By Erwin Lemuel Oliva 
Sept 10, 2004 

DRIVING through the central business district of Makati all the way to
Malate in Manila, a German whitehat hacker discovered that only 15 of
the 66 wireless access points or wireless local area networks located
in these two areas were "encrypted."

"The encyrption levels of these access points were not even secure,"  
said the German whitehat hacker known as Van Hauser.

Van Hauser was in Manila as one of the experts invited to the third
annual Philippine Information Technology Security Conference.

Showing the lack of security in the wireless local area networks
(WLAN) of corporate firms in the Philippines, Van Hauser disclosed
that the "wardriving" he conducted from Makati to Malate easily
identified WLANs that were open to anyone armed with a laptop and
software who wanted to detect wireless-fidelity (Wi-Fi) hotspots.

Wardriving is the process of scanning for wireless access points while
driving by certain areas known to have such WLANs, said Van Hauser.

Van Hauser said malicious hackers can use open WLANs to launch
attacks. But in cases where open WLANs are connected to other
networks, hackers would likely access these networks and do more

"If it is connected to other networks, then it becomes more
interesting for hackers," said Van Hauser.

In his wardriving exercise, Van Hauser was able to detect the "open"  
WLANs of prominent firms located in Makati. He, however, declined to
name these companies.

"Wardriving is not hacking. I was just scanning for access points in a
certain area," he stressed.

Wardriving, however, is now being used by malicious hackers to locate
public access points to launch attacks.

Van Hauser, 29, has been doing ethical hacking for various
high-profile companies in Germany. He also works part-time for Suse

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