British researchers have created a computer virus that they say is the first to spread like a real airborne contagion.
Chameleon can spread through densely populated areas like the common cold, the University of Liverpool researchers claim, by hopping from network to network via access points, spreading rapidly among homes and businesses. If as that wasn’t bad enough, the virus can avoid detection and identify weak wireless access points — those that are least protected by encryption and passwords.
“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,” said Alan Marshall, a professor of network security at the school. “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.” (Read More)