Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First contagious airborne WiFi virus discovered

Date:
February 25, 2014
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Researchers have shown for the first time that WiFi networks can be infected with a virus that can move through densely populated areas as efficiently as the common cold spreads between humans.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have shown for the first time that WiFi networks can be infected with a virus that can move through densely populated areas as efficiently as the common cold spreads between humans.

Related Articles


The team designed and simulated an attack by a virus, called "Chameleon," and found that not only could it spread quickly between homes and businesses, but it was able to avoid detection and identify the points at which WiFi access is least protected by encryption and passwords.

Researchers from the University's School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and Electronics, simulated an attack on Belfast and London in a laboratory setting, and found that "Chameleon" behaved like an airborne virus, travelling across the WiFi network via Access Points (APs) that connect households and businesses to WiFi networks.

Areas that are more densely populated have more APs in closer proximity to each other, which meant that the virus propagated more quickly, particularly across networks connectable within a 10-50 metre radius.

Alan Marshall, Professor of Network Security at the University, said: "When "Chameleon" attacked an AP it didn't affect how it worked, but was able to collect and report the credentials of all other WiFi users who connected to it. The virus then sought out other WiFi APs that it could connect to and infect."

"Chameleon" was able to avoid detection as current virus detection systems look for viruses that are present on the Internet or computers, but Chameleon is only ever present in the WiFi network. Whilst many APs are sufficiently encrypted and password protected, the virus simply moved on to find those which weren't strongly protected including open access WiFi points common in locations such as coffee shops and airports.

Professor Marshall continued said: "WiFi connections are increasingly a target for computer hackers because of well-documented security vulnerabilities, which make it difficult to detect and defend against a virus.

"It was assumed, however, that it wasn't possible to develop a virus that could attack WiFi networks but we demonstrated that this is possible and that it can spread quickly. We are now able to use the data generated from this study to develop a new technique to identify when an attack is likely."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jonny Milliken, Valerio Selis, Alan Marshall. Detection and analysis of the Chameleon WiFi access point virus. EURASIP Journal on Information Security, 2013; 2013 (1): 2 DOI: 10.1186/1687-417X-2013-2

Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "First contagious airborne WiFi virus discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225112900.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2014, February 25). First contagious airborne WiFi virus discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225112900.htm
University of Liverpool. "First contagious airborne WiFi virus discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225112900.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

PlayStation Now Smart TV App

PlayStation Now Smart TV App

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) PlayStation Now Smart TV app is coming soon and will be available on both Sony and Samsung HDTV, allowing you to play games without even a counsel! Check out the video for more info. Credit to &apos;booredatwork&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
WikiLeaks Accuses Google of Handing Over Emails to US

WikiLeaks Accuses Google of Handing Over Emails to US

AFP (Jan. 27, 2015) Whistleblowing site WikiLeaks accused Google of handing over the emails and electronic data of its senior staff to the US authorities without providing notification until almost three years later. Duration: 01:09 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cablevision Enters Wi-Fi Phone Fray

Cablevision Enters Wi-Fi Phone Fray

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) The entry by Cablevision and Google could intensify the already heated price wars for mobile phone service. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins