Feeds

Wi-Fi security is getting worse

Hackers' playground

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Business security measures using SSL

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

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.