April 28, 2009
Of all the events you might attend, you'd think a security convention would be the least likely place to have attendees hopping onto "free public WiFi" and other insecure connections.
Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.
In fact, a network monitoring study conducted at last week's RSA Conference by wireless security vendor AirPatrol turned up 2,792 WiFi client devices, including smartphones, PDAs, and laptops. All were devices that wouldn't have shown up on the scan if they had been properly secured.
Some 94 "unofficial" access points accounted for much of the traffic, according to AirPatrol. These wireless networks were determined to be unsanctioned by show organizers, and some of them may have been "rogues" that were insecure or even built to siphon data from unsuspecting users.
The scan also turnd up 35 "ad hoc" WiFi networks with common Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs), such as Linksys, Free Public WiFi, and hpsetup. Ad hoc networks often have no firewall on the wireless interface, leading to potential security problems, AirPatrol noted.
"Amazingly, some of the world's leading IT security professionals still think of wireless security as an afterthought, and our RSA Conference wireless monitoring results demonstrate there is still a disconnect between what they practice and what they preach," says Ozzie Diaz, CEO of AirPatrol.
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