Opportunities for Wi-Fi hackers on increase

Friday, 30 January 2004, 2:06 PM EST

IT managers are catching up to the dangers of Wi-Fi, but opportunities for drive-by hackers in London may actually be increasing. New wireless LANs are popping up very fast and many of them are insecure "rogue" access points.

This year, two-thirds of the City's Wi-Fi networks have WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy, the basic Wi-Fi security standard) turned on. That's not a great record, but it is better than last year, when only a third of them had WEP. However, since the number of WLANs in the city of London went up by 235 percent over the year, there are more than three times as many WLANs out there. So while the proportion of non-WEP networks is lower (34 percent), the actual number is higher.

It may not be as bad as all that, according to the survey carried out by CISSP for the security vendor, RSA. Apparently, about half the WLANs without WEP actually have VPN protection (19 percent). "Researchers believe many other access points could have had MAC address screening or other undetectable security methods," said RSA in its release.

By Peter Judge at Techworld.

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