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Wireless LAN Security

While a great deal of attention has been paid to technologies such as WAP and Bluetooth, Wireless LANs using the IEEE 802.11b standard have been growing rapidly over the past two years. Unfortunately, products built on 802.11b that were once marketed as "secure" are now being shown to be anything but. Specifically, 802.11b secures data using the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol. Unfortunately, it has been shown that WEP can be cracked by simply modifying several device driver settings on your wireless LAN-equipped mobile device! Wireless LAN proponents have recently backtracked, claiming that WEP was designed only as a "deterrent" rather than a crackproof solution. Consider yourself warned!

Another, more pressing problem with wireless LANs deals with their use of shared spectrum and the ability of passersby to snoop on your corporate LAN traffic. It was revealed last year that corporate data from Sun Microsystems was stolen by snoopers sitting in the Sun parking lot! A number of grassroots efforts are underway in major cities to map out wireless access points (London, Seattle, Boston, Silicon Valley), in case you're interested in participating.

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