Both the Israeli IT online paper – “Daily Maily” and the Palestinian news agency, Middle East Newsline have reported that the IDF has cracked an encrypted communications network supplied by the Taiwanese vendor Senao used by the Hamas in Gaza with (and I quote) “two way encrypted multi-channel radios, with a range up to 50km”. As a result of cracking the network – the Hamas had to resort to using human messengers (probably children if you know Hamas tactics) or conventional walkie-talkies (which can easily be jammed by the IDF – like WW2 technology).
This intrigued me since Senao is a small vendor of Wifi and long-range cordless phones – not a military communications equipment provider. It seems that the facts as reported by Daily Maily and Middle East Newsline were a bit off – perhaps they got carried away.
What was Hamas using? If it was Senao – then it was WLAN.
Senao has a wireless access point product for high power WLAN (wireless lan) – the EOC-2610:
EOC-2610 is a Long Range outdoor wireless Access Point / Client Bridge that operates seamlessly in the 2.4GHz frequency spectrum and provides high bandwidth up to 108Mbps with SuperG. EOC-2610 features high transmit output power and high receive sensitivity. High output power and high sensitivity can extend range and coverage to reduce the roaming between Access Points and to deliver a more stable wireless connection. It also reduces deployment expenses on the equipments.
So – Hamas have (or rather had) a DIY network based on encrypted WIFI. The access point retails for about 1200 rupees not a bad deal by the way. The IDF cracked WEP Big deal – this is at script-kiddy level (If you google for “how to crack wep” you will get a million hits including some very nice youtube videos – like How to crack WEP Part 1 and How to crack WEP and WPA wireless networks and How to crack WEP on youtube
Second – since the long-range WLAN access is dependent upon the access points for relaying wireless signals – with all the bombing going on – there were probably very few available access points available after the first day or 2 of Operation “Cast Lead”.
Third – since Hamas leaders were holed up beneath the ground – it’s not clear how they had WIFI connectivity – even if there was a functional WIFI network and the repeaters weren’t bombed out.
Finally – this is an indication of where modern warfare is today. Using cheap off the shelf components for computing and communications…that can be cracked with scripts you can download via Google.