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by CSO Contributor

Indefensible Wi-Fi Flaw Discovered in 802.11b Network Protocol; 9/11 Panel Hearings in New York City; New Way to Stop Online Piracy

May 18, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Indefensible Wi-Fi Flaw Discovered in 802.11b Network Protocol

Two security organizations have issued alerts warning of a flaw in wireless LAN equipment based on the 802.11b Wi-Fi standard that leaves the devices vulnerable to a denial-of-service (DoS) jamming attack, reports Computerworld. The two organizations, as well as WLAN manufacturers, were notified in November of the flaw, according to Mark Looi, an associate professor at the School of Software Engineering and Data Communications at Queensland University, whose graduate students discovered the flaw. Since then, Looi said, he and Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) have worked with the WLAN manufacturers to find a “mitigation strategy” for the vulnerability before releasing the results of their research. The manufacturers finally concluded that “there are no mitigation strategies available” to rectify the fundamental problem in the 802.11b direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) modulation scheme. 9/11 Panel Hearings in New York CityUSA Today story, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has opened two days of hearings in New York City, issuing a report saying rescuers were forced to make rapid-fire, life-and-death decisions based on incomplete communications. With two months to go before issuing its final report on the terrorist attacks, the commission is putting together a stinging indictment against virtually every government official and agency involved in protecting against terrorism. It could influence the 2004 presidential race. And commissioners hope it will result in action by Congress, USA Today reports.

According to a

New Way to Stop Online PiracyTimes reports. Once connected, the patented software scans file sharing systems for piracy. When it finds a song that is being shared illegally, for example, it creates a decoy file that mimics the material but also contains interruptions. The software then shares the decoy files. It also monitors how frequently the pirated song is traded so it can automatically adjust the number of decoy files it distributes.

According to a story in yesterdays New York Times, some artists such as Madonna and the group Barenaked Ladies have tried circulating flawed or reproving digital copies of songs on the Internet hoping to thwart online music piracy. In those cases the illegally downloaded material is suddenly interrupted by white noise or announcements urging “next time, pay for what you take!” But that practice has not become widespread. Two weeks ago, however, University of Tulsa professor John Hale and a former graduate student of his, Gavin Manes, won a patent for software that analyzes and monitors illegal music swapping on file-sharing networks, and then systematically inserts decoy files into the mix. The decoys appear real but contain either poor-quality recordings, buzzing or advertisements. The inventors intend them to frustrate people who infringe copyrights when they take artistic content free from peer-to-peer networks, like the music website Kazaa, the