Wireless network launches amid security concerns

Tuesday, 3 December 2002, 2:01 PM EST

Swisscom Mobile, which is providing the network, hopes to increase the number of locations to 250 by the end of 2003.

A private telecoms company, based in Zurich, already offers wireless technology at Zurich airport and in parts of the city.

Hotspots are places where people can use their laptops or pocket PCs to access the Net without being tethered to a telephone line or cable. They simply use a special WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) Card, which costs about SFr100.

However data protection experts warn that companies need to think very carefully about Internet security.

“Most data on the web is not encrypted and everybody can listen in,” Peter Heinzmann, professor for Internet technologies and application, and technical director, Cnlab, told swissinfo.

“Business e-mails should always be consulted on a secure server. It’s not generally possible to encrypt private e-mails. If you’re using a computer to access wireless LAN, it should definitely be protected with a personal firewall. Otherwise it’s very easy for someone to access data from your notebook.”

Wireless computer networks let people connect up to the net via a radio link.

“With wireless Lan, you don’t know how far the radio waves travel nor how sensitive are the antennae which listeners use,” warned Heinzmann.

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