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What do you know about warchalking?

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Is Jonathan's discussion about warchalking an eye-opener to you, as featured in the Aug. 12 Internet Security Focus newsletter? Has your company noticed any warchalking in your area? What other security risks threaten wireless networks?

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A little more than....

by Angelo In reply to What do you know about wa ...

Mr. Yarden. He states :
"People are actively finding and using insecure wireless networks with what is called warchalking (after the popular modem-finding procedure known
as wardialing). " Actually, Warchalking is a result of Wardriving or Warwalking which is patterned after Wardialing. The symbol set is not completely codified amoung the "digital nomads", but this trend certainly points out that people want wireless internet access, and as many as possible want it everywhere. In many cases, there is free service available that is eithe rprovided by a local business (e.g. Starbucks) or by a local government or individual (e.g. wirelss freenets).

This is a security concern for those that have wireless networks and need to have themsecure. Mr. Yarden would have done well to at least give some do's and don'ts instead of writing a panic peace.

Do
Turn off beaconing on your access point
Limit the number of connections to your access point
Configure SSID to something difficult to guess
Use 128-bit WEP with a mix of alpha and numeric

Don't
Use wireless unless you have do
Leave your wireless access point within your secured network - you have just opened a huge hole
position your antennaes so that access extends out to and beyond the street of your office building

O.K. - just a couple of Do's and Don'ts, most doable, some difficult. This is a wide arena that needs study and determiniation to get a handle on. Wireless access is very cool and very useful, just be acareful with it if you have sensitive data or don't want your bandwidth getting used by others.

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Security Risk ? if you want it to be.

by Hans P In reply to What do you know about wa ...

Yes, unsecured wireless networks can be a security risk.
Note the following points however:
- any access point (including most low budget) includes basic security options as 128 bit encryption, mac address filter, .. It is your choice if you wantto use it or not.
- these security options can be cracked (hacked, whatever): 128 bit encryption is not really secure given a lot of time & resources and mac addresses can be cloned given luck and resources.
- and then what: if your wireless network is opened up from outside? All wireless networks I know of only support decent performance within the building. Any wall in between access point and receiver will dramatically reduce performance! No such thing as a free 11Mb/s in a parked car outside! My guess is max 1 Mb directly in front of the windows (the ones where the IT department placed their coffee machine) and nothing on any distance. (based on experiment: 30 ft away from the building - insuff. signal: no connection). Any warchalkerwould have to camp directly outside an office building while cracking the 128 bit encryption scheme.

Summarising: Yes, it is a security risc but with a few minor actions I can live with it.

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