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November 22, 2007

WiFi security: GetSafeOnline warns of ‘piggybacking’ dangers

UK internet security awareness campaign GetSafeOnline.org has been warning about the increasing use of wireless networks by people 'piggy-backing' on, for example, their neighbor's connection. If networks are not properly secured they can make it easy for others to use them - including more undesirable elements of the community - which is particularly worrying where remote workers are concerned.

By CBR Staff Writer

GetSafeOnline.org has issued a press release for consumers on the need to secure wireless networks.

Now more people than ever are working from home on a regular basis this concern over unsecured wireless networks has become a business issue. A study conducted in November 2006 by Affiniti and ICM Research, involving 1,000 workers across the UK, found that remote working and environmental policies look set to move even more UK staff from the office into the home.

The research discovered that two thirds of UK employees expect to be able to work from home within the next five to 10 years, with 37% indicating that they will only consider new jobs that offer remote working, and 31% of workers feeling that being at home ranks above other possible benefits. This highlights the importance of this capability for organizations when hiring new employees. Unfortunately, three quarters of UK organizations appear to be slow on the uptake, having no home working policy in place, and any home working policy should include the safety of company data.

Yes, many people use virtual private networks (VPNs) to connect to corporate networks, thus traffic and the corporate network is secure in that way, but then to avoid using the connection all day, they might download files to work on from their laptops at home but still have the unsecured wireless network open – as GetSafeOnline points out, this then leaves the coast clear for criminals to get to various files on the machine.

It is crucial that enterprises protect remote clients and the data that they contain, as well as having remote access security policies in place – otherwise organizations will continue to be at risk.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)

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