Sunday, February 04, 2007

Vulnerable wireless networks

There was an interesting program on TV yesterday. I was really shocked to learn that a person armed with a wireless enabled laptop with some software, which can be easily downloaded from the Internet, can break into a wireless network in minutes. The network they hacked into was a so called "secured" one with a password, like ours.

You might be surprised at the number of people who leave their home wireless networks open, without any passwords. In my own neighborhood, I can see at least 2 unsecured home networks, which means that anyone with a wireless card can access the net using the open network. This unauthorised access is called leeching.

If you are a generous chap with plenty of bandwidth to spare and leaving the network intentionally open to allow other unfortunate people to access the Internet, I salute you. However, if it's unintentional, it can be dangerous. It's not only the fact that people are taking up your bandwidth, some malicious people can actually see what websites you visit, your travel plans, what you buy and even your credit card details.

The leach might not be your neighbour's tech savvy teenage son but a guy with evil intentions in a van parked outside your house.

So is your wireless network secure?

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3 comments:

Static Brain said...

The hackers have other things in mind too besides credit cards. They can use your network to hack into a third network and it will look like you did it. They actually drive around to leech in a process they call war driving.

Here are some additonal facts on war driving.

lucia said...

my office has wireless and it used to be unsecure for months. when i sounded this to the person in charge, he said never mind since our signal cannot go far (true in a way, because if you are next door, it'll be hard to get the signal). however later on when another person (big shot than me) told him that it is dangerous to leave our wi-fi unsecure, only then he decided to lock it with password.

aiya... but not too good for me as i find that now i cannot get online with my pda (not sure the settings), whereas when it was unsecure, so easy to get online.

Adam said...

Static Brain: Thanks. I forgot to mention that. I love your Blog.

Lucia: Better safe than sorry. You should ask your administrator to allow your PDA to connect.

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