WATPA: RE: Unsecured Wi-Fi would be outlawed by N.Y. county

From: Norm Jacknis <norm@jacknis.com>
Date: Mon Nov 07 2005 - 22:06:51 EST

Since Chris posted this, I'll put on my "day job" hat and make clear
that the article is incorrect. No one is proposing outlawing or banning
Wi-Fi in Westchester, nor is anyone's home Wi-Fi network going to be
threatened by legislation.

In part, this is an effort to educate the public that wireless
networking is a great convenience, but, like all technology, requires
intelligent use.

The legislation would ask businesses that have both confidential data
and wireless networks to, at least, take minimal steps to protect that
data from those who might otherwise gain access to their networks.

Most businesses have handled these properly. Unfortunately, a
significant fraction have let their enthusiasm or competitiveness get
ahead of their technological skills. The result is the kind of
situation that has been well documented in the computer trade press as
well as places like the NY Times.
For example, see:
1) *"Main Street in the Cross Hairs" *by Eric Dash, July 26, 2005
"Along a crowded stretch of highway just south of Miami's downtown is a
shopping area that might be called the data theft capital of the United
States. In the wireless hacker equivalent of a drive-by shooting wave,
criminals obtained the cardholder information of tens of thousands of
customers at four major stores there, including a DSW Shoes retail
outlet that appears to have been the initial source of a chainwide data

"Recent investigations reveal that the thieves singled out stores with
strong wireless signals and weakly protected data....From there, it
would be easy to pick up signals being broadcast around the store and
use them to gain access to its computer systems. For more than a month,
the hackers "robbed" the same shops again and again of premium card
account numbers stored in their databases."

2) *"The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Your Data" *
By WILSON ROTHMAN, October 5, 2005
"Unless you take precautions, someone using a simple portable computer
can hop onto your home network or peer into your laptop at a public
Wi-Fi hotspot. Jupiter Research said that 14 percent of Wi-Fi users
have logged onto neighbors' networks in the past year, and 30 percent
are worried about their neighbors' getting onto their networks."

(The complete versions of the articles are available from the NY Times
Website or the Westchester Library System newspaper database.)


Christopher X. Candreva wrote:

>Unsecured Wi-Fi would be outlawed by N.Y. county
>By Anne Broache
>Westchester County proposes that all businesses providing wireless
>access must have firewalls and register.
>Chris Candreva -- chris@westnet.com -- (914) 967-7816
>WestNet Internet Services of Westchester
Received on Mon Nov 7 22:07:52 2005

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