Just another piece of information calling into question the reliability of the electronic measures we will depend upon to secure the border:
Using standard commercial 5.8 gigahertz wi-fi equipment could leave SBInet open to intentional interference. "A drug dealer could buy a laptop with built-in 5.8 gigahertz wireless and could launch a denial of service attack against SBInet," Wallen said.
He said he could detect that the SBInet wireless network used a strong form of encryption, Wi-Fi Protected Access. But the encryption would not be useful in stopping denial of service attacks, said Wade Williamson, director of product engineering for AirMagnet, which sells wireless intrusion detection systems.
Williamson said mounting a denial of service attack against a wi-fi network is a "trivial exercise" because even on an encrypted network, the address of an end user device or wi-fi access point -- known as a media access control address -- is clearly broadcast and retrievable. Anyone who wants to knock out the transmissions from the SBInet towers could capture that address, spoof it and then flood a tower or end user with data packets, Williamson said. He added that SBInet communications also could be jammed by inexpensive signal generators that could knock out the signal from the towers.
An intrusion detection system would help DHS and Boeing detect such cyberattacks and zero in on the location of intruders by triangulation, Williamson said. DHS and Boeing could also "fight fire with fire" by launching reverse denial of service attacks, he said.
George Teas, director of field engineering for Fortress Technologies, which sells wi-fi systems hardened with multiple layers of security for government users, said his company provides multifactor authentication systems that include a unique device identifier, which insures that even if hackers spoof a media access control address, they will not be able to get into a network. An attacker would not be able to take down all of the SBInet with a denial of service attack, Teas said, but just one node with traffic routed around that node.
I'm no expert, but this sounds like a problem that can be corrected relatively easily. If that's the case, why make the mistake in the first place?
Politically, proponents of 'adjustment' for the current illegal population must be able to sell the fact that the border is 'secure' -- whatever that means in a system that has traditionally been proudly porous (remember how you learned in school that the US and Mexico had the longest undefended border). Stories like this are death to that effort.
It seems as if the camel's back of 'comprehensive reform' has been broken -- at least for the near future. To the extent that's true, a few more straws won't make a difference.
Update: Drat! A commenter points out:
It's actually our border with Canada that's the longest undefended border, considering, you know, that the Mexican border starts at roughly the east-west midpoint of the country in Texas.
Of course, I remember that now. Sloppy error. I stand corrected.