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Wi-Fi Virus Created by Researchers

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 viruses do exist.
Wi-Fi viruses do exist.

“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.

About the author

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W. Brice McVicar

W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

3 Comments

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  • It’s good that research, such as this, is being undertaken – as it highlights potential weak-spots that, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t be found/documented.

    Once issues are brought into the open, solutions can be found, thereby tightening up the whole infrastructure.

  • Thanks Brice for sharing your findings on this particular vulnerability. The problem here is bigger than it actually sounds. As a security practitioner, one and the only layer which one would hardly focus except maybe having a physical surveillance. Ironically, the entire paradigm of wireless has changed due to the mobility offered by Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, the specifications of 11n are so deep and complex that it takes years to understand. Moreover there are a few commercial products available which work on the same frequency band. It does create interference but there are many security glitches which can be exploited.