Westchester (NYC Suburb) and 802.11 Safety

[ excerpts ]

April 20, 2006

COUNTY TO REQUIRE BUSINESSES TO SECURE WIRELESS NETWORKS Law signed by Spano is first of its kind in the U.S.

A groundbreaking proposal requiring local businesses to secure their wireless networks to protect their customers against identity theft and other computer fraud has just become law.

County Executive Andy Spano signed a bill into law today that mandates commercial businesses that offer public Internet access and/or maintain personal information on a wireless network to take "minimum security measures." [1]

In addition, businesses that offer public Internet access must also "conspicuously post a sign" advising customers to "install a firewall or other computer security measure when accessing the Internet."

In a related effort, but taking another tack in combating computer crime, the Department of Public Safety recently created the state's first accredited Digital Crime and Investigation Unit. Two investigators are now dedicated to searching the Internet for "techy criminals" involved in identity theft, fraud (phishing), pedophilia and cyberbullying. The unit will also recover digital evidence that can be used by prosecutors in seeking convictions.

When the law was being proposed last fall, a team from the Department of Information Technology showed how easy it was to find vulnerable networks by taking a drive through downtown White Plains. Using a laptop computer equipped with easily available software, they came across 248 wireless hot spots in less than a half an hour. Out of those, 120, or almost half, lacked any visible security at all...


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Danny Burstein
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