Network Signals Just Scream to Be Exploited

Friday, 8 November 2002, 1:49 PM EST

I recently strolled past federal buildings along Connecticut Avenue in Washington, carrying a beta-test model of a tablet PC equipped with an integrated IEEE 802.11b wireless PC Card.

In no time, it auto-detected a wireless network. The tablet asked me if I wanted to connect. I declined, but as I kept walking, the tablet detected signals for three more wireless networks. (Apparently, the Secret Service is curious about these free-ranging signals, too, and has sent teams around Washington snooping for wireless networks that broadcast signals onto the street.)

I did no probing, so I don't know whether the signals my tablet PC detected came from government, corporate or home networks. Nevertheless, they're out there, just waiting for someone to exploit them.

If a wireless connection extends beyond a network's firewall, or if no firewall exists, any passerby with a wireless notebook PC can tap the network's resources. Even if the network is protected, the passerby might manage to get Internet access.

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Comment:

For all your wireless security information needs, visit the href="http://www.net-security.org/articles_out_cat.php?cat=15">Wireless outside articles section of HNS.

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