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Wireless war

Experts scan the globe for unsecured networks

Wireless experts from across the globe are joining forces to map out wireless networks around the globe to determine how secure they are, as part of the second Worldwide Wardrive Initiative (WWI).

The report from the first WWI, which took place between 31 August and 7 September of this year, revealed that a massive 70 percent of wireless networks were not protected by the encryption systems, which come pre-installed on all WiFi networks.

Hackers can intercept unencrypted files by using a computer to dial through lists of telephone numbers searching for data, or by setting up a home-made antenna to detect insecure networks, which is known as wardialing.

Back in March, wireless network security firm I-Sec showed just how easy it was to tap into networks, using the now famous Pringles antennae test.

But despite the wide publicity that followed, I-Sec says that many people are still adopting the attitude "to act after it has happened to them, but by then it's too late".

Amazingly, 27 percent of networks, according to the report, hadn't even bothered to change the default name of their wireless components, making it extremely easy for hackers to sign in and use, or potentially bring down, the network.

The latest initiative, which runs from 26 October to 2 November, will see wardrives across nine countries and 32 'areas', including the USA, Norway, Spain, Brazil and South America.

For more information on network security, our sister site Techworld has a comprehensive network security resource page.

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