Wireless networks as secure as wired, study says

Wireless security may not be as dire as previously thought, according to a new 3Com study.

A survey commissioned by networking vendor 3Com has found that security issues regarding the deployment of wireless networks may not be as widespread as previously thought.

Based on input from 2500 companies across the Asia-Pacific region, the report claims that organisations that have made the move to wireless have encountered few or no significant security issues.

"This survey debunks the commonly held belief that wireless networks are less secure than wired networks," said Peter Chai, vice-president and general manager Asia-Pacific, 3Com.

More than 40% of respondents had deployed wireless networks in their organisation and claimed security was their biggest concern.

However, the study also found that the threats faced by wireless networks did not vary greatly from those faced by wired networks.

"What's even more interesting is that some of these organisations did not face any security threats and have actually found that security of their networks has either improved or remained unchanged when they moved to wireless."

The study also attempted to determine the prevalence of wireless networks in different regions and sectors.

The countries with the most number of companies having deployed company-wide wireless networks were Singapore (21%) and Australia (20%).

Educational institutions exhibited greater implementation than any other sector, with 86% having full or partial wireless networks deployed. The government sector followed, with an implementation rate of 62%. The financial sector was the least advanced, with almost 20% of respondents reporting they had no immediate plans to implement wireless networks.

"The financial services industry has always been divided on the value of wireless networking. This is largely due to their reluctance to expose sensitive financial information over the air," Chai said.

Countries included in the survey were Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

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