Leave your neighbour's WLAN alone

And think about a sniffer if you want yours kept safe, say experts

And think about a sniffer if you want yours kept safe, say experts

WLAN networks will continue to plague businesses with security issues, but the problems could be cleaned up in vast numbers if only access points were configured correctly.

According to research from analyst house Gartner, 70 per cent of successful WLAN attacks could be prevented if the access points and client software are properly set up. Its research also found that if the wireless hackers are clever, they may be able to leech a company's resources without ever being found out.

Gartner recommends companies working in areas where there may be several WLANs operating – multi-storey offices with lots of firms in, for example – should make sure they aren't accidentally connecting to other businesses' networks.

For the security conscious but not cash-rich, one option is a sniffer – a handheld device that tracks down any authorised access points around the network boundaries. For those with a bit more money to throw around, another option is to shell out for wireless intrusion detectors.

John Pescatore, Gartner VP, said while the sniffers are a good back-up and a handy way to demonstrate wireless security issues to the higher-ups, they don't make for a permanent solution.

The issues around wireless working will no doubt become more pressing in the near future, as workers rush to get mobile. Research from Vodafone published today shows that 80 per cent of businesspeople are equipped for mobile working and 42 per cent are regularly using Wi-Fi, BlackBerry PDAs and other wireless tech.