BT says: Protect your network from professional hackers

It's not just the warchalkers you need to worry about...
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

It's not just the warchalkers you need to worry about...

BT Openworld has this week thrown its weight behind the fight against 'Warchalking' - the practice of scrawling chalk marks on the outside of buildings with Wi-Fi networks to encourage passers by to surf on companies' unprotected bandwidth.

However, the UK ISP has warned that it's not just bandwidth pirates you need to worry about. Warchalkers have also drawn attention to the very real threats posed by 'professional hackers'.

Just think, if a passing laptop user can steal your bandwidth then what damage could a clued-up hacker do.

As such, BT Openworld is urging companies to take the following security measures to protect their wireless networks from warchalkers and professional hackers:

  • Ensure all access points are outside the firewall (i.e. treat the WLAN as external to the corporate LAN)
  • Use IPsec or SSH encryption
  • Consider RADIUS authentication procedures
  • Use separate secure logon methods for access to the corporate LAN
  • Locate access points in the centre of the building - minimising radiation of the signal outside the building
  • Remove "rogue" - unauthorised - access points from the network
  • Password protect all files and folders

Finally, for an even safer security set-up WLAN users should consider creating a IPsec VPN. In this configuration each device (client and network) is fully authenticated and communicates via an encrypted VPN 'tunnel'. This does require additional network hardware to terminate the connection tunnels and form bridging functions to other networks, such as wired ethernet.

It also requires a VPN client application on each wireless device using the network. This can be an expensive option that is normally only used by large businesses.

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