Wireless jammers cast a dark shadow over IoT security

Imagine someone deploying a wireless jammer in a large retail store on Black Friday. These types of IoT security disasters are fast approaching.

Imagine someone deploying a wireless jammer in a large retail store on Black Friday. These types of IoT security disasters are fast approaching.

Autumn DePoe-Hughes videotaped a rather bizarre scene at Manchester Fort Shopping Park last summer. When car doors were locked, they couldn't be unlocked. The opposite was also the case. And annoying car alarms resisted any attempt to silence them. DePoe-Hughes told The Register's John Leyden, "Someone else was in complete control of our cars for well over half an hour."

Leyden asks Ken Munro, a security researcher at Pen Test Partners, what he thinks happened. "The aim of this attack is to interfere with the radio signal from the key fob to the car," explains Munro. "Jammers are easily and inexpensively available online from overseas. It is also fairly easy to make gsm jammer from components available from electronics stores."

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Do you want to build your own jammer? No problem

Bad guys want to be as anonymous as possible. For this purpose, they may prefer to build frequency jammer. According to Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens, researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium, this is now easier than ever.

In their work Advanced Wi-Fi Attacks Using Commodity Hardware (PDF), the researchers discuss the construction of different types of wireless jammers with simple Wi-Fi dongles. "As new standards cross the line between transmission speed and functionality, the capabilities of wireless chips have increased accordingly," the authors write. "This opens up new ways in which off-the-shelf devices can be used to implement state-of-the-art attacks that were previously only thought possible on expensive hardware such as Universal Software Radio Peripherals."

Vanhoef spoke about their results at the recent BruCON security conference. His session can be seen on YouTube. One of the more interesting discoveries Vanhoef discusses is how he can change the firmware of a Wi-Fi dongle and force a target network to give priority to the changed Wi-Fi dongle / jammer, rendering the channel unusable for other devices.

More fear of jammers was on the way

The term "perfect storm" is a cliché, but a fitting analogy for the collision between good and bad that is rapidly approaching. Getting technology where it becomes an important cog, regardless of any dark side problems such as: B. wireless interference will cause great fear. Loud car alarms are just the beginning.

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