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EEMA – the independent, European non-profit association for e-Business

EEMA and Orthus highlight wireless security flaws

A recent live study of the wireless security networks operating in Zurich revealed that 79% of organisations using a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) are leaving their network wide open to security breaches from hackers.

The survey, conducted by Orthus, the information security solutions provider, for EEMA’s “It’s A Wireless World” workshop held last week in Zurich, highlighted that of the 193 networks identified, 79% were not using the established WEP encryption technology and 63% of the networks were easily identified by name.

The results reflect those found in similar studies carried out by Orthus in London, Milan, Berlin and Paris, (note to press: for the results of the previous four studies, please see the bottom of this release) all of which have proven that the frequencies, physical location and ownership of an organisation’s WLAN can easily be determined by inexperienced hackers from the emanations on the streets.

“What’s worse”, commented Richard Hollis, CEO at Orthus “is that even if companies do encrypt their network using the WEP technology, a recently- discovered flaw indicates that WEP is an fairly insecure encryption device in itself. Although WEP does use encryption technology, the strength of the algorithms has been compromised. Therefore, cracking the encryption used is relatively simple, taking a maximum of a couple of hours even on a heavily-used network. However, the fact that our four studies have shown that in 23% to 67% of cases, an organisation’s name can be easily identified by a hacker is also of great concern, and has nothing to do with whether or not the network is encrypted”.

Whilst organisations spend millions of euros securing their wired network infrastructure, the same considerations are often ignored when implementing a WLAN. The fact that an internal network is often linked to the WLAN is cause for concern, as poor implementation of the WLAN can seriously compromise the integrity of the whole network.

“The above issues will be addressed within EEMA’s forthcoming WLAN Best Practise Document with contributions from Orthus and other EEMA Members” commented the chair of EEMA’s wireless work group, Rick Chandler. The document will highlight the importance of securing a WLAN, the steps to take, and how to minimise any security breaches. Even with the WEP flaws, it is still possible for companies to secure their WLAN to an acceptable level by following a few basic principles, which will help to minimise intrusion into their main networks”. The Document will be made available in full to EEMA Members.

Ends

Summary of results from previous Orthus WLAN surveys :-

London – 207 networks identified; 67% unencrypted; 47% identified by name
Berlin -183 networks identified; 77% unencrypted; 23% identified by name
Milan - 12 networks identified; 91% unencrypted; 57% identified by name
Paris - 122 networks identified; 61% unencrypted; 47% identified by name
(Zurich - 193 networks identified; 79% unencrypted; 63% identified by name)

About EEMA – www.eema.org
EEMA, founded in 1987, is the leading independent, European non-for-profit e-Business association, pushing forward the boundaries of e-commerce, technology and legislation.
Its numerous Interest Groups, workshops, conferences and seminars each specialise in areas of current concern, to educate and inform its member companies on latest developments and technologies, at the same time enabling members of the association to compare views and ideas.
Working closely with governmental bodies, standards organisations and e-Business initiatives throughout Europe, EEMA is an instrumental force in moving European business towards working electronically. Visit www.eema.org or contact EEMA at info@eema.org or +44 1386 793028.

About Orthus – www.orthus.com
Orthus Ltd. is an information security solutions provider offering European businesses solutions for securing their digital information. With offices in London and Milan, Orthus is staffed with highly trained, seasoned information and communication technology security professionals experienced in designing, installing and maintaining creative and effective information security solutions.

Orthus are strong believers in knowledge transfer. Their approach is to openly share their experiences of proven security software, hardware, practices and principles with all of their clients and to work in partnership with them to achieve the best and most effective results.

For more information about Orthus Ltd. contact: Orthus at 11-15 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, WC2H (BP, London, UK, telephone: +44 (0) 207 470 8711 (office) and +44 (0) 207 379 0801 (fax) or email: info@orthus.com

Note to press.


If you are interested in interviewing Rick Chandler or Richard Hollis, receiving an advance copy of EEMA’s WLAN Best Practice Paper, or finding out more about EEMA’s role and activities, please contact ruth.cattell@eema.org - direct tel. +44 1384 374008.


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