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IT Confidential: Geek Love: A Laptop, A Van, A Honey PotIT Confidential: Geek Love: A Laptop, A Van, A Honey Pot

'We are architecting the communications network of the future.'

John Soat

September 3, 2004

3 Min Read

Thank heaven the conventions are finally over. Now we can get back to some regularly scheduled programming, like Survivor: The Youngest Generation ("All right, you babies, it's sink-or-swim time!"). Several days before the Republican National Convention, technicians from Newbury Networks, a vendor of wireless security devices, took a "war drive" in the area around Madison Square Garden, probing for security vulnerabilities, network-access points, and wireless devices trying to access its "honey pot" (gotta love the lingo) server. According to Newbury, 7,039 unique wireless devices were detected--63% were access points and 37% were network cards. A wireless card tried to access Newbury's honey pot every 90 seconds, "potentially resulting in a direct connection to the resources on that individual's laptop or PC." Newbury says it did the same thing during the Democratic convention in Boston. What I want to know is, where were the police during all this? You've got some kind of stealth vehicle, a black van probably (I'm exaggerating for dramatic effect), circling Madison Square Garden and Boston's FleetCenter bristling with network-probing devices and nobody finds this suspicious? Side note: John Halamka, CIO of Harvard Medical School, once told me MIT students do that kind of thing for fun, circling Harvard Square with homemade devices rigged from laptops and Pringles cans, searching for network vulnerabilities, which doesn't make the CIO's job any easier.

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