IN THE LATEST FBI/CSI computer crime and security survey, attacks on computer systems have been slowly decreasing over the past 12 months, except for wireless networks, which increased slightly.
While customers will not find that reassuring, it is good news for channel partners looking for opportunities to go into advanced products and the less-cannibalised technology, says Phillip Lay, vice-president channel sales, Pacific Data.
Wireless security is an untapped market, Lay says.
“End-users raise wireless security as the number one reason why they don’t deploy wireless. But when you ask them to list their top five concerns about wireless security, they can’t expand on them.”
Some are still stuck in the paranoid mentality of a few years ago, but Lay says wireless channel partners can educate them about the wireless security risks and concerns, and find real solutions for them. “Eighty percent of the business we’re doing now is companies that are mobilising their workforce,” Lay says.
Wireless for these environments needs the same, traditional security approach as wired environments: it all comes down to protecting confidentiality, integrity and availability, he says.
When wireless was new, people did not really know how to implement it effectively and so there were a lot of very weak and insecure wireless networks.
KPMG’s Asia-Pacific security leader, Peter McNally, says there are still some vulnerable networks out there today.
“If they are using wireless in highly sensitive environments, they will need to implement other mechanisms as well to provide additional security,” he says. “For example they’ll use VPN technology over wireless to provide an additional encryption layer.”
Clear evidence that has not been done, can be seen by taking a bus ride around Sydney. Allan Bell, APAC marketing director for McAfee, says of the 70 wireless networks McAfee was able to locate in North Sydney and Sydney CBD during testing, 30 percent were “wide open”.
“They were wide open to the point where people in the bus could read their email at each bus stop, and pick up a [wireless] network without having to buy an account,” he says.
Bell says he has heard people say, “Come over to our place, you can read your email, we’ve got wireless . . . well we haven’t got wireless but the neighbours have”.
Security is still an afterthought in many wireless deployments. Mal Shaw, general manager sales at Express Data, says resellers should be proactive. “If you can go around town and find 30 percent of the wireless networks are nonsecure, then that’s a great services opportunity for resellers,” he says.
Martin Bicknell, general manager at Loop Technology, agrees. “Go in there and show clients how they can detect rogue access points, show them where the weaknesses are.”
Providing hard proof for customers to see is pretty compelling, but many wireless users – even larger companies – have never had a wireless security audit. Bicknell says wireless security is definitely a growing area, particularly in audit and penetration testing.
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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