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Chapter 20. Mobile and Wireless Systems > Security and the Wireless LAN

Security and the Wireless LAN

Now, suppose you take your laptop with its wireless card and go visit someone else with a wireless net. You turn on the computer, start the software, and find that you're on their network. Some people have even driven around high-tech areas, such as downtown San Francisco, just to see how many wireless networks they could find and join. The results are frightening, at least for companies and individuals who care about who is on their networks. Many networks, including those of banks and other financial institutions, are open to this kind of attack.

Part of the problem is configuration: the network operators didn't change the cryptographic keys used to identify authorized systems to the network. They are also open to let any wireless device obtain a network address and start using the network. Although it is easy to complain that network operators are getting it wrong, the vendors have encouraged this by making the insecure case the easy one, even though it is a configuration that most users do not want.


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