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DefCon and Black Hat wireless hackers foiled

Antony Savvas

Hackers at the recently held DefCon and Black Hat security conferences in Las Vegas failed to hack the wireless networks set up for the events, despite challenges from the organisers.

DefCon is an annual event for the “hacker underground” and Black Hat is an annual conference for security professionals.

Both events used wireless network infrastructure deployed by Aruba Networks. Organisers said wireless networks at previous events had failed to withstand the concerted hacking attempts of the attendees.

Over 7,500 participants attended this year's events, creating what is arguably one of the fiercest hacking environments to be found.

The conferences’ founder and organiser Jeff Moss said, “During my opening remarks, I explicitly encouraged attendees to take a shot at hacking the wireless network. Given the level and concentration of hacker talent at these events, I was more than pleasantly surprised they did not succeed.”

The wireless network was heavily used during both conferences - supporting more than 2,600 users and passing more than 33GB of data.

Among the attempted breaches detected and prevented were around 535 “man-in-the-middle” attacks; 200 denial of service attacks; 270 rogue access points; 750 wireless bridges; 2,090 access point MAC spoofing attempts; and numerous impersonation attacks, IP spoofing and syn floods.

Aruba's wireless intrusion protection not only detects unauthorised wireless devices and access, but also provides an automated response to shut down the threat.

“We knew we were putting our equipment and technology right in the middle of the hackers' playground, but we viewed this as the ultimate test of our network security implementations,” said Keerti Melkote, Aruba Networks vice-president of marketing.


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