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A Refresher Course on Common IT Security Threats: Chapter 2

Here is our second installment on common IT security threats.  If you missed Chapter 1, here it is.  In Chapter 1, we talked about DNS spoofing.

With today’s common IT security threats chapter, let’s get refreshed on WIFI security. You know, I can go to almost any Starbucks’ coffee house and hook up to the free wireless network they so kindly provide their coffee drinkers.  One of the Starbucks’ near where I live is also close to a community college.  Come the Fall, when school starts, that coffee house stays full from morning until night, with students wired into the internet.

Places that offer WiFi are convenient and it’s a service that brings us back to their establishments time and time again.

The only caveat is that these WiFi connections are open and accessible to hackers.  Traffic crossing these lines is open and unprotected.  I could go to a popular tech store right now, spend about $50, take a coat hanger, and in putting these materials together, even I could cruise up and down the streets finding open wireless connections that I could intercept and “listen” in on.

So, in today’s blog we are talking about man-in-the-middle attacks.  Your signal is intercepted by the man in the middle and the man in the middle could potentially steal the information you are typing in like usernames and passwords.

So, the thing to do when using wireless services is to implement encryption.  And, not the standard WEP security that comes with laptops.  WEP can’t protect you.  Make sure you are using WPA encrypted networking.

There are ways to even invade certain WPA encryptions within a matter of hours, so you’d want to think about how cumbersome it will be to disconnect and reconnect every couple-three hours.

My point here is to remind us all, again, not to get lazy.  Don’t fall for the WEP security blanket.  It won’t keep you warm.

Check with your tech consultants, ask lots of questions and make sure your wireless connection is bullet-proof and make sure you know the ins and outs of it.

Next week, when we discuss more common IT security threats, we’ll talk a bit about social engineering, or as I like to call it, “schmoozing engineering”.

Carry on, carry over.


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