Unsecured Wi-Fi would be outlawed by N.Y. county

    Date07 Nov 2005
    6962
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    According to a new proposal being considered by a suburb of New York City, any business or home office with an open wireless connection but no separate server to fend off Internet attacks would be violating the law.

    Politicians in Westchester County are urging adoption of the law--which appears to be the first such legislation in the U.S.--because without it, "somebody parked in the street or sitting in a neighboring building could hack into the network and steal your most confidential data," County Executive Andy Spano said in a statement.

    The draft proposal offered this week would compel all "commercial businesses" with an open wireless access point to have a "network gateway server" outfitted with a software or hardware firewall. Such a firewall, used to block intrusions from outside the local network, would be required even for a coffee shop that used an old-fashioned cash register instead of an Internet-linked credit card system that could be vulnerable to intrusions.

    Scott Fernqvist, special assistant to the county's chief information officer, said Friday that he thought "the law would apply" to home offices as well.

    "It was just introduced; it's a draft," Fernqvist said. "We're hoping it's enacted early next year, but this can change."

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