The concept of Wi-Fi is something most of us don’t think about on a daily basis. However, when you think about it, wireless information transmission is a crazy concept.
After all, there are currently megabytes upon megabytes of data travelling through the air to get to your computer screen, phone screen, and whatever other electronic devices you’re using.
Like I said, you probably don’t think about it. But thanks to a new PC virus created by researchers at the University of Liverpool, you might be thinking about over-the-air data more often.
That’s because these researchers recently created a virus that spreads over Wi-Fi. Just like human colds spread over the air through airborne transmission, this virus infects computers and mobile devices that connect to the Wi-Fi network.
Why it’s scary
Obviously, this is a scary virus for a few major reasons:
-It can infect any device that connects to the Wi-Fi network
-Infected devices will act as carriers, which means they infect other Wi-Fi networks
-This transmission effect could cause a PC virus to spread through densely populated areas in just a few hours, something that could create mass havoc, business problems, security risks, and all sorts of other devastating issues.
-It collects personal information about Wi-Fi network users, including their credentials and passwords
-The virus bypasses traditional antivirus filters. Most antivirus software and firewalls look for viruses coming from the internet and connected devices. This virus, however, infects the actual Wi-Fi network and bypasses access points.
Why it’s not so scary
It’s not quite time to hit the panic button. Here are some reasons why this virus isn’t so scary:
-It was made by researchers in a controlled environment. These researchers presumably don’t want to destroy the electronic world.
-It only works on open wireless networks with no password restrictions, which are already risky to connect to.
-Researchers have named it “Chameleon” and that doesn’t sound too scary, does it?
You can read the full virus report at the University of Liverpool website here: http://news.liv.ac.uk/2014/02/25/wifi-virus-latest-threat-to-future-it-security/
Ultimately, this virus will likely never come to affect internet users no matter which network you’re using. However, all it takes is one malicious individual and this virus could change our planet. It’s not quite as deadly as an airborne pathogen pandemic, but it’s nearly as scary if you like your electronic devices.