Joe White’s Blog

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Wireless interception

About a year ago, I read a post on Bruce Schneier’s blog about a team that had intercepted a wireless 802.11 network from a ridiculous distance away. Yesterday, it came up in conversation, but I didn’t remember the distance they’d managed. After a bit of digging, I found the original article again. Time to blog it.

This team set up a run-of-the-mill 802.11 network, and were able to pick up its signal from 124.9 miles away. They used, among other things, homemade custom antennas and surplus 12-foot satellite dishes (note the plural). Not original equipment from the wi-fi manufacturer, but not defense-budget, either.

Schneier took the opportunity to point out:

Whenever you hear a manufacturer talk about a distance limitation for any wireless technology — wireless LANs, RFID, Bluetooth, anything — assume he’s wrong.

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