McAfee Launches Online Wi-Fi Security Service

The free service, which detects common wireless security problems and helps users solve them, is providing research for a standalone product McAfee will release later this year.

February 11, 2005

2 Min Read
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Security vendor McAfee, Inc. this week launched an on-line Wi-Fi security scanning service and said that it is developing a standalone WLAN security product that will be released later this year.

The company's free online WiFiScan product was launched this week on the company's Web site. It downloads an ActiveX control that scans your wireless network and warns about potential security breaches and describes how to fix them. It can detect, for instance, the presence of an Evil Twin threat, as well as what networks and network-enabled devices are near-by.

"It finds all the usual suspects and provide potential corrections," Drew Carter, McAfee's product manager for strategic opportunities, said in an interview Thursday. "But it's just the phase one of a two-phase project."

By that, Carter said that McAfee is using the current free online service to gather information about the nature of the wireless security issues and will use that information as it develops its standalone product. He said that product, currently called McAfee Wi-Fi Security, should ship in the third quarter of this year.

Carter stressed that all visits to the WiFiScan site are completely anonymous but that the process collects information ranging from which routers and network interface cards are in use to how often specific types of security threats occur. That information will help the company fine-tune the Wi-Fi Security product.The standalone product will proactively provide security. For instance, if it detects there is lax security, it could directly change settings in either a router or on a desktop or laptop computer.

"We'll be able to communicate with, maybe the top 50 routers and set up the type of security that makes sense," Carter said. "We'll probably allow low, medium or high security settings, depending on the user." He said it will work both for home users and for use at public hotspots.

"The goal is, if you're a business person utilizing a hotspot, you can safely determine if the network is safe," Carter said. "I'd love to partner with specific hotspot vendors on this, but I haven't approached them yet."

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