UK businesses are asked to think seriously...Hack attacks on wireless area networks (WLAN)are on the increase as users within companies continue to run networks without authorisation. Research by Gartner found that UK businesses need to take the threat of hack attacks on the 802.11b standard seriously. At least 20 per cent of US organisations have WLANs set up without an official sanction from the board, and 50 per cent of companies say they plan to create one in the near future. The situation in the US is believed to reflect trends in the UK and Gartner is recommending that companies run 802.11b systems on a separate network from the main corporate LAN, separated by a firewall. Gartner also said that users who wish to access company databases via a WLAN should use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt all traffic at or below the 802.11b protocol, to deter hackers. A hacking tool named AirSnort was made available online last week for fast and simple attacks on corporate wireless networks running over the 802.11b protocol.