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30 October 2008, 16:40

Private Wi-Fi more secure than corporate wireless networks

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An international ring of hackers stole 40 million credit card numbers from restaurants and businesses last summer simply by wardriving – the act of cruising around looking for open wireless networks. US security provider RSA says that this proves that wireless network security is still far from adequate, after seven years of annual studies. Not only are many business wireless networks are either unprotected or insufficiently secure, but when the company for the first time included private networks, it found that they were generally much better locked down.

Since the start of the century, RSA has conducted annual studies about how many wireless networks are encrypted and which methods are used, initially in London and later also in Paris and New York. This year's results are the first to include private networks, and surprisingly, more than 90% of such networks are well-protected. In Paris, 98% of all home networks were encrypted, in New York 97% and in London 90%. In addition, the home networks used far better encryption methods than the corporate networks – in Paris and New York, more private users than businesses protect their networks with strong encryption.

London has the lowest level of security of the cities surveyed. Although as many businesses as homes use strong encryption, overall, not enough corporate networks have any protection at all. One in five corporate networks are completely unprotected. This is even more than last year and more than in any other category in any city studied. The highest number of security improvements, on the other hand, was found in Paris, where 94% of all corporate networks and 98% of private networks are encrypted.

The complete studies can be found grouped by city at the RSA web site: London, New York and Paris.


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