This story, more than any other so far, has been getting the most press. We have carefully read the original Washington Post article, watched the video, read the follow-up posting, and I spoke with Larry last night who attended the talk. Here’s what we know:

  • There is a flaw in many wireless device drivers that allows an attacker to remotely exploit vulnerabilities that will gain shell access. It is not clear what privilege level the attacker gain, but considering the availability of privilege escalation exploits, its a moot point.
  • The video demonstrates this attack running against a MacBook Pro with an undisclosed 3rd party wireless card. The built-in Apple wireless drivers are also known to be vulnerable and exploitable. The authors claim that vulnerabilities exist in other wireless drivers, and that exploits can be successful against Windows and Linux.
  • The attack does not rely on hijacking ones wireless connection, as long as you can get the victim to receive the wireless exploit packet, the attack can be successful.
  • They released the video instead of doing a live demo to avoid someone sniffing the wireless network at Blackhat and obtaining a copy of the exploit. The authors are giving the vendors time to released patched versions of the drivers (getting people to install them will be another challenge).
  • Larry reports that the team is also working on similar exploits for Bluetooth and CDMA cell phone technology.
  • The SANS Internet Storm Center has a nice write-up as well. They are recommending, as are we, that you disable you wireless card when not in use and be prepared to upgrade your wireless drivers. If you have an Intel Proset wireless card, you should already be upgrading your drivers.

Paul Asadoorian