WiFi virus can spread like common cold

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Researchers claim to have revealed weak spot in WiFi networks

WiFi networks can be infected by a virus that can spread through populated areas like the common cold, according to researchers at the University of Liverpool.

Members of the School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and Electronics designed a virus that could spread quickly between homes and businesses, by attacking the point at which access is least protected by encryption and passwords.

The team then simulated an attack by the ‘Chameleon’ virus on London and Belfast, finding it acted like an airborne virus in areas that had access points that were connectable within a 10-50 metre radius.

“Whilst many access points are sufficiently encrypted and password protected, the virus simply moved on to find those which weren’t strongly protected including open access WiFi points common in locations such as coffee shops and airports,” said Alan Marshall, professor of network security (pictured).

Researchers will now be able to use the data from the study to detect when an attack is likely.

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