Notes on WPS

The Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) protocol in home routers is like labelling it “HACK ME!”. WPS was a bad idea to begin with, has a big design flaw in PIN authentication, comes from a source that is not trusted, is very complicated and as a result there have been multiple instances of poorly written, buggy implementations. The design flaw in the WPS specification for PIN authentication significantly reduces the time required for an adversary to brute force an entire PIN, because it informs them when the first half of the eight-digit PIN is correct. Many routers lack a lockout policy after a certain number of failed attempts to guess the PIN, making a brute-force attack much more likely to occur.

Check for WPS

The feature that scans for nearby networks on operating systems like OS X, iOS, Windows, Android and Chrome OS does not report on WPS.

  • On Windows, the free and portable WifiInfoView includes reporting on WPS. When WPS is enabled, the status is either Configured, Not Configured, or Locked. A value of “No” means WPS is not enabled.

  • On Android, the Wi-Fi Analyzer app shows if WPS is supported for each SSID detected by displaying an On/Off status. If WPS is enabled, it displays “WPS”, otherwise it displays nothing.