excerpt from: “The Bright, Bright Future of Electronic Engineering: EE Journal Editors’ Choices for World Maker Faire 2017” by Kevin Morris
(The Electronic Engineering Journal. September 27, 2017) Read the full article.
Ever get booted by sandals? If high-schooler Becky Button walked into a coffee shop where you were using unsecured WiFi, you certainly might have. Becky came to Maker Faire to educate people about security vulnerabilities in older WiFi networks with some literally disruptive fashion.
Working with collaborator Naomi Wu, Button created 3D printed sandals that hold a Feather Huzzah WiFi development board and a battery pack. When she walks up to a network that is using unsecured 802.11 protocols, Button’s sandals launch a deauthentication attack, booting every other user off the network, so she can enjoy the WiFi all to herself – uh, oops, we mean – in order to highlight the security vulnerabilities so network owners will correct them.
How does one get from wanting to make some cool, custom, 3D printed sandals to exploiting unsecured WiFi network protocols? Let’s just say the mind of the brilliant budding engineer is an awesome place. Becky’s energy in explaining her project and her process are infectious. We left her booth wanting to design a black hat that could seek out Bluetooth, or some gloves that could handle… Wait, nevermind. The point, as with most maker projects, is learning. Becky built a thing that allowed her to solve challenging problems while learning new skills and disciplines. Inspired by Chinese maker Naomi Wu, Becky wanted to take a similar journey for herself, with her own creative twist. We think she’ll make an awesome engineer!
Button hopes her sandals will bring attention to the issue and encourage people to learn about network security and protect themselves from known weaknesses.