Wi-Fi is hot, security is not

Monday, 31 May 2004, 7:47 AM EST

With a laptop perched in the passenger seat of his Toyota 4Runner and a special antenna on the roof, Mike Outmesguine ventured off to sniff out wireless networks between Los Angeles and San Francisco. He got a big whiff of insecurity.

While his 800-mile drive confirmed that the number of wireless networks is growing explosively, he also found that only a third used basic encryption -- a key security measure. In fact, in nearly 40 per cent of the networks not a single change had been made to the gear's wide-open default settings.

"They took it out of the box, powered it up, and it worked. And they left it alone," said Outmesguine, who owns a technical services company. He frequently goes out on such "wardrives" in search of insecure networks. And while Outmesguine says he doesn't try to break in, others aren't so benign.

At Financial Review.

[ Read more ]

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