Half of Mumbai’s home wireless internet networks unsecure


Mumbai : Mumbai Police had a shock in store on the inaugural day of its Cyber Safety Week here Monday with a survey suggesting that nearly half of the home wireless internet networks in the city were vulnerable to hacking by terror groups.

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The launch of the safety week marked the release of the survey, carried out by KPMG, in the evening on unsecured wireless networks in the city.

The survey covering 28,000 wireless networks revealed that out of the total, nearly 9,500 networks (34 percent) had little or no protection that could be easily compromised with 4,700 having no protection at all.

Another 5,000 networks had default network name settings which were vulnerable to hacking, the KPMG survey revealed.

Sixty percent of all business wireless networks (2,900) had either or no protection, with 1,600 totally unprotected.

Besides, another 4,900 (48 percent) of all home wireless networks had little or no protection and 1,700 were completely unprotected, said the survey, aimed at identifying the security risks in a wireless network environment in Mumbai.

Though a large number of wireless networks in Mumbai are protected, a significant number of them exist with little or no protection at all, said KPMG executive director Nitin Khanapurkar.

The number of Wireless Networks in Mumbai has shown exponential growth. While there has been growing awareness of wireless security, the number of vulnerable wireless networks that can be potentially misused, are significant in number, he added.

“It was surprising to find that a large number of business wireless networks were unsecured. We should try to secure every wireless network as a chain is as strong as its weakest link,” said Khanapurkar.

Noted IT security expert Vijay Mukhi pointed out that wireless security is important from a national security perspective.

“We cannot allow our networks to be abused by anti-social and anti-national forces. We need to support Mumbai Police on this initiative as it is a matter of national importance,” Mukhi urged.

Some of the major risks of vulnerable wireless networks include unauthorized access to objectionable or banned sites, access to post objectionable material on websites, access to send threatening e-mails and extract bank account details causing monetary losses.

It may be recalled that during one of the terror attacks in Gujarat two years ago, an unsecured wireless network belonging to US national Kenneth Haywood, living in Navi Mumbai, had been hacked by Indian Mujahideen terrorists to send terror messages.