Previous 1 2 Next 18 Replies Latest reply: Jan 10, 2012 2:12 PM by norbertfromvienna
norbertfromvienna Level 1 (145 points)

Hi, does anyone know whether it is possible to disable WPS on Time Capsule? There seems to exist a major threat to WiFi networks which use that feature (see and I'd like to disable it.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.2)
  • LaPastenague Level 8 (47,100 points)

    There is no WPS on a TC. So you are perfectly safe.

  • norbertfromvienna Level 1 (145 points)

    That's what I thought at first, too, until I found this:

  • LaPastenague Level 8 (47,100 points)

    Fascinating as Spock would say..


    Solid blue            Ready to allow a wireless client access to the network via Wi-Fi Protected Setup   (WPS). AirPort Utility will indicate that the status light is solid green.


    I have never in all my days seen a TC with a solid blue light. I have repaired 50 or so of them and not a one has ever blinked a blue light at me.. ever.


    Just set your own password for wireless.. as soon as you do that WPS is disabled.

    I have found automated systems for things like wireless actually work so poorly that it is seldom worth bothering with them. Set your own password.. make it 12 or more pure alphanumeric characters no spaces. Use WPA2 and you will not have issues.

    Note the hack only works by brute force hack so it is still unlikely to happen, except from a smart neighbour.. as it is just too hard for the war driver when the guy down the street has a completely open system or still uses WEP. It is never a bad idea to keep your eye on clients on any wireless system. The TC has excellent logging page with wireless clients listed and graphed for you.

  • norbertfromvienna Level 1 (145 points)

    Thanks LaPastenague, if you say so, I am ready and happy to take it as a fact. Makes life easier, too, as I have had taken the steps you describe anyway. As for the blue light, I was kind of astonished to find that my old TC can do it: In AirPort Utility go to Menu Base Station > Add Wireless Client... Check PIN and hit Continue (you can still cancel after that): Look at your TC now! Blue. ;-)

  • LaPastenague Level 8 (47,100 points)

    I am far .. very very far from eggs spurt. The TC has so much hidden stuff.. I assure you I have never seen or heard of it. I do not have the screen you mentioned.. but I have it in bridge mode with manual wireless settings.. and have always tended to use them that way. My gen3 TC is dead.. finally I bought one I could not fix. It power cycles itself.. for a couple of hours and then dies. It is sitting on the desk in pieces now but the fault may be not repairable.


    Anyhow to stay on topic, once you set a Password the ability to use an automated pin system should be removed.. If this is available on the guest network then just don't use it.


    Bob Timmons who posts regularly is more up with the ins and outs of the wireless.

    Perhaps one of the others would also like to comment.

  • norbertfromvienna Level 1 (145 points)

    Thanks again. Not being the expert myself, I think I now understand how WPS is activated/disabled on the Time Capsule. Like so often with Apple, one should not think too complicated. In the media reports were I read about the WPS issue in the first place the bottom line was that the end-users should disable WPS on their routers. So, after I found out about WPS being an option on TC, I was looking for a way of disabling it. Hence my post... Well, I think it has never been activated as long as one does not take the stept outlined above, those where one can enable the LED being blue. Once the TC's LED is blue WPS is on. Otherwise it's off.


    Sorry about your TC, BTW, LaPastenague...

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (95,500 points)

    I am aware of the so called WPS feature, and have looked at it, but have never found any use, or need for it. Just about any wireless product out there will connect to a wireless network if you manually provide it with the correct network name, security settings and password.


    Sorry, I can't offer more info on the WPS topic.

  • LaPastenague Level 8 (47,100 points)

    I have spent a bit more time working through this, and actually the vunerabiltiy could still happen even if the WPS is not being used.. The method of attack uses the fact that the device is responding.. what I don't know is if the Apple needs to be in WPS mode to respond.. or if the wps is active behind the scenes.. We need someone to test with the hacking tools and see if the hack gets responses .. if so it is vunerable. Even if you are using standard WPA2 password.


    I will do a couple of experiments.


    Apple should make it clearer what the WPS mode is.. and if they are vunerable to this method of attack.

  • norbertfromvienna Level 1 (145 points)

    Since the response of the TC would be whether or not the first 4 digits of the required password are correct, and since this password (the WPS password) is not defined as long as do not set it up, the attack should remain impossible, no? Or am I interpreting this wrongly and the attacker can request whether the first 4 digits of the WPA2 password are correct?

  • Cardiakke Level 1 (20 points)

    I have an Airport Express bought 3/4 months ago with the latest firmware (7.5.2) and when PIN mode is turned on the blue light comes on....


    And once again Apple is staying silent.

  • Winski Level 1 (10 points)

    Cardlakke.... I bought my first Airport Express about three months ago because I truly wanted to move to a 'N' level network in my home (more for 5.7 ghz than anything else ) . I just brought up my Airport utility to check the version of the firmware and it says 7.6   ........ Does this firmware update help solve this problem or does the exposure still exist ?

  • Cardiakke Level 1 (20 points)

    I just updated to 7.6 and when I turn PIN mode on, the blue light still comes on.


    I have no idea if the Airport Express is vulnerable to coughing up the password when the router is not in PIN mode.


    And I am seriously disappointed, but not surprised, in Apple for, once again, sticking its head in the sand and hoping that it will make the problem go away...

  • Winski Level 1 (10 points)

    AAARRRgggghhhh... That's the frustrating part - no question. I'm using VERY strong WPA 2 for the clients and a reasonabably strong p/w for the device itself, but still....


    Thanks for the info...

  • Stephen Spark Level 4 (2,415 points)

    I am by no means an expert and somebody correct me if I'm wrong. I was just looking into this issue after listening to the Security Now podcast on the topic. To me it looks like Apple has a good implementation of WPS although still not confirmed.


    It is my understanding the WPS hack gains access to the wifi network by cracking the router's PIN. From what I see Apple does not provide a PIN for any of the Airports. Other manufacturers, which are vulnerable, provide the PIN on a sticker usually on the bottom of the router. When you want to add a wifi device to your network you can take this PIN from the router and enter it on the device, a wifi printer for example to connect it easier.


    It looks to me as though Apple does not work this way and has no stickers providing a PIN, at least not on any of my Airports. Apple's implementation works the other way around. You have to enable the feature each time using the "Add wireless clients" feature in AirPort Utility. Instead of having the PIN number on the router you would get the PIN from the device you want to connect entering it into the pop up in AirPort Utility. Once connected I would assume you have to enter the option in the utility to add another device, till then it is disabled.

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