Information Warfare: October 25, 2002

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The U.S. Army initially welcomed wireless networks, until they discovered how easy it was for someone with off the shelf equipment to eavesdrop on what was being passed back and forth on those networks. Even though the popular 802.11b ("wi-fi") networks had security features built in (encryption and user authorization codes), it soon became obvious that hackers had no problem defeating the built in 802.11b security. But the army really needed wi-fi, as troops often operated in the field. Even army bases benefited a lot from wireless networks, because many of the buildings on these bases are ancient and installing wired networks is expensive to do, and maintain. So the army looked for commercially available software that would provide better security, and they found it. Tests are being conducted at Texas bases with the more secure wireless networks. Wired networks will always be more secure, but the army managed to move from field telephones (with wire all over the place) to secure radio communications. So the attitude is that what worked for radio will work for computer networks. 

 


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