your network, except that a) they can do it from outside the building wirelessly and b) any special software used by the 7 user to access the network could potentially helpfully forward packets from others, but that would probably be a fault of the software not checking the origin IP on packets...

    Anyways the fix is simple. Require authentication for all network resources. Windows enterprise solutions are set up like this by default and do it transparently using Windows login credentials. An intruder on your network would be unable to access anything. There is the LITTLE issue of exploits, so you can either batten down the hatches as much as you can and continually scan for suspicious network traffic, or you can try an alternate solution which may work better (a combination of both would be best):

    For complete security, IT could notify all employees that use of this feature is not permitted. On corporate machines it could be disabled or removed or steps taken to block access, but you must assume users are clever enough to get it working (not to mention booting from a LiveCD bypasses every protection known, except complete Windows software compatibility. Someone did mention Linux software that did this though, and my brother's WiFi card supposedly does it too with a special included application.). IT could also compromise and allow users to use it if it is properly configured, with clear steps outlining how to check if this is the case. However either way, severe penalties (starting with being kicked off the network until you have resolved the problem) would be issued for having an open access point. IT would have to periodically stage their own "attacks" to look for such hotspots and attempt to connect, and then lock the user out of the network if they are able to access the user's machine anonymously (ie folder shares with company files) or the network.

    OK so it's a long winded solution but basically: The problem isn't new, lock down systems with authentication best you can, routinely scan for hotspots and penalize users that put them up.

    Disclaimer: I am not a security expert but I like to think I've picked up a few things.

  • by mrbene (1380531) on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:15PM (#31206326)
    If you want easy-mode, check out Connectify [connectify.me]. Timothy (the poster for this article) linked a story about Connectify back in November [slashdot.org].
  • Re:Easy Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by Niobe (941496) on Friday February 19, 2010 @08:18PM (#31206346)
    You are misunderstanding the problem. The PC running this feature becomes a router bridging their local and probably unauthenticated network with whatever secure network they are already connected to. Add network connection sharing to the mix and you have a security hole regardless of how 'locked down' the original network is. How big a problem this is will depend on the implementation and I haven't seen it.
  • by maitai (46370) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:24PM (#31206780) Homepage

    Not only is it turned "off" by default, but requires third party software to make it work (not just enable it, but add the complete functionality) as mentioned a long time ago here http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/09/11/03/1649246/Unfinished-Windows-7-Hotspot-Feature-Exploited?from=rss [slashdot.org]

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