Feeds

Feds botch wireless security

Open to attack, claims report

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Federal agencies in the US are leaving their wireless networks open to attack by not implementing key security measures, according to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Tuesday.

Wireless networks – also known as Wi-Fi or Wireless Local Area Networks or WLANs – can fall victim to malicious hacking techniques, from eavesdropping on company or agency secrets to computer network disruption and the launching of denial of service attacks.

Security is therefore a key issue when using a wireless network.

Despite this, the report found that nine agencies out of the 24 looked at by the GAO had not issued policies on wireless networks; 13 had not established requirements for setting up the networks in a secure way; 18 had no provision for training in wireless security; and the majority were not able to properly monitor their networks.

Of the six agencies physically tested by the GAO, “we were able to detect wireless networks at each of the agencies from outside of their facilities,” says the report.

“Wireless-enabled devices were operating with insecure configurations at all six of the agencies,” it explains. “For example, in one agency we found over 90 laptops that were not configured appropriately.”

The GAO found unauthorised wireless activity, which had not been detected by monitoring programs, at each agency.

The GAO has therefore recommended that the Director of the Office of Management and Budget instruct agencies to ensure that they address wireless network security in their information security programs.

© Pinsent Masons 2000 - 2005

See: GAO report (31-page PDF)

Related stories

WiPhishing hack risk warning
Wi-Fi security is getting worse
Hotspot paranoia: try to stay calm

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.