The latest annual Wireless Security Survey
has revealed that London is still the worlds wireless network (Wi-Fi
) capital with a total of 12,276 access points detected, exceeding the number found in New York City by more than 3,000.
However the French capital of Paris broke all the records with a 543% year-over-year increase in the number of wireless access points, which compares with London's 72% (down from 160% last year) and New York City's 45% (down from 49%).
The survey also examined how many of the wireless access points detected were secured with some form of encryption (hotspots excluded). In New York City, 97% of corporate access points had encryption in place (76% last year). In Paris, 94% of corporate access points were encrypted - although in London, 20% of all business access points continue to be completely unprotected.
However, with WEP - Wired Equivalent Privacy, the original wireless encryption standard - now discredited, the 2008 survey paid close attention to the types of encryption in-play, and the relative adoption of more advanced forms of wireless encryption, including Wi-Fi
Protected Access (WPA) or WPA2.
Overall, the adoption of non-WEP advanced encryption is encouraging. Paris once again led the way, with 72% of access points (excluding public hotspots) found to be using advanced security; however the numbers in New York City and London were more modest at 49% and 48% respectively, with a majority of wireless access points relying either on WEP or using no encryption at all:
"Such is the speed at which WEP can be routinely cracked that it barely constitutes paper-thin protection in the face of today's sophisticated hackers. We would strongly urge wireless network administrators to discount WEP as a viable security mechanism and upgrade to WPA - or stronger - without delay," continues Mr. Curry.
"It is also critical that business access points are protected by encryption - even if the corporate network itself can only be accessed via an encrypted VPN. Not using WPA1 or WPA2 can leave the organizations involved vulnerable to whole classes of attacks against both access points and wireless client computers."
In London, the volume of personal 'home' wireless access points was greater even than the number of corporate ones: a total of 6,730, or 55% of all access points detected, were identified as belonging to home-users. In New York City, 18% of access points were in-home and in Paris the figure was 21%.
Most impressively, home network users appear to be more security-savvy than their corporate counterparts. In Paris, 98% of in-home networks are encrypted, with New Yorkers just behind at 97%, followed by 90% of Londoners who have deployed encryption at home (48% are using advanced encryption).