The Null Device

Ceng wang ka

The street finds its own uses for things: entrepreneurs in China are selling WiFi adapters with network key-cracking tools for breaking into secure WiFi networks. Currently, the key-cracking tools consist of a bootable Linux CD-ROM, but give it a few months and they'll integrate the cracking tools into silicon on the USB stick itself.

The existence of such tools promises to make a mockery of laws like the UK's Digital Economy Act, which are predicated on the assumption that it is possible to securely lock down a network well enough for the owner to bear legal liability for any offenses committed by anyone using the network. Of course, such tools will probably be illegal to possess or import into the UK, but then again, so are the Baikal starter pistols used by gangbangers.

In other news, an Israeli company is selling a portable device for intercepting GSM phone communications. The euphoniously titled Dominator I consists of several boxes containing custom hardware (presumably cipher-cracking FPGAs or similar), is controlled from a laptop, and can transparently impersonate a mobile base station, crack the cryptography used and record all communications from up to four phones. The makers, Meganet, say that it is undetectable.

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