Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Researcher to Blow Lid Off 'Secure' Retail Networks

Danny Bradbury writes on InfoSecurity US:

Next month, a security researcher will unveil a hack that he says could provide backdoor access into thousands of US networks. Rob Havelt, practice manager for the Spider Labs penetration testing laboratory within security firm Trustwave, will demonstrate how to hack into the frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) networks that underpin everything from barcode scanning systems in retail through to some mobile IP phones.

Havelt, who will reveal more information at Blackhat Europe in mid April, said that the FHSS networks commonly employed by systems such as Motorola's Symbol product range have commonly been perceived as secure.

"FHSS used to be seen as a security mechanism as well as a way for these things to talk to each other, because it channel hops across the spectrum, so it never lingers on a single channel for a few milliseconds," he said. "Consequently, a lot of organizations that deployed FHSS networks don't follow the same security practices as they do with other wireless networks."

Frequency hopping isn't entirely random, he warned. The hop pattern, along with information such as the system ID, is broadcast in advance from the network access point in the form of beacon frames, which can be sniffed over the network.

More here.


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