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    Your Wi-Fi can tell people a lot about you

    Date06 Mar 2007
    5013
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    ARLINGTON, Va.--Simply booting up a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop can tell people sniffing wireless network traffic a lot about your computer--and about you.

    Soon after a computer powers up, it starts looking for wireless networks and network services. Even if the wireless hardware is then shut-off, a snoop may already have caught interesting data. Much more information can be plucked out of the air if the computer is connected to an access point, in particular an access point without security.

    "You're leaking all kinds of information that an attacker can use," David Maynor, chief technology officer at Errata Security, said Thursday in a presentation at the Black Hat DC event here. "If the government was taking this information from you, people would be up in arms. Yet you're leaking this voluntarily using your laptop at the airport."

    There are many tools that let anyone listen in on wireless network traffic. These tools can capture information such as usernames and passwords for e-mail accounts and instant message tools as well as data entered into unsecured Web sites. At the annual Defcon hacker gathering, a "wall of sheep" always lists captured log-in credentials.

    Errata has developed another network sniffer that looks for traffic using 25 protocols, including those for the popular instant message clients as well as DHCP, SNMP, DNS and HTTP. This means the sniffer will capture requests for network addresses, network management tools, Web sites queries, Web traffic and more.

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