Information Warfare: Wi-Fi Hack Aids Boarding Parties

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May 25, 2007: The U.S. Navy has adapted civilian wi-fi (wireless networks) for use at sea during boarding operations. By modifying off-the-shelf wi-fi gear, the navy first increased the range to over 700 meters. The main reason for all this was to speed up the transmission of passport photos and other personal data back to the ship, so that it could be run through databases to check for terrorists or criminals. This wi-fi hack cut several hours off the time required to check documents. The Expanded Maritime Interception Operations (EIMO) wireless system was developed last year, to provide several kilometers of range to the original wi-fi gear (which has been in use for over three years). Each pair of wi-fi units costs about $1400 to construct, using common parts to add more powerful antennae to standard 802.11g wi-fi equipment. The most expensive new components are the waterproof cases to carry the gear in, plus the expense of testing, and crypto to make sure everything worked and was secure.

 

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