Wi-Fi 802.11 Security

According to an article I just read, the Department of Homeland Security considers Wi-Fi 802.11 wireless access points a terrorist threat and is threatening to regulate their use. This could potentially be an extremely annoying invasion of privacy for personal users like myself, unless the Department commissioned experienced IT people to assist in developing standards. Essentially, the Department is creating positions with the authority to regulate vulnerable wireless networks. I can see the importance of securing corporate information assets accessible by Wi-Fi, but standardizing the use of personal wireless networks seems a bit unrealistic and far fetched. The problem with standardizing Wi-Fi security is that there is no "best" way to do it, and certain forms of encryption, such as WEP, remain completely crackable. For such a standardization to be successful, a simple, efficient way of encrypting 802.11 signals must be developed that can be implemented into hardware or at least be packaged as software with the devices. Also, I think the feds are overreacting slightly. Yes, wireless vulnerabilities exist, but are terrorists actually exploiting them in order to gain valuable information? Probably not. Is a terrorist going to cruise through the suburbs and find some juicy tidbit of information on a personal wireless network? Again, probably not. I think the Homeland Security people should look at the situation realistically and focus on patching corporate security holes not just to avoid leaking information to terrorists, but also to stop curious American hackers who commonly break into these networks (trust me). This should happen only with the help and advice of experienced IT security professionals. As for personal Wi-Fi use, security should remain the user's problem not the government's. Thoughts?


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