Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New computer security threat for wireless networks

Danger in the internet café?

University of Calgary (UC) computer science professors John Aycock and Mea Wang have identified a type of computer security threat, called Typhoid adware, that gains access to computers through wireless networks found in Internet cafes or other areas where users share non-encrypted wireless connections.

"We're looking at a different variant of adware--Typhoid adware--which we haven't seen out there yet, but we believe could be a threat soon," Aycock says. Typhoid adware comes from another person's computer and convinces other laptops to communicate with it and not the legitimate access point. Then the Typhoid adware automatically inserts advertisements in videos and Web pages on the other computers.

Aycock and Wang developed several defenses against Typhoid adware. One solution protects the content of videos to ensure that what users see comes directly from the original source, and another solution offers a way to "tell" laptops they are in an Internet cafe to make them more suspicious of contact from other computers.

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