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Anti-Wi-Fi paint keeps your wireless signal to yourself

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by mpegmaster, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. mpegmaster

    mpegmaster Addicted to LI Member

    Don't like the idea of your neighbors rudely snooping on the wireless signal you slaved to pay for from the lazy comfort of their living room? It's not just about slowing down your connection; while they're downloading "something" via bittorrent's, you could be on the hook for their actions.

    Wireless security and encryption systems are fraught with problems and insecurity, and other methods to restrict your signal to a small area are cumbersome at best.

    Enter a new solution... Anti-Wi-Fi paint :thumbup:

    The idea is simple :). Use a special paint on walls where you don't want wireless to pass through (say the exterior of your house). The secret is mixing aluminum-iron oxide particles in with the paint. The metal particles resonate at the same frequency as Wi-Fi and other radio waves, so signals can't pass through the thin layer of pigment. Outsiders would simply be unable to access your wireless network, just as you, inside the house, won't be able to interlope on anything beamed on the outside.

    Developed by the University of Tokyo, the paint is said to be the first that can block radio frequency in higher spectra where Wi-Fi and other higher-bandwidth communications occur rather than just low-frequency wireless like FM radio. Most Wi-Fi technologies operate at 2.4GHz; the Tokyo paint can reportedly block frequencies all the way up to 100GHz, with a 200GHz-blocking paint now in the works.

    The paint isn't just of interest to those concerned about wireless leaking out of the building. Movie theaters have long been interested in finding a legal way to keep cell phones silent during screenings. Electronic jammers that actively block wireless signals are illegal, but passive materials that prevent wireless signals from getting through are not. Since the wireless-blocking paint can also block the lower-frequency signals that cell phones use, addled mobile junkies would have no outlet for reaching the outside world.

    Some aren't convinced that anti-Wi-Fi paint makes a lot of sense for a secure situation, though. Says one engineer, "Surely the thought of having to redecorate a building in order to provide Wi-Fi security is more costly and complex than the security functionality available in even the cheapest of Wi-Fi access points..."

    Ya know there is a solution to this and it doesn't even involve running CAT5 everywhere. Go into your routers settings and set the access controls to only allow the MAC addresses of the pc's you want to be allowed on your network and bada bing bada boom you have a secure router without even using the dozen different security protocols out there. Is it just me or is this alot easier and simpler than painting your house, not to mention alot cheaper. And ya dont even have to remember a 13 character or longer hexadecimal password.

    Then again if you are that worried about your wireless connection, GO WIRED. Go back to the good old days with CAT5 cable. The other 90% of us who don't really care will stay with wireless.


    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

    ~ St. Francis of Assisi

  2. The Doctor

    The Doctor LI Guru Member

    This paint has got to be a joke. I don't doubt for a minute that the paint can really block the radio signals, the problem is in the application. Sure, it's not really a problem to paint either the inside or outside of a room, ceiling included, to block the wireless signals. But what about the Windows? I'm sure you could paint them and that would work fine, but if you don't, you've kind of got a major leak.

    I think that for the average person, just using fairly reasonable wireless settings is good enough. Due to having a few legacy devices, I only run WEP on my network, and I've never had a single intruder. Of course, my router is located in the basement, and I don't live in a housing development. Still, I know many people with routers located above ground that do live in housing developments, and just using WEP seems to keep them fairly secure. Remember, the freeloaders are going to go for the lowest hanging fruit first. As long as there are a few unsecured wireless access points around, why even go through the trouble of cracking WEP encryption?

  3. TVTV

    TVTV LI Guru Member

    I'm all for WPA2-AES. You never know who's sniffin' around. ;)
    As for the paint, nope, it's not a joke. I did a brief search on Google for "wireless proof paint" and some article from 2007 came up off "The Register", saying that EM-SEC has such a paint for sale. After a little snooping around, i've found their website and yes, it's true, they're really selling radio-proof paint. Maybe the guys from Tokyo U. have just perfected it, as the article says. ;)
  4. murphm4n

    murphm4n Network Guru Member

    please don't rely on MAC address restrictions alone

    sorry for going off topic but have to provide correction to statements above ref MAC restrictions as adequate wireless security....

    802.11 client MAC addresses are broadcast in the clear & therefore all a potential intruder has to do is clone one of your associated MAC addresses.. (& all they need for that is netstumbler to see the station id's)

    however, good news is the industry has been working on a solution.. check out http://standards.ieee.org/announcements/2009/pr_802.11w.html - was recently ratified but not widely implemented yet (although, cisco's enterprise products have supported pre-standard MFP for some time)

    my advice is stick with wpa2/aes where you can - it's not much effort & is very effective (with sensible passphrases)..

    (no offence meant mpegmaster)
  5. darthboy

    darthboy LI Guru Member

    This is a good idea to improve wireless performance. Especially those living in high density cities. Lesser interference on the same channel...
  6. TVTV

    TVTV LI Guru Member

    I think that what darthboy said might be the biggest advantage this paint has to offer yet. As for the colour, that's of the least importance, because you could easily apply water-based paint over it and all that jazz. :p
  7. mraneri

    mraneri LI Guru Member

    You may kill your cell phone performance though.
  8. gawd0wns

    gawd0wns LI Guru Member

    I remember reading articles which indicated various security agencies, like the United States National Security Agency, used copper siding/shielding (or something to that effect) in their buildings to prevent wireless snooping, tempest attacks, stuff like that... Signals can be monitored with satellites, drones, so I'm sure security agencies and governments would be interested in low cost solutions. It could probably be used in Embassies and Consulates too, and those rooms in hospitals with sensitive equipment.

    Paint is cheaper than construction, while it probably isn't intended for home users, it might be affordable.
  9. mraneri

    mraneri LI Guru Member

    I put my AP in the basement. Works good for me. Laptop works on the patio. Much past that, and there's no signal. Someone would need a decent DIRECTIONAL antenna to get a signal at the street. I just don't think someone's will be that interested in cracking my 63 character WPA2-AES key to gain access to my data.
  10. szfong

    szfong Network Guru Member

    I've heard of this product, anti-"Wi-Fi" paint several years ago. 1st you had to get anti-"Wi-Fi" Windows which had a specially formulated glass and the floor & roof had to be well painted as well. 2nd the 2.4GHz signal would not get absorbed but bounced all over the place, exactly like a microwave oven, except the oven is turned on very low power, and the inhabitants are the "dinner/food". and 3rd anything that emitted EMR, eg, cell phone, hair dryer, motors, etc would bounce more radiation around the room until it also gets absorbed by the inhabitants. Finally, even MIMO routers would find it difficult to decode a data stream that is being constantly bounced all over the place while introducing newer signals which creates more interference.
  11. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Don't worry too much. The paint does attenuate signals somewhat, but is not very effective as a screening solution.

    There's a better solution for movie theaters - it's called a fist, best applied to someone's teeth. No brush needed.
  12. szfong

    szfong Network Guru Member

    There was once a company that sold wi-fi jammers and cell phone jammers to movie theaters/restaurants. They were put out of business and a few movie theaters/restaurants got warnings from the FCC, in the US, but I think you can still order such products from asia. I believe you can use a programmable wi-fi router to make it jam the nearby signal. There was a custom firmware for the once "free" La F*nera that can turn it into a low power jammer.
  13. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    No problem, just use an "N" router on wideband setting....

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