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Backdoor LAN

Coming in through the back door? It's easy with the wireless network at the CTIA show

October 17, 2002

1 Min Read
Backdoor LAN

LAS VEGAS -- Veterans of past Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) shows tell us one major security problem they faced was having their analog phones cloned.

Happened all the time apparently...

These days we face a different threat, namely that the free wireless LAN network we're using to get online -- provided by T-Mobile U.S. in this instance -- is offering potential hackers a backdoor to get at data on your laptop.

It works like this. T-Mobile has a proxy set up so that the user is directed to their Website and clicks to login before they get access to Internet connectivity. However, access to the wireless access point is not password protected, so the network itself is open. Basically, any shared areas on your hard drive are visible to other people on the network.

Unstrung Website engineer Bill Burns noted the problem when using the service at his local Starbucks. However, we should stress that this is pretty common with public wireless LAN access systems, certainly not something that is exclusive to T-Mobile's HotSpot service.

The T-Mobile technical guys we spoke to suggested running a personal firewall and a VPN when using a public service. We reckon you could also disable the sharing facility on your computer.

Whatever you do, be careful out there. After all, you never know who's coming in through your backdoor.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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