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Pirate wireless networks pose security threats

According to Gartner Group, pirate wireless networks eavesdrop on data and passwords that crosses any centralized Internet network.
Written by ZDNet Staff, Contributor

Pirate wireless networks pose an increased security threat.

According to the Gartner Group, pirate wireless networks eavesdrop on data and passwords that cross the backbone of any centralized Internet network.

Wireless pirates need only to dial into the wireless network and then intercept or eavesdrop on backbone activity on a traditional Internet network of servers and desktops.

Pirate wireless networks are usually cobbled together from components that employees have available to them in IT departments. Proximity is key -- wireless pirates must dial in from less than a couple of hundred yards from the traditional network they are tapping into.

Gartner advises IT users and vendors to thwart pirate wireless network activity with the following tactics:

1. Change security codes on the network. Default codes are open to any third party who knows the code.

2. Implement wireless access points. Isolate the path that wireless users access your network. This will reduce the amount of backbone activity they can see and it reduces overall traffic via the network hub.

3. Support departmental wireless networks. If departments have full IT support for building wireless networks, they will be less likely to build their own insecure wireless networks.

4. Implement Media Access Control (MAC) address tracking to control network security. Know who is travelling on your network via MAC. Additionally, MAC can disable wireless devices remotely if stolen.

5. Monitor access logs. Access logs point to source addresses and make it easier to identify attempts to penetrate network log-in security.

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