[Owasp-mobile-security-project] Cracking iOS personal hotspots using a Scrabble crossword game word list

Andreas Kurtz mail at andreas-kurtz.de
Mon Jun 17 13:19:23 UTC 2013

Within a recent study, we investigated the method used by Apple iOS to 
set up a secure WPA2 connection when using an iPhone as a Wi-Fi mobile 
hotspot. We found out that Apple iOS generates weak default passwords 
which makes the mobile hotspot feature of Apple iOS susceptible to brute 
force attacks on the WPA2 handshake. More precisely, we observed that 
the generation of default passwords is based on a word list, of which 
only 1.842 entries are taken into consideration. In addition, the 
process of selecting words from that word list is not random at all, 
resulting in a skewed frequency distribution and the possibility to 
compromise a hotspot connection in less than 50 seconds. Spot tests have 
shown that other mobile platforms are also affected by similar problems. 
Users of mobile hotspots, especially of iOS-based mobile hotspots, are 
advised to change their initial passwords.

For further information please refer to our technical report "Usability 
vs. Security: The Everlasting Trade-Off in the Context of Apple iOS 
Mobile Hotspots" [1] on our website https://www1.cs.fau.de/hotspot

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