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Wi-Fi Key-Cracking Kits Now On Sale in China

General consumers can now purchase network key-cracking kits in China, a bundle that includes a Wi-Fi USB adapter, a Linux-based operating system, key-breaking software that attacks "long-known weaknesses" in the Wi-Fi encryption standard, and a detailed instruction booklet. The kits are currently sold both online and at Chinese electronics bazaars.

According to Computerworld, the kits are pitched by shady salesmen as a means of surfing the Internet for free... and on the cheap. Apparently the kits cost next no nothing--a mere $24 USD, cheaper than a wireless router or even a new Nintendo DS game. Apparently these kits are super simple to use, requiring very little technical knowledge, allowing general consumers to easily steal passwords from Wi-Fi networks owned by other people and gain access to their Internet connection.

To get online, buyers simply plug in the Wi-Fi adapter into the USB port. Users than install the drivers followed by the Linux-based operating system called BackTrack. Applications are pre-loaded with the OS, and will attempt to obtain keys from WEP and WPA secured networks. Once the keys are obtained, users simply reboot back into Windows and use the keys to gain access to the now-hacked network.

But how long does it take? One kit was tested on a local, private network using the WEP key equivalent of "sugar." The attempt took over an hour to crack, however the current record is around 20 seconds, so the results can vary depending on many factors. Brute-force attacks on WEP keys are typically more effective than attacks used against the newer WPA encryption. Unfortunately, many networks still use WEP, leaving them more susceptible to a possible attack.

Once users gain access to the network, it may not be all about surfing. One researcher believes that sensitive personal data can be obtained as well because the kits actually capture data packets to perform their attacks. Although the kits are deemed illegal, they're widely popular in China, and could pose as a national security threat if the popularity gets too far out of control.

  • sliem
    This is messed up.
    Reply
  • schwiing
    Where can I get one?
    Reply
  • counselmancl
    This is the electronic equivalent of bottled water. You can get cracking software anywhere.
    Reply
  • LORD_ORION
    LOL, sure they are needed to get free internet access.

    Crap, sometimes it's harder to configure devices not to use the "I am broadcasting my network everywhere, hack me please" configurations seen in your local neighbor hood then it is to use specific ones.
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    sliemThis is messed up.
    The only thing that's messed up is the article.

    King Kong Kevin ParishAccording to Computerworld, the kits are pitched by shady salesmen as a means of surfing the Internet for free... and on the cheap. Apparently the kits cost next no nothing--a mere $24 USD,
    Seriously don't you guys have a copy editor or someone who checks everything BEFORE it goes live?
    Reply
  • FATAL STR1K3
    counselmanclThis is the electronic equivalent of bottled water. You can get cracking software anywhere.More liek weed. It's illegal but still everyone uses it.
    Reply
  • hang-the-9
    Run over some protesters with tanks, deny basic rights to people, hack other countries' servers, have 1/4 of the economy based on counterfeit goods, steal WiFi.

    Hey, China is the ultimate Pirate! I'm sending them an eye patch.
    Reply
  • marokero
    The kits are probably put together, on the cheap, with the left over melamine from the milk, lead from toys, and engine coolant from toothpaste foreigners aren't buying anymore from China...
    Reply
  • pogsnet
    Lets go wired... Simple solution. Set your router Filter MAC address -> allow only this/these MAC addresses your hardwares currently have. Even if they hack your WEP they still can't access your router.
    Reply
  • figgus
    pogsnetLets go wired... Simple solution. Set your router Filter MAC address -> allow only this/these MAC addresses your hardwares currently have. Even if they hack your WEP they still can't access your router.
    Wrong, then they will just spoof your mac address too. It's another layer of security, and a good one, but certainly not foolproof.
    Reply