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Bad Reception

Employees' PDAs and portables pluck information off your wireless network all the time--now it's the hackers' turn.

This story appears in the February 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Who's reading your e-mail? Hackers? Competitors? If you're among the companies that have set up an 802.11b-or Wi-Fi-Wireless LAN (WLAN), you may have more people downloading files from your network than you have on your payroll. Some may even be planning to sabotage you.

Crackers (expert hackers) have begun "war driving"-that is, cruising neighborhoods using sniffer programs on Wi-Fi-equipped portables to find WLAN nodes. They're also developing software to exploit 802.11b's weak 40-bit Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption and other vulnerabilities.

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