More than half the wireless networks used at the CeBIT IT trade fair in Hanover, Germany, last week were vulnerable to hackers because they had no encryption protection, research has revealed.
Virus analysts from security firm Kaspersky Lab examined 300 Wi-Fi access points used by companies participating in CeBIT, the world’s largest IT trade event. They found 56% of networks had no encryption, while 44% used the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security protocol.
Kaspersky warned that lack of encryption left companies vulnerable to hackers who see IT trade fairs as an opportunity to target individual users and to break into the networks of the companies that take part through hastily set up, low-security local networks.
The security firm cited an incident at last year’s InfoSecurity event in London, where hackers installed fake access points, luring those who connected into handing over passwords and other confidential data.
In their report on the research, senior virus analyst Alexander Gostev and senior research engineer Roel Schouwenberg, said, “Even if we subtract public network access points (which we detected as being available at CeBIT 2006), the number of unprotected access points is unacceptably high.
“It should again be stressed that these points provide access to the local networks of companies participating in CeBIT – a prime target for hackers.”