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Summary:

Thomas, a regular reader emailed me a story in Las Vegas Review Journal about the vulnerabilities of wifi networks. With help of an expert, the news daily picked up 150 networks, with nearly 40 of them unsecured, for anyone to tap into. “Wi-Fi signals have become […]

wifi logoThomas, a regular reader emailed me a story in Las Vegas Review Journal about the vulnerabilities of wifi networks. With help of an expert, the news daily picked up 150 networks, with nearly 40 of them unsecured, for anyone to tap into. “Wi-Fi signals have become the 21st century version of the Wild West. Instead of bandits with revolvers, computer hackers inhabit this invisible territory,” the daily says. Many ignore to turn on WEP, which LVRJ describe as a tiny lock on your luggage. Still, it makes life a little difficult for pranksters.

WiFi equipment makers, every single time you query them about security remind you about all the whiz-bang stuff they are building into their devices to make the wireless networks. It is the users who let them down, by not securing their networks, opening them to hackers and malcontents. Many times its sheer laziness, and more often than not it is the complexity of the process that befuddles the consumers. I know, I had to rely on Mr. WiFi’s expertise to set up a network that worked well with Apples and PCs, and other devices and was secure.

Additional reading: Windows Secrets has details on the new security measures like WPA2. This infact is a very comprehensive primer on WiFi and all related stuff. It also digs into the use of VPNs and why they can make data safe when on the go.

  1. charliesierra Monday, May 30, 2005

    FYI,

    Myself and loads of other folks have had great success with the terrific http://www.openvpn.org.

    I believe it supports Windows and MacX, in addition to all the usual Unix suspects.

    Its kinda of an analog to your meme about the rise of virtual companies, it that OpenVPN, VNC’s and other cool stuff are riffing off the rise of virtual device drivers.

    Thats all that OpenVPN really does. Create a virtual network driver, route all your normal traffic thru this new driver, which simply encrypts the packets and puts them on the normal NIC. Thus instaVPN.

    Xen, of course is a new virtual intel box.
    …and so it goes…

    The future will be packetized for your pleasure.

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  2. Pretty good! Thanks for the link, Charlie.

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  3. The company JiWire (http://www.jiwire.com) just starting offering a product called SpotLock that uses IPSec encryption technology (which I understand to be a very good standard for VPNs) to encrypt anything leaving or coming into your PC, so if you are connected via Wi-Fi this can help protect you from Evil-Twins or Phishing type attacks. I have been using this since the alpha preview and it works well, and is pretty inexpensive to use.

    (Full disclosure: JiWire is a client of my company).

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  4. Yeah…. I think spot lock is pretty good too. though most of these are optimised for PC, and Mac users are bit of on their own.

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  5. We’re trying to build a little awareness about this issue. We haven’t formally announced it yet,but if anyone wishes to try out our SecureMyWiFi™ service, entering in “securetheworld” as the discount code will make the 1AP/5 User network free. additional APs are $10 a year/Users are $1. It’s WPA/802.1x for everyone.

    Our personalVPN™ service is a user-friendly OpenVPN for XP. “securehotspot” as the discount code gets it for $39.50 a year (50% off). I’m a fanatical MAC user, and we’re close to a Mac Version as well, so feel free to email sales@witopia.net to get on the list. We’re close.

    Like I said, we’ll be announcing this formally soon as well as some other stuff. Feel free to try it out.

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  6. whoops..website is http://www.witopia.net if you couldn’t deduce that from email. :)

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  7. I am going on vacation and will have access to unsecured wifi. What do I have to do and how safe is the system?

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