On Vacation? Better Check That Wireless Network You're On...

redtigerdragon - July 10, 2009 02:35PM in Networking, Internet

A recent study done by AirTight Networks, a wireless security company, shows some shocking statistics about Wi-Fi at airports. They sent some "white-hat" staff members to check to see how secure the wireless was in 27 airports: 20 in the U.S., five in Asia and two in Europe. What they found was not good. At JFK International Airport in New York, the baggage-handling system was being run on network with no security measures in place. At other airports, even the ticketing systems weren't secured. In fact, 88% of the Wi-Fi networks surveyed were secured by Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), which has been cracked since 2001. Even worse, 77% were actually peer-to-peer networks, not even official hotspots but instead running off of someone else's computer. And almost everywhere they went, they found fake Wi-Fi networks set up by hackers. To quote AirTight investigator Rick Farina: "We found a lot of people using insecure Wi-Fi, and people engaged in all sort of dangerous activity — checking their e-mail, doing their banking, buying stock. These are not the kinds of thing you want to be doing on public Wi-Fi." Be wary next time you go on vacation, and be doubly wary what you do on the wireless networks.