High Throughput Hounds of Hell Unleashed

High Throughput Hounds of Hell Unleashed

By CWNP On 04/10/2008 - 12 Comments

It has officially started.  Hacking 802.11n was inevitable of course, and now we have Denial of Service (DoS) and Service Degradation attacks aimed squarely at 802.11n networks.  Using normal functions of the High Throughput (HT) PHY/MAC such as Block ACKs and coexistance (protection) mechanisms is a perfect place for a hacker to start because those features are required for proper operation.

Here are some recent posts to the Wireless Vulnerabilities and Exploits website:

  • HT Intolerant Degradation of Service - http://www.wve.org/entries/show/WVE-2008-0004
  • GF Mode WIDS Rogue AP Evasion - http://www.wve.org/entries/show/WVE-2008-0005
  • Block ACK DoS - http://www.wve.org/entries/show/WVE-2008-0006

These are only the beginning of course, and I would be willing to bet that there will be a steady stream of 802.11n attacks aimed at reducing your high-priced investment to wireless rubble.  In many ways, 802.11n networks are susceptible to the same kind of Service Degradation attacks that 802.11g networks experienced when they were initially introduced - quickly nulling a company's ROI.  As long as we have backwards compatibility in new PHY/MAC standards, there will be readily accessible attack points for hackers.

Should this affect your decision to upgrade to 802.11n?  To answer that question, I would ask you a question: "Did you upgrade from 802.11b to 802.11g?"  If your answer was 'yes' and it has been a good experience, then you should also upgrade to 802.11n for the same reasons.

WLAN security professionals are surely going to have their hands full fending off 802.11n attacks, but first they have to learn how 802.11n works in detail.  That's something The CWNP Program stands ready to help with.  Drop us a line. :)


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