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Updated Tuesday, August 3, 2004, 12:00 PM EDT

WLAN Attacks Getting More Sophisticated, Vendor Says
By Mobile Pipeline

Attacks on wireless LANs are getting more sophisticated and dangerous to enterprises, a company that specializes in wireless security said Tuesday.

The company, AirDefense, as attracted attention for monitoring the airwaves at popular trade shows. It said it recently monitored the DefCon12 underground hacking convention and was surprised at what it found.

"The types of attacks we are seeing are increasingly more sophisticated than those of years past," Richard Rushing, chief security officer of AirDefense, said in a statement. "Whereas last year we noted basic denial of service and MAC spoofing attacks, this year hackers have moved on to what we refer to as level three attacks, where hackers are actually injecting traffic into the network and manipulating data."

Specifically, the company noted an "injection attack" in which attendees at the conference who were surfing the Web received images and data they had not requested, a type of attack common with wired networks.

The company said it also discovered what it calls a new developer's kit denial of service attack in which the attacker modifies firmware on the network interface card. That, in turn, casues the card to send data without waiting for a signal from the access point, the company said in a statement.

"This is an example of how theoretical attacks are becoming practical," Anil Khatod, president and CEO of AirDefense, said.

The company said it chose to monitor the DefCon conference because of the nature of the attendees. In the past, AirDefense has been criticized for counting wireless security demonstrations as attacks by hackers.

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