There was some great hype in the wireless security world this weekend thanks to an article that made it on to Slashdot, and some FUD pumping so-called security consultants. Elcomsoft issued a press release that they can now crack WPA keys WAY faster using the GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) on the latest video cards.

It’s kind of cool, and for wireless pen testing the tool sounds useful, but some of the quotes in the article from the security firm GSS (who I never heard of) are the typical garbage:

“This breakthrough in brute force decryption of Wi-Fi signals by Elcomsoft confirms our observations that firms can no longer rely on standards-based security to protect their data,” said GSS managing director David Hobson. “As a result, we now advise clients using Wi-Fi in their offices to move on up to a VPN encryption system as well.” … Hobson added that the development could spur a step back from wireless to wired network connection in sensitive installation, such as financial services organisations, particularly concerned about data privacy.


These guys are forgetting two things- first, this method doesn’t work AT ALL against an enterprise installation (RADIUS) of WPA. George Ou has more on this.

Second, as the original article added as an update, this attack only speeds up brute forcing. Use a long, strong passphrase for your WPA key and you’re fine. Rob Graham also has more on this.

WPA-PSK still sucks to manage, and keys go stale, but use a good one and you’re fine. GCC should go back to playing Team Fortress or something with those video cards, because they were either misquoted, or clueless.