Think your Wi-Fi network isn’t susceptible to viruses? Think again.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have conducted research with findings showing viruses similar to those that humans contract can be picked up by wireless networks. That means just like we spread the cold or flu our computers and devices can also get ‘sick’.
Aptly called Chameleon, the virus can jump from network to network via access points. Once contracted, the virus can then spread among homes and businesses.
“Wi-Fi 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,” Alan Marshall, a professor of network security at the school, told CNet.
“It was assumed, however, that it wasn’t possible to develop a virus that could attack Wi-Fi 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.”
Using laboratory tests, the team demonstrated how Chameleon is similar to an airborne virus. It can travel via Wi-Fi access points and was able to hide because anti-virus programs aren’t set to look for viruses on Wi-Fi networks.
Public Wi-Fi spots, such as restaurants, cafés and shopping centers are the perfect hiding places for the virus.
However, Chameleon — as reported in the Eurasip Journal on Information Security — was blocked on secure networks.