Feeds

Sydney newspaper hacks Wi-Fi networks!

A security study, not a scandal

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Here’s a surprise: according to a recent sample of Wi-Fi networks around Sydney, only 2.6 percent were operating without a password.

The Sydney Morning Herald, having seen what happens when unsecured home Wi-Fi networks become vectors for viruses and pornography, decided to test how well householders in its home city secure their Wi-Fi networks.

The methodology the Fairfax newspaper reports is a little vague: it says it tested networks in 20 residential locations (we don’t know whether it meant apartment blocks, streets, suburbs or something else) and found unsecured networks in ten of them.

(To test whether a password was present, wouldn’t the Sydney Morning Herald tester have logged into the networks, without the owners’ permission?)

Out of nearly 400 networks, only ten were operating without a password, which is probably a surprisingly low number. However, Sydney’s million-plus households are probably home to more than 300,000 Wi-Fi access points, so the newspaper estimates that there could be more than 10,000 unsecured networks in the city.

The newspaper doesn’t tell us how many networks were secured with the password “password” or some other common default, but that may have taken white-hat penetration testing just a little too far.

And because we all know that the Internet reverses the onus of proof in criminal cases, the Herald leaves the final legal advice unchallenged. Citing a Queensland University of Technology law lecturer, Nicolas Suzor, the story says “if an unauthorised user illegally downloaded copyright material, it could be traced back to the network owner. ‘It could be quite difficult to prove that it wasn’t in fact you,’ Dr Suzor said.” ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
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
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
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.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.