Police in India sweep for unsecured Wi-Fi networks

Police start to secure Wi-Fi networks in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks.

The Mumbai, India, police have launched their previously announced plan to secure Wi-Fi networks. A team of police is using a battery of devices to systematically identify and eliminate unsecured Wi-Fi networks in the wake of last year's attacks, where terrorists used the Internet and other communications networks.

An 80-member team of police officers has been outfitted with Wi-Fi scanners, software, laptops and Internet-enabled mobile phones. Starting in the Bandra-Kurla Complex, a business hub in the west-central city suburb, the Wi-Fi cops will spread out through nearby residential areas. The goal is to scan for Wi-Fi signals, identify those that are unsecured, then either shut them down or have business and residential users take steps to protect them from unauthorized access.

The story is being reported by Cybermedia India Online Limited (CIOL), an Indian Web site focused on information technology.

The story quotes Sanjay Mohite, Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai Police: "It's an awareness campaign, where the police officials will educate the users about security aspect of Wi-Fi networks. And the officer's team will visit homes, schools, colleges and offices to check unsecured networks." The project, apparently unprecedented in its scale, was originally announced last September.

Terrorists in India used Wi-Fi networks and Internet services in a number of attacks last year, including the Ahmedabad serial blasts last July and the recent Mumbai attacks, according to the report.

Investigations of the blasts found that terrorists hacked a computer belonging to Kenneth Haywood, a U.S. citizen living in a Mumbai suburb, and used it to send e-mail shortly before the Ahmedabad bombs detonated.

Last September, an unsecured Wi-Fi network at Kamran Powers Control Private Limited was used by terrorists for e-mails following the bomb explosions in New Delhi.

Another unsecured Wi-Fi connection, this one at Mumbai's Khalso College, was used by terrorists to send e-mails to a media outlet, and to threaten police officers involved in the investigation, CIOL reports.

Making people aware of their unsecured wireless LAN (WLAN) is a start, but without some kind of technical help — or at least the threat of sanctions — many unskilled users are likely to find it difficult to figure out how to protect their connection.

Unsecured Wi-Fi networks linked with broadband Internet connections appear to be the rule rather than the exception, as repeated studies have found. And while illicit use is not quite as common as the unsecured networks themselves, it's significant. A study last April by Accenture found that 12% of survey respondents, from the U.S. and U.K., said they logged into someone else's unsecured WLAN.

Last August, a group of researchers raised a balloon loaded with scanning gear 150 feet over Las Vegas. In 20 minutes, they identified 700 Wi-Fi signals, 30% of them unsecured, according to one account.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Wi-Fimumbai terrorist attack

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?