Wireless Hotspots

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What risks and safeguards are associated with wireless communication? What is “war driving” or “war flying”? Are you comfortable (or would you use) a wireless “hot spot” to do computer work? What safeguards might you use in accessing an unprotected (public) wireless communications? Are you more at risk using a wireless connection via laptop or a connection via a smart phone?

Transmissions over wireless networks can be intercepted by any suitable device within the transmission radius. If a network intruder is able to attach to an unsecured AP, they can get access to the wireless network and the Internet connection.

Media access control address filtering can be used to limit access to only identifiable network cards with approved MAC addresses. A MAC address is a hardware code designed uniquely for each PC and network device. This system is not guaranteed because MAC addresses are broadcast in the clear, so an intruder may be able to spoof them.

Wireless communications are, by their very nature, radio waves riding on different frequencies. As such antennas made with a Quaker Oats container and aluminum foil can intercept radio transmissions if they do not encrypt or otherwise secure the source of the communications. This is a primary risk of wireless communications that many users fail to appreciate. Wireless access points must be further secured with encryption protocols such as WiFi Protected Access (WPA-2) which uses a longer and stronger cryptographic key that must be exchanged between sender and receiver. This is one of the primary safeguards of wireless technology, as it ensures that the receiver must return the correct key in order for communications to occur. When encryption technologies are deployed in wireless networks, interception is nearly impossible. Marshall Lewis The risks associated with wireless communication are Denial of Service Attacks (DoS), worms, viruses, and Trojans horses. Dos attacks consist of making repeated request of a...
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