NIST: Wireless opens a port in the parking lot

NIST: Wireless opens a port in the parking lot

Days after Defense Department CIO John P. Stenbit warned against using wireless devices inside DOD buildings, 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.'

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 at csrc.nist.gov/publications/drafts/draft-sp800-48.pdf .

The report singled out specific areas of vulnerability:
  • Public Web sites show maps of wireless access points throughout the nation.

  • Wireless LANs have at least as many security weaknesses as wired ones, including denial of service attacks and sniffing out unencrypted traffic.

  • Wireless intruders can bypass firewalls.

  • Stored data on a wired network can be corrupted by improper synchronization of wireless devices.

  • Employees' identities and locations can be tracked by their wireless signals.

  • Wireless networks can be hijacked to launch attacks against other organizations.


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