Wi-Fi connections, especially those on public networks, are a weak security spot. A group of British researchers has now created a virus that can proliferate through Wi-Fi networks much like a common airborne virus spreads rapidly.
The virus was created by researchers at England’s University of Liverpool and is being dubbed ‘Chameleon.’ It works by jumping from one Wi-Fi network to another, finding weak spots along the way. Not only that, it remains mostly undetected and can compromise users and networks without arousing any suspicions.
Alan Marshall is a professor at University of Liverpool. He is a part of the team that engineered the virus and according to him, “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. 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.”
As a test run, the team checked the performance of the virus. The results showed that the virus spread incredibly rapidly, quite similar to how an airborne virus spreads within no time. What makes this virus unique is that it stays on Wi-Fi networks, avoiding detection by computer and networks with ease. However, the silver lining is that the virus was blocked by secure networks.
This is yet another proof-of-concept revelation that Wi-Fi networks, in their current form, are still a very insecure and exploitable mode of communication.