01 Dec

Facebook authentication - Like?

By WiFiNovation

As Cisco teams up with Facebook to offer authentication for public Wi-Fi, is this option safe for businesses?

The ubiquity of public Wi-Fi is a blessing and a curse. It can be very convenient as a quick, easy and usually cheap way of getting online when you are away from home, the office or abroad, and it is perfect for firing up the laptop or tablet and getting a bit of work done while you sip a coffee.

On the flip side, there is no way of knowing how safe a public Wi-Fi network really is. It is possible the important work email you have just sent over a latte is being read by someone other than its intended recipient.

Unsecured Wi-Fi networks are a godsend for cyber criminals; any information sent across them – whether it’s log-in details for your company email or your favourite website or payment information – can be intercepted.

Data loss

That is how Google ended up grabbing private data from unsuspecting people across the world. Its Google Street View cars collected unsecured and unencrypted data as they drove around the world. The collected data included IP addresses, usernames, passwords, emails (metadata as well as content) and internet usage history. Google has so far paid out millions in fines across the worldas a result of its actions.

A poorly secured Wi-Fi network was also behind one of the biggest cyber thefts of all time. In 2007, US retailer TJ Maxx left a Wi-Fi network inadequately secured and hackers used nothing more than an antenna and a laptop to intercept traffic as it moved across. Using stolen information, they gained access to a central server and made off with the details of 500,000 people and 45 million credit and debit cards.

The truth is it is difficult to know how secure a public Wi-Fi network really is. But sometimes you have to connect to one, maybe to send an important email, attend a meeting online or download a must-have document.

Ease of use

Often when you do find somewhere offering free Wi-Fi, the authentication process can be laborious; a long, complicated password containing upper and lower case letters as well as numbers; a one-time username and password combination that gives you 45 minutes access before it cuts off; or a password sent as a text message to your phone.

That is where an initiative from Facebook and Cisco could …read more    

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