Agency probes D.C. wireless network

Monday, 30 September 2002, 12:26 PM EST

Secret Service agents are putting a high-tech twist on the idea of a cop walking the beat. Using a laptop computer and an antenna fashioned from a Pringles potato chip can, they are looking for security holes in wireless networks in the nation's capital.

The agency best known for protecting the president and chasing down counterfeiters has started addressing what it calls one of the most overlooked threats to computer networks.

"Everybody wants wireless, it's real convenient," Special Agent Wayne Peterson said. "Security has always been an afterthought."

The effort is part of a new government plan to build relationships with businesses so that they will feel more comfortable reporting hacking attempts to authorities. Recent anti-terrorism legislation gave the FBI and Secret Service joint jurisdiction over electronic crimes.

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