By December 2002, 30 percent of U.S. businesses will suffer serious security exposures from deploying wireless local area networks (WLANs) without implementing the proper security—if new research from Gartner Group is an accurate prediction of what’s to come.

More than 50 percent of businesses have plans to buy and install WLAN systems, but at least at least 20 percent of companies already have "rogue" WLANs attached to their corporate networks, installed by users looking for the convenience of wireless and unwilling to wait for the information service organization to take the lead. The primary risk associated with WLANs is that the over-the-air security built into 802.11b WLAN systems is too easy for attackers to break—and most WLAN installations operate without even a minimal level of protection. This leaves open doors for any hacker or criminal with a laptop computer to intercept data, inject data or impersonate legitimate users.

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