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Security BSides Las Vegas is just around the corner, and we have had a great time reviewing some of the sessions and speakers that will make up this epic event.

We have covered sessions about OMENS,  how to have Fun with WebSockets Using Socket Puppet and open source penetration testing and forensics.

We also took a look at Vulnerabilities in Application Whitelisting, a session on honing communications skills, on Baking Assurance into Software, and another on Using Machine Learning to support Information Security.


This week we take a look at one of the workshops being offered – the Introduction to Wireless Pen Testing and Assessment Workshop being conducted by Mike Landeck (@MikeLandeck) with the assistance of Ken Estes and Alex Stover.

Landeck has had a very diverse career path, starting off in the behavior sciences as a researcher and practitioner, he later converted his recreational programming hobby into a career in information technology with a focus on application security and security management.

Landeck currently is a consultant for CGI, and in his free time he volunteers teaching computer science fundamentals to kids.

The half-day class on wireless pen testing he is offering at BSidesLV is designed to provide attendees with an easy to learn, hands-on approach to pen testing wireless networks, and includes interactive exercises on how to test WEP and WPA/WPA2 using the Aircrack-ng Suite, Reaver and other tools found in Backtrack.

This workshop is intended for those with no prior experience, but some basic Linux skills would be helpful, and attendees should bring their own laptops and have Backtrack installed.

Several years ago Landeck was the security manager of a large environment that had a wireless network with a regulatory requirement for an annual assessment.

Given that they were using a “bestselling enterprise system” and had it configured to meet all industry best practices and standards, Landeck saw the pen test as more of a “check the box” kind of exercise more than an actual risk mitigation procedure.

To his surprise and dismay, just twelve minutes after the assessment began the pen tester was already able to provided Landeck with the password.

“That was my “ah ha” moment and drove me to learn all I could about Wi-Fi security and is part of the passion I bring to this workshop,” Landeck said. “Testing your Wi-Fi network is one of those things that is easy to learn and provides much in the way of understanding your organization’s exposure.”

The workshop Landeck is conducting at BSidesLV will teach the basics of Wi-Fi pen testing and provide attendees with the essential assessment skills to carry out simple pen testing exercises on their own networks.

“Anyone who has a need to assess the risk created by their wireless network would benefit from the workshop,” Landeck said. “However, even more importantly, the workshop is a lot of fun.”

Landeck hopes that following the class, the audience members will be able to go back to their home or office and validates the security of their own wireless networks. “If that is the minimum result, I will feel like I was successful,” Landeck said.

“There a so many myths out there regarding best practices for a wireless set-up consumers that need to be dispelled, and even network admins often have difficulty in distinguishing the facts from fiction,” Landeck continued.

This workshop aims to debunk these myths through the use of lab exercises that are designed to be used against many default setting as well as popularly recommended configurations Landeck said.

“It is common now for Internet providers to include pre-configured wireless access points (WAP’s) with their consumer offerings. In most cases, these are shipped with vulnerable configurations and no clear warning or instructions to the consumer on how to harden the device,” Landeck says.

“In fact, several of the devices the workshop uses in the labs are configured to the default settings of the Nation’s largest service providers, and even the recommended setting from the largest home router manufacturers, setting that leave end users vulnerable.”

From a solutions perspective, Landeck says Wi-Fi technology for the home and small office is fairly mature, and he doesn’t see any fundamental changes in Wi-Fi security practices on the horizon.

“The real area of opportunity to bring about risk reduction is in educating the people who configure these networks – the vendors, the on sight installation resources, and the consumers,” Landeck says.

“Workshops such as this go a long way in not only educating people on best practices and risks, but hopefully will inspire some ‘ah ha’ moments for the attendees.”

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Title image courtesy of ShutterStock