Qld Police battles unsecured Wi-Fi

Qld Police battles unsecured Wi-Fi

Summary: Queensland Police testing has shown that 50 per cent of wireless networks are unsecured in select areas, according to Queensland Police detective superintendent Brian Hay.

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Queensland Police testing has shown that 50 per cent of wireless networks are unsecured in select areas, according to Queensland Police detective superintendent Brian Hay.

Brian Hay

Brian Hay
(Credit: Queensland Police)

"We see it as a major vulnerability in the community," Hay told ZDNet Australia at the AusCERT 2010 security conference in Queensland. "Certainly some testing that we did identified that 50 per cent of all the wireless networks out there were unsecured."

Last July, Hay had told technology publication iTnews that Queensland Police planned to conduct a wardriving mission around select Queensland towns. Wardriving refers to driving a car with a computer and looking for unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Given the high proportion of unsecured Wi-Fi networks, Hay said that a submission to have police leave pamphlets at premises with unsecured Wi-Fi was "under review".

"So the idea would be to leave a pamphlet or a notification saying 'You have an unsecured wireless network, these are some of the steps you can take to secure that wireless network and reduce the threat and vulnerability to you and your family," he said. "It's an attention issue so people can self-protect."

There were many reasons for having Wi-Fi secured, according to Hay. "[It's] to protect individuals or small business commercial enterprises from harm of where they can be abused, where their data can be copied, where their lives can be intruded, where their bandwidth that they're paying for is being stolen."

Ben Grubb is attending AusCERT 2010 on the Gold Coast as a guest of AusCERT.

(Front page image credit: Australia Queensland Police image, by Dave Conner, CC2.0)

Topics: Broadband, Networking, Security, NBN, Wi-Fi

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2 comments
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  • I wonder if they detected those that didn't broadcast their SSID. If not (and I hope they couldn't) then the percentage at risk would be somewhat less. In any case, an interesting result considering how long Wi-Fi has been around and how many warnings have been given over the years.
    groufskd
  • oo queensland is full of free internet u say? Id say thats more or less a representation of the rest of the country as well. my neibours were unsecured before i told them about it. but im just nice, some people arent.

    If only Conroy wasn't so anti IT Education, He could actually use this discovery for good (educating the more computer illiterate about how changing just a couple of settings can do a world of difference for wifi security) rather than just blaming google coz they wont support his internet cencorship.
    Axty87