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Watching Out for Wireless Pirates

Techstination feature for Friday, August 9, 2002

When you surf the Web wireless... watch out for pirates. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. More and more homes and businesses have been adding wireless networks. They've become cheaper and easier to install... .and you can share files and Internet connections without having to run wires through walls. But if you aren't careful, unwanted intruders can share your files and Internet connection too. AT&T Broadband is asking its customers to turn on the encryption in their wireless networks. At Microsoft, which will be out later this year with its own line of wireless networking kits... .they don't consumers to be scared away from the technology. Windows lead product manager Greg Sullivan says features in Windows XP can also be used to keep the pirates out...

"Well what we've done with Windows XP is... we really focused on two things. We wanted to make it easy so that anybody who had a PC and a wireless card could take advantage of this trend. You can go to an airport, pop open your laptop and get right on. So we wanted to make it easy, but at the same time we wanted to make it really secure. So we've built in encryption and authentication. That means basically, the system knows that you are who you say you are and then we scramble your communication so that nobody else can read it. So we have multiple layers of security built in."

But by default, many security features are turned off... .it's up to the user to enable the requirements for passwords and encryption and the operating system's firewall. Until more people go through those steps... pirates will have easy pickings. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.