NetworkWorld reports on a hot-selling Chinese gadget: a WiFi network-locator with a built-in password cracker. These things show you which networks are available in your area and which password to use to get online with them. Alas, they're not stand-alone USB keys with a little LCD display, just WiFi cards with some specialized software. I betcha next year's model is self-contained, though:
With one of the "network-scrounging cards," or "ceng wang ka" in Chinese, a user with little technical knowledge can easily steal passwords to get online via Wi-Fi networks owned by other people.
The kits are also cheap. A merchant in a Beijing bazaar sold one for 165 yuan ($24), a price that included setup help from a man at the other end of the sprawling, multistory building.
The main piece of the kits, an adapter with a six-inch antenna that plugs into a USB port, comes with a CD-ROM to install its driver and a separate live CD-ROM that boots up an operating system called BackTrack. In BackTrack, the user can run applications that try to obtain keys for two protocols used to secure Wi-Fi networks, WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). After a successful attack by the applications, called Spoonwep and Spoonwpa, a user can restart Windows and use the revealed key to access its Wi-Fi network.