Feeds

Sydney newspaper hacks Wi-Fi networks!

A security study, not a scandal

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.” ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Apple grapple: Congress kills FBI's Cupertino crypto kybosh plan
Encryption would lead us all into a 'dark place', claim G-Men
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.