Intelligence: September 13, 2002

Archives

A new technology has proved a boon to spies, making espionage a lot easer and safer. Cheap, easy to set up wireless networks have hit the market over the last few years. Office networks based on PCs have been around for nearly 20 years. But setting them up has always been a hassle because of the required cables. Wireless networks eliminate the cabling, and two decades of trial and error developing networking software has made the installation and use of these nets even easier. There's just one catch, each base station broadcasts it's signal up to 100 meters. Anyone outside the building with a laptop (equipped with a wireless networking card) can connect to the wireless network and prowl about at will. And it gets worse. Using better antennas, the interloper can pick up the wireless network signal 500 meters (or more) from the transmitter. In theory, you can turn on encryption when you set up your wireless network, but too many (the majority at the moment) nets are turned on without encryption. But even that doesn't protect your network, as the standard encryption has already been hacked. The wireless technology is so cheap and easy to use that it is becoming popular all over the world, and even users who know of the vulnerabilities are often reluctant to give up their snazzy new wireless networks. Government intelligence agencies, and industrial spies are having a great time with this stuff, especially since it doesnt require breaking and entering, bribing someone on the inside or leaving tracks of any kind. It's even possible for a small drone aircraft to circle a location at night or during bad weather, plugging into the wireless network below and grabbing useful information. Developing nations tend to have fewer techies to be aware of, and warn users, about how vulnerable wireless nets are. Thus properly equipped spies can have access to what goes on inside of government offices, even if those PCs are not connected to the Internet. While the spies are keeping quiet about all this, finding, and sometimes using, wide open wireless nets has become something of a hobby for hackers, or anyone with a laptop, some time on their hands, and a bit of curiosity. 



 


Article Archive

Intelligence: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
$0
$2500

Don't Let Us Go Up In Smoke!

January, February and March are notoriously low ad revenue months online. And StrategyPage has not been spared. We need to raise $2500 in combined subscriptions and contributions to keep us moving forward.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close