Friday, October 24, 2008

Comments on the news: this is overblown 

The headlines said that wireless networking security is now a thing of the past, due to a clever company finding a way to program graphics cards to crack security codes.

In a word, no.

What they did was speed up existing password-guessing attacks on one flavor of Wi-Fi security, by a factor of 25-100. If you've chosen a good password in the first place, it's not going to be so close to guessable that it matters if someone can guess 25 times faster.

And you can really go to town picking a hard password for your Wi-Fi setup, because you only have to type it in when you're installing things. You can use something long and obscure. You can make it up to 63 characters long!

I recommend a passphrase, something with multiple words instead of an incomprehensible set of letters and numbers. Visit http://www.diceware.com for a system that lets you roll dice to pick short words from a big list. As long as you've chosen them randomly, a passphrase with as few as four words will defy any feasible attack.

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