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Watch your wireless

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by jetset, Dec 5, 2006.

    Dec 5, 2006
  1. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service

    Weird 'brands', but all dangerous

    The Las Vegas Business Press warned wireless users this week on the dangers represented by the new breed of hacker attracted to this sector, and the code cracking instruments of fraud that they use.

    Weird 'brands' like AirSnort, Aircrack, CoWPAtty and THC-LEAPcracker are apparently available online complete with tutorials, claims the writer of the article, describing these criminal products as "the implements of 21st century burglary."

    Experts in the field told LVBP it no longer takes much interest in computers, or much skill, to penetrate all manner of networks, from the typical user's home connection to those used by small businesses and local governments. Whole communities exist online for the purpose of sharing criminal tips and techniques for breaking into wireless networks.

    Computer manufacturers counter with a wide variety of security products. However, as one expert pointed out at the Global Gaming Expo last month, there is disagreement even among IT professionals over whether any of the standard security protocols go far enough.

    "It's not like the incompatibilities are running rampant. But there are incompatibilities that are rather serious," said Joe Tomasone, a senior network-security engineer with Florida-based Fortress Technologies. Fortress builds military-grade secured networks for the U.S. Department of Defence.

    Tomasone says many hackers access a wireless user's computer by sitting out in the parking lot of a business or the street near a home. Employing tools available online, it usually takes as little as 10 minutes to start collecting sensitive data or to start downloading illicit material using an innocent person's IP address. Some hackers even build their own antennas, hoping to tap into larger streams of wireless networks, some as far as 100 miles away.

    With wireless gambling coming into play on the premises of major land casino groups in Nevada, issues surrounding network security could become much more acute. "Wireless is a very promiscuous technology. It's designed to talk to anything," Tomasone said. "Convenience and security usually have an inverse relationship."

    Casino operators and gaming regulators, he explained, will need to pay close attention to security issues surrounding wireless gaming devices. If securing such products isn't constantly monitored, he said, casinos may see network penetrations that wreak havoc on their system: theft of customers' personal information, compromised casino-security procedures, manipulation of the gaming devices themselves ... all done remotely and, most likely, without a trace.

    "Mobile devices are transient and hard to track. That's why networks are easily breached," Tomasone said.

    Tomasone says the worst thing consumers can do is depend on their local computer-store clerk for advice on securing their wireless networks. He suggests homeowners secure them by installing a WPA protocol, creating a complicated password and unplugging the access point when the computer isn't in use. This will also work for small businesses. Above that, he said, the security should match the threat level a hacker could pose.

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