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Basel II Capital Accord Endangered by Wireless Technology

Published
  • May 03 2004, 1:00am EDT

Wireless technology will undermine the Basel II Capital Accord, the regulatory framework for all internationally active banks to adopt similar risk-management practices for tracking and reporting exposure to risk. This warning was given by Karl Feilder, CEO of wireless control specialist, Red-M.

Feilder is offering his expertise to the Bank of International Settlements, developer of Basel II, to help create guidelines for banks to protect their networks against security breaches. "Most networks can be easily accessed using nothing more than a $50 Internet software package," he said.

The 2004 survey of information security breaches by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the DTI shows that a third of U.K. businesses have wireless networks today. "The advent of wireless technology put every network at risk. It's a promiscuous technology. Most PCs and PDAs today are wireless and when they're connected to your network your company is vulnerable."

Wireless technology calls for a radical rethink on how we secure our networks. External access to wired networks is restricted by physical boundaries and controlled by firewalls around a single entry point. Wireless is the opposite, offering infinite entry points and making 24x7 vigilance a due diligence requirement. Feilder's three-step approach to protecting networks in today's wireless world is:

  1. Detect all the wireless activity going on around the network
  2. Secure corporate data against hostile activity, theft and manipulation;
  3. Control the network with wireless-appropriate policies, such as preventing staff connecting their own equipment, and constantly monitor for effectiveness.

He believes the financial sector hasn't yet fully understood the risks introduced by wireless technology and will fail to comply with Basel II. "People simply don't understand how serious the problem is. Our banks are already experiencing serious security breaches but not admitting it because they don't know how these are happening or how to prevent them. The PricewaterhouseCoopers/DTI survey showed that business is not aware of the controls available but effective products and strategies do exist."
Feilder said government needed to get involved and everyone needed to work together to solve the problem. "It affects all businesses. I'm making myself available to help educate people on the risks associated with the technology. My company has been studying this problem for over three years and if the world doesn't solve it, large scale data loss and manipulation will occur."

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