Carrying On: Improve Security With Wireless

    Date13 Oct 2004
    7807
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    I'm standing at the security guard's station. In the now-familiar corporate front-desk ritual, I sign the log book. The guard doesn't ask for my ID. I might have signed my own name, or I might have signed as Osama bin Laden, for all he knows. He doesn't look at what I'm carrying. He doesn't know or care about the camera phone in my pocket. Still, he hands me a paper sticker that says "Visitor" in red block letters. Armed with my badge of trustworthiness, I go on in. . . . I'm standing at the security guard's station. In the now-familiar corporate front-desk ritual, I sign the log book. The guard doesn't ask for my ID. I might have signed my own name, or I might have signed as Osama bin Laden, for all he knows. He doesn't look at what I'm carrying. He doesn't know or care about the camera phone in my pocket. Still, he hands me a paper sticker that says "Visitor" in red block letters. Armed with my badge of trustworthiness, I go on in.

    Heading to my meeting room, I pass an unoccupied cubicle, where an accounting application is on the workstation's screen. Like a security cliché right out of Dilbert, Post-It notes are on the monitor scribbled with user IDs and passwords. A pair of USB flash drives sits next to the machine, free for the picking, containing who-knows-what data.

    My host greets me in the meeting room, and we start setting up. In the back of the room, an Ethernet cable snakes through the acoustic ceiling tiles. It runs to a minihub on the floor, likely the work of some network vigilante. I boot up my PC and ask, "Can I get a wireless connection?" Sideways glances ricochet across the room. Finally, my host mutters, "Sorry, we can't do that. Wireless LANs aren't secure."

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