Government agencies plug leaks in wireless networks

Friday, 27 December 2002, 8:38 AM EST

Since anyone with the software could pry, cable is back in style.

The Meteorological Agency and the Tokyo metropolitan government stopped using wireless local area networks (LAN) last week after learning data was wide open to anyone with the will and the right software.

Wireless LANs are increasingly popular because they can be introduced or expanded quite simply without cumbersome cables.

But when Kazuo Tanabe, a computer consultant in Sabae, Fukui Prefecture, studied LAN emission risks around government office LANs in his own prefecture, then in Tokyo, he found that data transferred on wireless LANs could be intercepted and read by anyone using software freely available on the Web.

Tanabe said he first assessed the risk of LAN signals radiating from the municipal buildings of Sabae and Fukui, then came to Tokyo last week to measure the risk around some central government office buildings, especially in the Kasumigaseki district.

[ Read more ]

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