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Security exhibitors set up insecure WLANs

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InfoSecurity Europe Wireless networking insecurity was a key theme of this week's InfoSecurity show with a number of suppliers coming out with surveys on just how vulnerable world+dog is to drive by hackers.

However a quick scout around the show yesterday revealed the problem is closer to home than most vendors would like to admit - half of the show's wireless LANs were wide open to attack.

Using a Compaq iPAQ equipped with a 802.11b card, Rob Baskerville, a consultant at security services firm Vistorm, discovered that eight of the 15 networks he found were running WLANs without WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), often taken as a sign that networks are vulnerable.

Baskerville, who found his results "surprising", didn't perform any invasive attacks (illegal without permission), so it's unclear how much mischief could be wrought through the oversight.

The use of WEP, which is itself vulnerable to attacks using cracker tools such as AirSnort, is often taken as a benchmark for surveys on wireless networks security.

But Baskerville says the issue is more complex: some companies - knowing WEP provides only minimal protection - simply don't use it, opting for
security mechanisms, such as VPNs, to secure their networks.

But what about the wireless LANs in Olympia? Vistorm consultants reckon the networks were put up in a hurry and without much thought for security.

Oh dear. ®

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