NIST, DOD raise wireless caution flags

The government's attitude toward wireless devices might be described as caveat user.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a draft report calling wireless connectivity the 'logical equivalent of placing an Ethernet port in the parking lot.'

And the Defense Department is drafting a policy to restrict military and civilian personnel from using wireless devices such as personal digital assistants and wireless network cards to conduct government business. NIST cautioned agencies not to set up IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth or any other wireless connectivity without careful planning.

'Maintaining a wireless network requires greater effort than for other systems and networks,' said NIST researchers in the draft report, which can be viewed here.

Defense CIO John Stenbit said DOD would restrict the types of wireless devices allowed and where they could be used.

Officials said they worry that using devices increases the vulnerability of data.

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