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Hotspot Hacking And How To Fight It

Use of public wireless hotspots is increasing, giving mobile workers and others access to essential data. The bad news: Security threats against hotspot users also are increasing.

That's the word from Richard Rushing and he should know since he is chief security officer for AirDefense, which specializes in security of mobile workers.

"The usage rate at hotspots has dramatically increased in the last six months or so -- more people are using them," Rushing said. "But we are starting to see more malicious activity."

While some of that activity is occurring at popular wireless access locations such as Starbucks, which has deployed T-Mobile hotspots nationwide, the biggest threats are at what Rushing calls "premier hotspots," which are places like airline clubs.

"If somebody really wants to do something malicious or get information, they'll go where the information is," Rushing said. Put differently, places such as Starbucks have a higher concentration of Web browsers. Airline clubs have a higher concentration of business travelers who use hotspots to access for crucial and often sensitive data.

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