Combating the aerial threat

Thursday, 30 January 2003, 11:53 AM EST

Wireless LAN technology frees businesses and home users from the tyranny of computer cabling.

But it also brings new threats, potentially opening another door to attack from unscrupulous competitors, hackers and other criminals intent on obtaining or damaging data.

Last year the phenomenon of 'warchalking' spread to the UK from the US. Hackers walk through a business district identifying wireless Lans from the street and writing the access codes on nearby walls and pavement.

Anyone with a wireless card and the ability to read the signs can then access the identified network.

The basic problem with wireless Lan technology is that it removes one of the most effective protections offered by wired networks against attack, the physical building perimeter.

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