August 27th, 2009

Captain Obvious

Have I mentioned that your wireless network is still insecure?

Computer scientists in Japan say they've developed a way to break the WPA encryption system used in wireless routers in about one minute.

Last November, security researchers first showed how WPA could be broken, but the Japanese researchers have taken the attack to a new level, according to Dragos Ruiu, organizer of the PacSec security conference where the first WPA hack was demonstrated. "They took this stuff which was fairly theoretical and they've made it much more practical," he said.

The earlier attack, developed by researchers Martin Beck and Erik Tews, worked on a smaller range of WPA devices and took between 12 and 15 minutes to work. Both attacks work only on WPA systems that use the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) algorithm. They do not work on newer WPA 2 devices or on WPA systems that use the stronger Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm.

My laptop is almost four years old now, and it doesn't support WPA2. If I want to have WiFi on my laptop, I am now stuck running an insecure network. Yes, MAC filtering will help some. But MAC addresses can be spoofed, just like ethernet hardware addresses can.

Maybe we'll get wireless network security right someday. But not, evidently, any time in this decade...
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UK wants to ban pint glasses made of glass - someone might get cut.

The Home Office has commissioned a new design, in an attempt to stop glasses being used as weapons. Official figures show 5,500 people are attacked with glasses and bottles every year in England and Wales.

The British Beer and Pub Association said it did not want the new plastic glasses to be made compulsory.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: There are some people in the world who won't be happy until every last person is tied up in a straight-jacket, stuffed in a padded cell, with access to nothing more dangerous than jello.

I don't live in the UK, but if I did, I might be inclined to say that news stories like this tend to make one think that certain MPs had too much free time on their hands. Perhaps if someone ran for their seat they'd find that they had better things to concern themselves with than banning pint glasses?

(via bruce_schneier)

TED talk on WiTricity

An old video, and not terribly long (10 minutes) or in-depth. But still a very fun little demo of how we could power things wirelessly.

Sadly - and contrary to any impression given early in the talk - I don't think this is going to help us get rid of batteries. Anywhere that magnetic near-field is a reasonable solution, a cord is more efficient and way cheaper.