Friday, December 18, 2009

Stating the obvious

This story about insurgents pulling out unencrypted feeds from the Predator attack drones is interesting. Apparently some russian programmers (there are alot of them, and they seem to have no morals) have developed software to decipher wireless communication from satellite feeds.

This quote from the developer is pretty 'no duh' for me.

"But generally speaking, this points to a large security gap that the American military has missed."

Any time you have stuff going over the airwaves, it can be captured and exploited by anyone. Luckily with todays technology of authetication and encryption its harder to do that. Turning OFF the encryption during MILITARY operations is just...not bright at all.

What is more interesting to me is the commercial standpoint. WiMax is a new technology that allows broadband like speed wirelessly as long as there is a WiMax tower within 5 miles. So its like cell phones but much faster. Now I think this will be revolutionary IFF the price is decent (and it looks like that to me, the usual $30 or $40 a month). If you think about it, you could get this for your home network and be able to travel around town to some degree and use wireless. Not only that but set up is a bit simplier than wired networks, you dont need a router or switch or anything.

But here's the thing. Now there is going to be alot of traffic over the airwaves, at very large diameter of operation (whereas WiFi only goes a few hundred feet, WiMax goes for miles). So the possibility of somebody sniffing out your signal jumps exponentially. I think our current standard of encryption is pretty good, but think about if alot of people started using WiMax and you could some how get access to that data. That's tens of thousands of credit card transactions and so forth. Again, i think the encryption is pretty good right now, but is a sobering what if as we push more and more into the wireless space.

No comments: