Knocking Out Wireless Networks with a PDA
By Mark Frauenfelder, Fri May 21 21:15:00 GMT 2004

Over the shelf equipment as inexpensive as Wi-Fi PDAs or a cheap laptop can be used to take down a Wi-Fi base station. Time to shore up your home or office network.


Some PhD students at the Queensland University of Technology's Information Security Research Center have discovered a way to use an off-the-shelf PDA to temporarily disable wireless security cameras. This Wi-Fi based system can also be used to "jam all wireless devices within a one kilometer radius using any wireless-enabled computing device and can take down an entire network in seconds if the base station is within range."

Furthermore, this kind of mischief is almost impossible to trace, and even to identify, since it looks like network congestion. Associate Professor Mark Looi, deputy head of Queensland University of Technology's School of Software Engineering and Data Communications, said, "Any organization that continues to use the standard wireless technology, 802.11b, to operate critical infrastructure could be considered negligent."

According to the researchers, no special software is needed. You just have to know which commands to send using the software that comes with the PDA. How soon before this nasty little hack hits the street, or airwaves?