Thursday, March 22, 2012


Marissa Calligeros March 23, 2012

The Queensland Police fraud squad will be the first in Australia to go on "wardriving" missions to help residents protect their wireless internet networks.
The State Crime Operations Command's Fraud and Corporate Crime Group first touted the wardriving project in 2009, in which police will detect unsecured wireless networks in homes and businesses that are prime targets for cyber criminals.
The project was officially launched yesterday to coincide with National Consumer Fraud Week.
Officers in the Hi Tech Crime Investigation Unit on wardriving missions will drive the streets of Brisbane with a laptop computer, looking for unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Residents and businesses owners in targeted areas will then be mailed information about how to effectively secure their connection.
Police will return to the area some time later to check whether residents have taken heed of the warning.
Security expert Paul Ducklin, of Sophos, said he liked the idea.
"It's fun, low cost, low impact, and will help to raise awareness of just how public unencrypted Wi-Fi really is," he said.
"For the cops to take the time to give you a low-key personal security hint which might save you some cyberagony in the future - what's not to like about it?"
Detective Inspector Bruce van der Graaf, head of the NSW Police Computer Crimes Unit, has previously said he was watching the Queensland Police operation with interest.
"Apart from notifying people that their wireless is unsecure I don't know what else would be achieved by it but if their trial is fruitful we'd always participate in something that works," he said in 2009.
To critics of the operation, who may believe police could better spend their time seeking out drug dealers and outlaw bikies, Queensland Police Detective Superintendent Brian Hay said the issue was just as important as any other.
"We have known of people whose Wi-Fi has been hacked and used to commit data theft, stalking and other serious crimes such as downloading child exploitation material," he said.
"I would think it's very important to save mum and dad or grandma and grandpa from becoming suspects in a serious crime or possibly losing their life savings, having their identity stolen or losing the kids' inheritance."
Superintendent Hay said police would not drive every street of the city, but rather target selected areas from time to time.
"This is mainly about raising awareness of the issue," he said.
"Unprotected or unsecured wireless networks are easy to infiltrate and hack.
"Criminals can then either take over the connection and commit fraud online or steal the personal details of the owner. This is definitely the next step in identity fraud."
Superintendent Hay said Wi-Fi users without a secure network "may as well put their bank account details, password and personal details on a billboard on the side of the highway".
His greatest concern is "open" wireless connections, otherwise referred to as access points.
"An open or unprotected connection or point allows anyone to use your internet, monitor your activity or steal your identity information," he said.
Also of great concern is Wired Equivalent Privacy encryption, an older form of security which offers limited protection, Superintendent Hay said.
"Having WEP encryption is like using a close screen door as your sole means of security at home," he said.
He recommended using WiFi Protected Access 2 as an adequate means of protection.
"We are encouraging the public not to sit back and wait ... check your connection and make sure it's protected tonight," he said.
- With Ben Grubb
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/security/police-to-cruise-streets-for-unsecured-wifi-20120322-1vmof.html

No comments:

Post a Comment