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The Wireless Threat

The use of wireless technology has become increasingly popular due to its flexibility and recent affordability over traditional methods to access hard-wired LANs. Analysts from all the leading research organizations agree that the market potential of wireless networking is huge and will continue to grow as the technology matures. The popularity of wireless networking is quickly spreading. Both individuals and organizations are finding benefits in their ease of installation and ease of use. As seen in multiple times throughout this book, technological advancement does not come without a price. This technology has security and privacy risks like all the others, however. Wireless networking has flaws from a security and privacy perspective that place your data at risk. Unfortunately, due to the ease of deploying these wireless networks and the relative newness of the technology, many IT professionals and network engineers do not realize the risks associated with operating a wireless network.

Wireless is not a perfect technology, and security is part of the imperfection. Hackers have attacked the method of communications and found weaknesses that can be used to capture data, access corporate networks, and wreak havoc without having to be physically on a network. Another threat comes from the government. After the terrorist attacks in the U.S. in September 2001, the FBI has been given more leeway to use DCS1000 (Carnivore) to monitor e-mail and Internet communications. Prior to the attack, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) warned in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission that the FBI might start using DCS1000. This surveillance now includes wireless technology, which is even easier to spy on.


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