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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Microsoft Release Patch for Dangerous Wireless Vulnerability

If you have a laptop with a wireless card, you've probably used it to access the Internet without being aware of a dangerous security vulnerability in the way Windows XP handles wireless networks. According to Security Fix,
Open up an XP portable, and if you're looking with the right tools you'll notice the machine starts scanning for wireless networks that it recognizes. It does this by sending out a beacon advertising the names of the networks it is seeking. An XP laptop will run through the entire list of network names with which it has previously associated, over and over, until the machine has associated with a network. Some wireless adapters will go so far as to automatically probe for randomly generated network names.
This is a problem because an attacker can hijack your wireless connection by pretending to be a network you're familiar with, meaning everything you try to access through the wireless connection can be recorded by the attacker's computer.

Microsoft's patch isn't readily found on Windows Update, but you can download it here (WGA required).


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