15 company networks penetrated

Friday, 5 December 2003, 11:12 AM EST

A computer expert who hacked into the networks of 15 Londonderry firms in an afternoon, today defended his illegal bid to expose lax computer security.

Kevin Curran, an IT lecturer at the University of Ulster's Magee campus, said companies across the province using wireless computer networks were leaving themselves open to hackers who can use their systems to surf the net for free - even for accessing child pornography.

As part of a research project, Mr Curran and a colleague were able to penetrate 15 company networks in Derry in a few hours using just a laptop, and discovered another five which could have been hacked with little effort.

They used around £80 worth of other equipment, a wireless WiFi card and a magnetic mount omnidirectional antenna, which can be found at any computer store.

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