Powerline Signals and Security

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by anniew, May 27, 2013.

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  1. anniew

    anniew Registered Member

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    The idea of using powerline adaptors to reach areas of our building that do not have ethernet wired in is appealing vs wifi from a security improvement point of view.

    Is that assumption misplaced?

    That is, wifi readily available direction of attack, are we better off connecting via powerline? This would probably be vs the casual, opportunistic foe vs a determined one.

    How far does a usable signal travel? Can it reach the powerline company's facilitities, or does it just head to the neighborhood "junction box" and becomes unusable from there?
     
  2. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    You know, this is a really good question and one that probably should be asked somewhere else on Wilders for a wider net. Maybe 'Other Security Issues and News'? I know absolutely nothing about these but have been intrigued due to ease of use. But again, it's good question. Maybe ask a mod to move it?
     
  3. EncryptedBytes

    EncryptedBytes Registered Member

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    What type of adapters are you looking to invest with? Depending on your choice will help shape my overall answer. Will these adapters be direct to Ethernet? However general advice; your main point of focus is your building. You are sending signals over wires not shielded for such transmissions and as such you would need to accept the risk of leakage/ bleed-over across the existing mains wiring. To what degree would depend on your wiring/and building, however if you use this solution encryption best practices of your data still apply.
     
  4. anniew

    anniew Registered Member

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    Thanks...sent a note to Mod.

    UPDATE: Done.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  5. anniew

    anniew Registered Member

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    Thanks. The ZyXEL PLA4201KIT (example linked here) inspired the question, as someone mentioned them (half price sale locally). Not sure these would be the ones we'd settle for (e.g. much prefer 256-bit AES support), but we are looking at common off the shelf product.

    One end would be Ethernet connected to a router or switch. And, like WiFi, encryption would be enabled...should be equivalent if 256-bit AES is used.

    Read on the link that 300m is the rated distance for signal travel, though I'm sure anyone with sensitive equipment could pick it up much further down stream, not unlike radio signals.

    Not sure we buy much additional "security" going this route - perhaps limiting the "attack surface" to forcing someone to physically link to the electrical wire.o_O
     
  6. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    How is wifi a readily available direction of attack?
    Mrk
     
  7. MarcP

    MarcP Registered Member

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    It can't go beyond the transformer on your street. It only works on 110V. In addition, HomePlug certification supports encryption between the devices in your home so that within an apartment unit, condo, etc, you can have a private encrypted powerline network.
     
  8. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Good to know! Thanks for your post.
     
  9. anniew

    anniew Registered Member

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    Maybe could have been worded better...I was thinking of the "convenience" for an attacker.

    Wireless signal is available "in the air" in all directions. Wired requires one to physically hook into the wire itself. Depending on the situation, this may be simple or rather difficult for the attacker.

    That said, my concern was what gets past the building such that someone may surreptitiously connect.

    Outside of this problem, as I understand, there is no inherent security advantage in either.
     
  10. anniew

    anniew Registered Member

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    Thanks for your reply.

    Assuming the building is not shared, is there a way to render the signal useless just before it exits the building (assume a commercial enterprise, as this may involve too much cost for an average homeowner)?

    This now gets beyond simple off the shelf plug and play product, but if it is doable and at moderate cost (otherwise, might as well run CAT5 throughout), it might be interesting.
     
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