Half of London Wi-Fi networks open to hackers

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Nearly half of wireless networks in London are open to attack, according to new research.

Researcher from anti-virus company Kaspersky Labs found that 49 percent of Wi-Fi networks in the city were not using data encryption and thus open to attack from hackers.

The research was carried out between April 25 and 28 this year in various areas of London and at Infosec 2006. The research paid particular attention to Canary Wharf, and while that area proved the most secure of all places tested in London, there were a significant number of wireless networks (40 percent) that were unencrypted.

The researchers also carried out the same tests at Infosec 2006, Europe’s largest security exhibition, and found that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of the wireless networks were operating without data encryption.

Alexander Gostev, Senior Virus Analyst, Kaspersky Lab said this is a particular concern as hackers are attracted to such exhibitions by the opportunity to break in to the networks of the companies taking part.

“You’d expect a major business site and a security exhibition to be particularly security conscious. The level of vulnerability at both of these sites is surprising,” he said.

“Canary Wharf is home to multi-national banks and insurance companies and would be the perfect location for a hacker wanting to steal lucrative confidential or proprietary information. For these organisations, the fallout from an attack could be enormous.”

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