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STILL AN INSECURE WIRELESS WORLD

Source: Security Wire Digest

Posted on November 11, 2002

      The results of the second World War Drive are in, and they don't look good for wireless security.

      Of the almost 25,000 wireless access points surveyed, only 35 percent used Service Set Identifier (SSID), a default security feature in the 802.11b protocol. Only 28 percent had Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) enabled. Of those using SSID, less than 4 percent also use WEP. The issue comes down to management information system (MIS) staffing, says Pete Shipley, an independent security consultant.

      "It's a key distribution problem," Shipley says. "When you're in the corporate environment with a large number of laptops deploying wireless, without encryption you pretty much hand out a wireless card and it works. With WEP, you have to configure the system."

      While not difficult, the effort requires time, and MIS staffs typically have more pressing issues than wireless security. Shipley thinks that as security becomes more important to companies, they will revisit their wireless security setup.

      The term war driving comes from automated phone dialing, or "war dialing," in the 1983 movie "War Games." The real-world version features hackers driving around scanning for 802.11b networks and compiling vulnerability statistics.

      More info at www.worldwidewardrive.org




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