Security experts are raising concerns over connectivity to municipal and free public Wi-Fi networks. Brian Hernacki, an architect at security software developer Symantec’s research labs, believes the lack of security in muni Wi-Fi networks makes them susceptible to attacks. Hackers could tap such infrastructure to gain access to data that companies have used millions of dollars on to secure. Glenn Flinchbaugh, vice president of marketing for Devicescape, a vendor of embedded software for wireless devices, said: “When you have free unencrypted public Wi-Fi, most people don’t realize that checking their web-based email is almost completely in the open… There’s a lot of information even there that can be a risk when some of those users come back to their offices.” Craig Settles, who wrote the book entitled Fighting the Good Fight for Municipal Wireless, believes educating users on security would be the key to addressing this issue. But such approach, according to Hernacki, is not that simple. Hernacki remarked: “VPN, WPA [Wi-Fi Protected Access, a new security specification] configurations on the laptops, etc.; how do you do that in a large city like New York or San Francisco? How do you teach to that many users the many access points to connect to?”
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