WEP Fools Firms into False Sense of Security
London, UK – 6 November, 2003 – Some firms are denying themselves any prospect of productivity gains from wireless because of security fears while others are letting basic wireless encryption standards lull them into a false sense of security. These are just two of the main findings of an independent survey, carried out for SonicWALL, released today.
The survey of directors and senior IT managers at more than 400 UK businesses confirms wireless networking as a growing trend. Nearly a third of companies (28 per cent) said they had already implemented wireless technology and a further 40 per cent indicated plans to do so by 2005. The remainder, just over a third of respondents, declared they would never deploy such technology.
Of those already using wireless networks only five per cent admitted to a security breach on their wireless LAN in the past 12 months. On the surface this may seem to indicate excellent security technology, especially as eight out of ten (83 per cent) claimed to encrypt their wireless data. But upon closer inspection, it transpires that nearly half of them (47 per cent) are relying on the inadequate wireless encryption privacy (WEP) standard rather than more proven technologies such as Virtual Private Networking (VPN).
The majority of board level directors (82 per cent) are in favour of wireless. This contrasts markedly with heads of IT and IT project managers of whom around 34 per cent were resistant to wireless – largely because of the security issues.
“Relying on WEP or banning wireless usage altogether is not enough to guarantee your network integrity is maintained,” said Mike Smart, European product manager for SonicWALL. “To gain the convenience of wireless, we know that some employees will install their own rogue wireless access points on the company’s network – even when company policy prohibits it.
“At least three of the last twenty customer sites we visited have had rogue access points,” he continued. “Without the appropriate detection tools they would probably have remained undiscovered for quite some time.”
The survey also found that by end-2003 current 802.11b wireless connections are likely to have been superseded by those based on the 802.11g standard. Even so 43 per cent of firms with wireless said they had no specific guidelines or standards for the use of wireless technology.
“Development of security policies for managing and maintaining wired and wireless networks must form the next phase of corporate IT security strategies,” concluded Smart.
A high proportion of board directors (65 per cent) said they planned to deploy security mechanisms with combined feature sets by 2005.
Integrated security appliances such as the SOHO TZW from SonicWALL are able to satisfy much of today’s demand immediately. These versatile devices may be configured for a variety of applications including:
1. As a secure “wired” and “wireless” office gateway with a trusted zone on the Wireless LAN and enforced use of VPN for secure Wireless LAN access
2. As a secure office gateway with guest services where guests may have full Internet access but no access to the corporate LAN without authentication and encryption
3. As a secure access point inside a network for a particular department
4. As a hot spot solution that allows coffee shops, hotels and restaurants to offer secure Internet access to their patrons and guests
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About SonicWALL, Inc.
SonicWALL, Inc. is the leading provider of integrated Internet security appliances offering access security, transaction security and security services for the enterprise, e-commerce, SME, education and government markets. Core technologies include firewall, VPN, SSL, high availability, anti-virus, strong authentication with digital certificates, vulnerability assessment and content filtering. Together, these products and technologies provide the most comprehensive Distributed Security Architecture available. SonicWALL, Inc. is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. SonicWALL trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol SNWL. For more information, contact SonicWALL at +44 (0)1344 668090 or visit the company Web site at http://www.sonicwall.com.
For Additional Information Contact:
SonicWALL UK, Middle East & Africa
Tel: +44 (0)1344 668090
Write Angle Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 8868 4101
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