Walk-by hacking

Tuesday, 15 July 2003, 7:01 AM EST

We've got 12 . . . wait, 13. Another just came in!''

On the hunt for 30 seconds, Gary Morse is jazzed. We've walked about 45 feet down Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan, and he has been counting the number of chirrups coming from the speaker of his hand-held computer. Each represents potential prey: wireless networks in the offices and apartments above us. So far, we have had more than a dozen chances to sneak Internet access, reap user ID's and passwords and otherwise peer into the private affairs of individuals and businesses.

Morse is an expert -- president of Razorpoint Security Technologies Inc., a computer security consulting firm that helps companies find their weak spots and fix them -- and a self-described ''professional hacker.'' He knows dozens of tricks to ease his way into any of the networks he has found. Most users don't realize that left untended, the wireless technology that can quickly connect computers will literally broadcast every bit of transmitted information to anyone with a computer and a $40 wireless networking card.

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For all your wireless security information needs, visit the Wireless outside articles section of HNS.

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