Feeds

Wi-Fi security is getting worse

Hackers' playground

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

London businesses are letting the security of their wireless networks slip, leaving themselves exposed to drive-by hacking.

More than a third (36 per cent) of London's Wi-Fi networks are fundamentally insecure, RSA Security's fourth annual WLAN security survey reports. Last year the same survey found 15 per cent of networks were open to attack.

The survey found that many businesses in the capital had failed to take basic security precautions such as reconfiguring their default network settings. In London 26 per cent of access points still had default settings, making networks easier to attack.

Tim Pickard, an RSA veep, said: "Like a thief trying all the door handles in the car park hoping to get lucky, London's business centres are comparable to a hackers' playground. Our research shows that corporate wireless networks in London are growing at an annual rate of 62 per cent and 36 per cent of these businesses remain unprotected from attack."

Researchers found a similar situation in commercial cities in mainland Europe and the US. In all cities surveyed, more than a third of businesses wireless networks were found to be insecure - 36 per cent of businesses in London, 34 per cent in Frankfurt, 38 per cent in New York and 35 per cent in San Francisco.

The research, commissioned by RSA Security, and undertaken by independent information security specialist netSurity, sought to discover the extent to which companies' wireless networks 'leak' data traffic into the street. Using a laptop computers and free scanning software, researchers picked up information from company wireless networks by simply driving around.

Phil Cracknell, research author and netSurity CTO, said: "Accidental or intentional connection to a corporate network can bring with it a series of security issues including loss of confidential data and installation of malicious code. Fuelled by the availability and abundance of hotspots, mobile users now expect to find and know how to use a wireless network. The question is: whose network they will access and what they will do when they are there?" ®

Related stories

London Wi-Fi security better (but still not great)
WLAN security still dismal survey
Wi-Fi Alliance to beef up security
Hotspot paranoia: try to stay calm

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.