Well, this is embarrassing. Researchers from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany have figured out that the security provided in the iPhone’s Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t actually all that secure. In fact, they’ve shown that the randomly generated password that Apple provides can be cracked in under a minute.
In a paper published this month, the trio of researchers writes:
"We show 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."
Basically, the list the passwords for protecting the iPhone’s mobile hotspot are drawn from is just too small. And the “randomly generated” passwords are not random enough, according to their findings, which makes the passwords incredibly easy to crack for someone who knows what they’re donig.
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