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“Ubiquitously” Vulnerable to Crime

Posted March. 30, 2005 23:11,   


Information security provider Access Technology’s vice president, Kim Ki-tae, often alarms his customers while describing the company’s products by logging onto the Internet network installed in another building with his laptop. He even succeeded in logging onto the network of a building in Yeoksam-dong, several kilometers away from his office near the Seolleung subway station.

This is the world of ubiquitous computing, in which everyone has access to the Internet anywhere and at anytime.

The development of the wireless communications technology has made it more convenient for users to access the Internet by removing fixed lines. However, security has become an issue of grave concern.

Experts point out that wireless services provided for companies and households have particularly weak security protection and can readily fall victim to online crimes.

In a wired network system, users have to be at a location with network lines in order to access the Internet, but wireless network allows users to access it anywhere. A user is unaware when others gain access to the wireless AP device that he or she has installed.

The National Police Agency’s Cyber Crime Investigation Department says that “wireless networks make it impossible to track the IP address of the user, which is the key for cyber crime investigations.”

This means that since wireless networking leaves no trail, investigations on cyber crimes such as hacking or blackmailing via the Internet can be difficult.

In fact, there have been cases in the U.S. and Canada in which criminals used wireless networking systems to gain access to someone else’s Internet service so that they would not leave any evidence.

Domestic wireless service users have been rapidly increasing since Korea Telecom (KT) first provided the service in 2002.

Some 500,000 have officially registered for the wireless networking system, including nearly 450,000 people registered for KT’s “Nespot.” An estimated one million users make use of the wireless networking service with private service-sharing equipments.

The problem is that these users pay little attention to security.

As security has become a serious issue with wireless networking, a number of universities and companies with wireless networks have called information security providers to ask about ways to reinforce it.

Some say that the next generation portable Internet accessing gadget (WiBro) and home networking systems that are underway could have similar problems because they also utilize a wireless system.

Suk-Min Hong Sang-Hoon Kim smhong@donga.com sanhkim@donga.com