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WiFi Availability Explodes, But Many Networks Remain Insecure

RSA study indicates WiFi networks are growing, but security is still vulnerable
WiFi access is more pervasive than ever -- but secure wireless access can still be hard to find, a new study said today.

According to a report on WiFi access trends published today by RSA, WiFi access continues to grow at a breakneck pace. The number of wireless access points has increased by 543 percent over the past year in Paris alone, the study says. London has more than 12,275 WiFi hotspots.

However, the security of these access points continues to be an issue. More than half of the hotspots in New York and London were found to be protected only by the now-discredited Wired Equivalant Privacy (WEP) standard, or by no encryption at all, RSA reported.

"Such is the speed at which WEP can be routinely cracked that it barely constitutes paper-thin protection in the face of today's sophisticated hackers," says Sam Curry, vice president of identity and access assurance at RSA. "We would strongly urge wireless administrators to discount WEP as a viable security mechanism and upgrade to WPA [WiFi Protected Access] -- or stronger -- without delay."

Many of the wireless access points found in the study were in-home networks, RSA reported. In London, there are more personal wireless access points than corporate WAPs, the study says.

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