Less than 50 per cent of UK firms are safeguarding corporate data from attacks on wireless networks, according to a new government survey.
Initial findings from the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) biennial Information Security Breaches Survey found that only 20 per cent of firms are using wired equivalent privacy and other encryption tools to protect wireless networks.
More than half of the businesses surveyed admitted to having no additional security controls at all.
Despite the lack of additional security, mobile computing has jumped - with more than a third of firms now using wireless networks compared with just two per cent when the survey was last conducted two years ago.
The survey of more than 1,000 UK businesses, conducted by a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) research consortium, also found that wireless networks are becoming the focal point for external attack, with nearly one in 10 businesses reporting attempted breaches.
"Businesses seem to be dragging their feet when it comes to introducing security controls over remote access to their systems," said Andrew Beard, PwC's advisory director leading the DTI survey.
Even more alarmingly, 23 per cent of firms admitted they did not know whether their wireless networks had been breached, with a quarter of businesses relying on normal 'crackable' network password controls.
The report also found that although more than a third of businesses - and 57 per cent of large firms - use PDAs, less than 42 per cent have security measures in place to protect corporate data.
But bigger enterprises fared better than SMEs when it came to security, with twice as many corporates using virtual private networks and three times as many using two-factor authentication and digital certificates, said the survey.
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