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Blog Articles, Sonar

Wi-Fi Hacking Devices

Aug 11, 2021
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Setting up home and small business networks is relatively rudimentary and straightforward today. Unfortunately, many users may end up choosing their network devices heedlessly, risking their information and networks.

At the same time, there are prevalent vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi security protocols and hardware components. In fact, some vulnerabilities come from the devices’ manufacturers. Other wireless network issues include poorly secured user and administrator access and vulnerabilities in services like universal plug and play (UPnP), Telnet, and Secure Shell. Meanwhile, hackers scan Wi-Fi networks to discover and exploit the flaws with botnets other malware.

More frequently, users set up and use network devices without changing default configuration and factory passwords. This trend leaves the web administration interface prone to authentication bypass, allowing any user or intruder to access admin rights. Virtually, the device connected to the internet becomes a possible entry point for cybercriminals.

It is also common for some internet service providers (ISPs) to provide their clients with obsolete routers and access points. As a result, the tools become phased out quickly, with limited support and security updates and patches from vendors. Using years-old technologies coupled with factory default settings provides low-hanging fruit for attackers.  


Flawed Wireless Network Protocols

From security analysis, wireless networks are inherently insecure, potentially allowing unauthorized access by intruders looking to steal sensitive information or launch malware. It is apparent that manufacturers have developed various security protocols to protect wireless networks, but hackers have identified flaws in these controls.

For instance, the Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption protocol has numerous security flaws that hackers can easily crack. An old attack demonstrated how hackers could exploit WEP’s weak encryption algorithm to sniff initialization vectors by passively scanning the wireless traffic on a targeted network.

Some would be condoned for believing that Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) is a secure wireless protocol due to the presence of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Regrettably, the protocol is not watertight, as it is prone to the Key Reinstallation AttaCK (KRACK) vulnerability. What’s worse, security professionals believe that KRACK affects almost all Wi-Fi-enabled devices, even those with proper WPA2 implementations.


Attackers Use Devices to Hack Wi-Fi

Hackers targeting Wi-Fi can decide to attack the network itself or any connected device. That being the case, they have the flexibility to discover and pick the weakest link. Hackers can use different methods to facilitate attacks against your Wi-Fi. A classical approach that the SONAR platform detects is the use of installed tools attached to the proper wireless adapters. Such tools are usually publicly available and would cost as low as $20. Most of the Wi-Fi hacking devices are available on www.amazon.com.

Various tools take Wi-Fi password cracking and wireless network hacking to the next level. They are in the form of antennas capable of capturing keystrokes over the air. Wi-Fi hacking devices operate in the same way WPA2 handshakes are captured. Popular Wi-Fi hacking tools include Raspberry Pi 3, Wi-Fi Pineapple, Alfa Network Board, LAN Turtle, HackRF One, Ubertooth One, Proxmark3 Kit, and Lockpicks.

Hackers use Wi-Fi hacking devices to automate auditing with different campaigns and generate actionable results from the assessment reports. Mostly, attackers use high-gain antennas that hit wireless networks from a considerable distance.

Wi-Fi hacking tools enable various attacks, including man-in-the-middle (MITM). Sometimes, they come with an intuitive web interface that enables hackers and penetration testers to connect using a device such as a smartphone or a tablet.

For instance, Wi-Fi Pineapple provides ease of use, workflow management, and detailed information to allow hackers to emulate different kinds of advanced attacks. Wi-Fi Pineapple platform features great modules continually developed by the user community to add new capabilities and widen its functionalities. Other than that, users can install the tool’s modules free of charge via the web interface.


Wi-Fi Network Security Best Practices

  • Change Factory Default Settings: always change your default Wi-Fi names (SSIDs) and passwords, especially for ISP-issued routers.
  • Use Strong Passwords: short passwords are easy to decrypt. You can improve your wireless network security by creating complex credentials that make it challenging for hackers to crack. It would be best if you used a password with at least 14 characters, containing a mixture of both uppercase and lowercase letters (a-z and A-Z), a mixture of letters and numbers (0-9, a-Z), and the inclusion of at least one unique character (!@#$%^&*()+=|}{).  
  • Update the Firmware: update the firmware of Wi-Fi-enabled devices, particularly the routers. Always check when vendors release new updates.
  • Use Security Tools: install security tools, such as firewall and virtual private network (VPN), to improve the network security.
  • Employee Awareness: businesses should train employees to raise awareness on the risks of insecure networks while working remotely
  • Network Monitoring: installing network monitoring tools reveals information on connected devices and web traffic, making it possible to spot malicious activities in Wi-Fi. Regular network device logs reviews can help discover suspicious activities. Fortunately, you can install tools that offer AI-based automation
  • Use MFA: multifactor authentication (MFA) provides strong authentication for users connected to the wireless network. Besides, advanced access control solutions allow network administrators to manage, track, and block entry points to the network in real-time
  • Purge Unnecessary Networks: the preferred network list (PNL) contains the names of Wi-Fi networks that your device automatically trusts and connects to. Unfortunately, hackers are infamous for creating rogue access points that mimic the names of common public Wi-Fi access points, making it easy to track devices and launch MITM attacks. What’s worse, your device will not warn you when automatically joining an open network in the PNL. This action potentially allows hackers to load attacks. You can prevent such attacks by deleting preferred networks on the PNL list.
Corey Belanger

Corey Belanger

Corey is a Security Consultant and leads QA of product development, using his expertise in these dual roles to more effectively test and secure applications, whether while building enterprise applications or while performing penetration tests and vulnerability assessments for customers. An Army veteran with a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Corey has built a post-military career in security while earning Network+, Security+, GIAC Certified Incident Handler, GIAC Python Coder, GIAC Web App Penetration Testing, and GIAC Penetration Tester certifications. Corey is also a BsidesNH organizer and founding member of TechRamp, avenues which he uses to help others build their skills for careers in security and technology. Fun Fact: When not manning a terminal or watching the Bruins, Corey can often be found snowboarding or riding his motorcycle.