Wireless Security on the Road Without a VPN

By | June 21, 2006

A few days ago I was visiting Lyon, a rather large, lively city in the south of France. Among its many enjoyable traits, Lyon features a long tradition of hospitality and cuisine, making it a premier destination for conscious travelers. It so happened that I had been invited to a rather nice hotel on business — the kind of hotel where an army of impeccably groomed staff attends to you and fresh flowers seem to bloom everywhere you turn.

Unfortunately for me, this hotel is set in a historical building and, hence, cannot really afford to drill holes in every room and run CAT6 cable. In other words, it is WiFi or nothing, something proudly mentioned on an avant-garde orange card sitting on the desk next to the services directory.

WiFi is a wonderful technology in many regards, providing high-speed, cost-efficient, and still relatively reliable networking without the need for expansive or expensive remodeling works. Unfortunately, because of its very nature and its need to broadcast everything at large (you cannot “draw a line” between your computer and the access point like you would pull a cable in the air), WiFi is also a highly insecure means of connecting to a network. That is, of course, unless you apply proper encryption and authentication to your network, which public access points almost never do, out of a mix of cost-consciousness, technical uncertainties, and good old lack of care.Read Full Story

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