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Friday, January 28, 2011

Wireless Networking

I recently saw a movie where a safecracker worked for a company that in fact, manufactured safes. Their reasoning was simple, if this safecracker could bypass the security of their safes, or any other safe for that matter, then that flaw must be remedied. In Beautiful Security, the author discusses how part of his job is to do just that, find flaws with wireless systems. (Oram & Viega, 2009) Never thinking of this as a solution to avoid hackers, it makes a lot of sense to have someone that can find the flaws in wireless security systems.

After all, it is widely known what is at stake by having a wireless network attacked. Companies in all of the modern business era have sought out personal data so that they could more readily market to them. What is at stake here is much greater as the “pirate” is seeking the information for personal financial gain.

One major issue that needs to be addressed is the security issues that exist in Third World countries where they do not have the technology or resources to crack down on this pirate access. It was estimated that in 2000, over $2 billion was lost due to pirated software. (Bhasin, 2002) Where the tide is now shifting to mostly Internet downloaded software, the case of increased security and awareness is much greater. Bhasin talks about software; very few were concerned because, after all, did it matter to you or me if Microsoft, Oracle or Sun lost a few dollars? Now with the advent of the new age of Internet users, people have become more familiar and comfortable with purchasing items online. This means placing orders with a credit card. Sure, any merchant that is worth anything will have the check out cart secured and the data encrypted when sent, but what can be encrypted can be unencrypted.

I remember reading about how having open source software to prevent a lot of software privacy, this may be true, however there are still dangers with this as well in regard to wireless connections. Android, who is owned by Google, is an operating system that is based largely on a Java platform. Java in itself is largely open sourced; therefore does it mean that apps can be written and utilized to capture important data from Smartphone’s? In addition, Google owns Android; does this mean that Google can capture the data transmitted on Smartphone’s? Microsoft, after an unsuccessful bid to purchase Yahoo! created a 10 year agreement to allow Microsoft to use its vast presence to advertise in exchange for a 12% profit of the revenue associated with its advertising efforts. (Oreskovic, 2011) EBay owns PayPal; the list is staggering of the sharing of the information among companies and their holdings.

Every time a hacker comes up with a new virus or worm, Norton, McAfee, et al come up with a cure for it, only to turn around and find out another malicious individual creating chaos. With the advent and extreme popularity among Smartphone owners (many of which are NOT tech savvy), how many cures are there going to be in the future for the prevention of hacking a wireless communication device?

The twists on the legal issues surrounding wireless and the Internet are mind boggling. When a user signs on to Facebook, they are doing so with their private logon and password. Recently, a Federal judge ordered it legal to subpoena Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networks information that may be relevant in a criminal proceeding. (Grow, 2011) Many cases have been won on this decision. How many people access their favorite social network site via their Smartphone? Does that in fact now become part of the same legal decision? Cell phones for years have, if believed to have been involved in a crime, are admissible as evidence. What happens if a hacker accesses a person’s status page and creates a situation whereas they could potentially incriminate innocent people?

Wireless networking is inevitable and is here to stay. As technology develops, it is obvious that any and all flaws be realized in their research and development and creates a fix for them prior to their release. Maybe it even makes sense for Google and PayPal and Microsoft to hire some of the convicted pirate criminals to find if they can in fact, hack their network.


Bhasin, S. (2002). Software Piracy- A challenge to E-world. SANS Institute InfoSec Reading Room.

Grow, B. (2011). In U.S. courts, Facebook posts become less private. Reuters.

Oram, A., & Viega, J. (Eds.). (2009). Beautiful security: O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Oreskovic, A. (2011). Yahoo warns of weak Q1, more cost cuts planned. Reuters,