FBI: Watch Out for Weak Wi-Fi

Besides all those municipal Wi-Fi networks going up in cities across the nation for public use, state and local governments have also led adoption of wireless technologies for applications such as reducing paper and enhancing public-safety operations. But the FBI cautions that the networks on which those apps run are at risk from intruders.

Besides all those municipal Wi-Fi networks going up in cities across the nation for public use, state and local governments have also led adoption of wireless technologies for applications such as reducing paper and enhancing public-safety operations. But the FBI cautions that the networks on which those apps run are at risk from intruders.

The FBI has issued a warning that the Wireless Encryption Protocol has become increasingly vulnerable to hackers. The bureau says it distributed the warning after its Birmingham, Ala., field office received a tip from a security professional that sophisticated European hackers had developed techniques to disable WEP in a matter of seconds.

“We got the information from a person in our InfraGard network, and we put it out as quickly and widely as we could,” says Special Agent Dale Miskell, cybercrimes supervisor for the Birmingham office. “The systems administrators in government agencies and companies better put safeguards in place or they will be hacked.”

The FBI recommends that agencies upgrade their wireless networks to a more secure protocol, such as Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, Temporal Key Integrity Protocol or the Advanced Encryption Standard. At the very least, according to the FBI, network managers should require users to set up password protection and change default WEP settings.

Jul 03 2007