Private WiFi in the workplace leads to security problems

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Unsecured networks leave companies vulnerable.

Employees implementing their own private WiFi networks in the workplace are leading to security headaches for administrators.

Pravin Bhagwat, co-founder and CTO of AirTight Networks, pointed to how users have WiFi at home and want the same convenience at work, so are buying their own private devices and plugging them into the private network.

Bhagwat explained that they put the routers under their desk so they have their own access and find a connection.

“50 per cent will use Belkin and Netgear when it should be Trapeze or Cisco, but the IT administrator does not have the tools,” he said.

This could also lead to the problem of someone connecting from the street into the network. While the company may be protected by a firewall, employees will be using a private and unsecured WiFi.

Bhagwat said: “We have seen this globally, we have done scans in major cities and we are seeing a trend and enterprises need to take the problems seriously and take security measures.

“Imagine if someone in an office connects, then someone on the street can connect into the company network but no-one can know about it. We are seeing a clear trend in the larger organisations and IT has no visibility of this.”

Bhagwat further claimed that there are two types of security threat: outsider-in and the insider-out. He said: “The administrator does not have the tools to control the threat and this is a big issue for many markets, where we come in with a sensor to alert, that sends a report and can set a policy.”

The company will soon launch version 6.0 of its SpectraGuard, a system that deploys sensors, shaped like smoke alarms, to detect wireless connections and block them.

“We are seeing a trend of an increasing number of inside-in and insider-out threats and organisations that have not deployed WiFi are the most vulnerable. For a small company this is not a problem but for a Fortune 500 it is a huge problem," Bhagwat said.

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