Wireless offices-a hacker boon?

Corporations across America are opening their doors to hackers when they set up wireless networks--or when their employees set them up behind their backs. "We came across a company with one of these networks. All their source code, everything was available," said Thubten Comberford of White Hat Technologies, a wireless security firm.

"This network was beaconing, 'log onto me'...It basically had its Rolls-Royce parked in the driveway, engine running, with a sign saying 'steal me.'"

If you think your company doesn't have to worry, you might want to double-check. According to Gartner Dataquest, about 30 percent of all companies with a computer network have some kind of wireless network, either official or rogue. Furthermore, if the business or cafe next door has a wireless network, you might be in trouble.

Information travels unprotected through the air on these networks, and a hacker with a reasonable amount of knowledge can intercept it. Hackers say it would be tough, but not impossible, to use this open door to ride the network all the way into a company's main computer.

These small, inexpensive networks have already proven popular at hotels, conference centers, coffee shops and airport lounges--not to mention neighborhood networks--which offer a free, fast and easy way to log on to the Net if you are within a few hundred feet of an access point.

Now businesses are catching up, quickly installing these networks to increase productivity by allowing employees to carry a laptop into a meeting, the lunchroom or a colleague's office. Where there isn't an official network in place, curious employees are creating rogue ones, getting the increasingly cheap equipment at outlets such as Fry's Electronics, which has entire aisles of so-called 802.11 products.

News source: ZDNet News - Wireless offices—a hacker boon?

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