Wireless security has had more than its fair share of bad press, not helped by the failure of the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption standard to withstand hacks.
Doubts also linger over its successor, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). The Wi-Fi alliance announced over the summer that WPA was being extended with WPA version 2, which will include the 802.1x authentication standard.
Intel admitted at the European Technology Summit in London last month that paranoia over wireless security was holding back the industry.
But the problems surrounding wireless security are seen as "more a training than a technology issue", by Sean Maloney, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Communications Group.
"I don't see wireless as the weak link of internet security," he said.
Magnus Nystrom, technical director of RSA Security, commented: "It's perfectly possible to do a secure wireless solution."
"However, that depends on best practice. Even if you are using WPA you take the view that anyone who connects wirelessly will be connecting outside the firewall, so they should also have to run a VPN connection.
"WPA is a good security solution but strong user and hardware identification is a lot safer."
There are other simple things that can be used to boost the safety of wireless networks.
Choosing a random network ID that does not include the name of your company is a good first step, as this makes it harder for the hacker to research you as a target, and if it is wrongly configured it is less embarrassing for the company.
Always change the passwords that hardware is shipped with, since this is the first thing any hacker will try.
Meanwhile managers must scan for unauthorised wireless networks within the office which do not conform to existing security policies.
Many companies are finding that, with the availability of cheap, easy-to-use consumer wireless networking, some staff are setting up inter-office networks that are either poorly secured or totally open. This could allow hackers an easy access point to attach corporate servers.
But who are the hackers, what tools are they using and how effective are they anyway?
Consultant KPMG has been running a wireless 'honeypot' in the City of London to study hackers.
The company's security specialists who set up the dummy unsecured network wanted to discover how prevalent wireless hacking was and how to defend against it.
"We wanted to see how big the problem was in order to dispel a few myths," said James McKeogh, senior security specialist at KPMG.
What KPMG found was that by far the most activity was simply automated scanning for vulnerabilities. In only 12 per cent of cases was this taken further and classified by the firm as hacking activity.
And this with a system that was designed to be as easy to hack as possible, with no encryption used.
KPMG said the most common times to try and break into a network were 10am and 5pm on a week day.
The five most common applications used to connect by unauthorised users were NetStumbler, ApSniff, GTKSKAN, WarDrive and Wellenreiter, which identify unsecured systems and attempt to gain access.
The study uncovered three main types of attack. "We found spoofing to gain unauthorised access, denial-of-service attacks to bring down the connection and man-in-the-middle attacks which allow the hacker to steal internet access," said McKeogh.
He backed the call for companies to clearly define security policies and to ensure that the security tools available on existing hardware, such as user ID and encryption codes, be implemented fully.
"I don't think the technology is fundamentally insecure," commented Nystrom. "It's just a question of making sure you've covered all the bases."
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