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Security Experts Go ‘Warbiking’ To Fight Cyber Crime

by Kate Foster

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Mandy Haeburn, Director of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre

Businesses in Scotland are to undergo a unique experiment to test how safe they are from strikes from cyber criminals – from a man on a bike.

Security expert James Lyne will be ‘warbiking’ around Edinburgh to find businesses with weak wifi passwords that could make them vulnerable to hackers.

Lyne, the Director of Technology Strategy for IT security giants Sophos, is spearheading the campaign backed by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, which safeguards the economic wellbeing of Scottish businesses.

Warbiking involves using a specially modified bike equipped with dynamos and solar panels to power a computer designed to scan for wireless networks.

The move is part of a campaign by the SBRC and Sophos prompted by concerns that thousands of Scottish businesses have inadequate online security that could be putting their customers and their own reputations at risk.

Common problems they expect to find include businesses using default network names, which make hacking easier; outdated Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security that can be hacked in minutes; and worst of all, completely unsecured systems that are open to access by anyone.

Protecting Scottish Business

The exercise, which will take place on Thursday 15th August across roads in Edinburgh city centre, is designed to seek out vulnerable wifi networks and demonstrate what businesses should be doing to minimise their risk.

Mandy Haeburn-Little, Director of the SBRC, said: “One in three people in the UK was a victim of e-Crime in 2012 and one of the most common risks faced by businesses is poor IT security which potentially allows criminals to raid servers, steal identities and infiltrate bank accounts.

“Whether you are a small café, B&B, guest house, gym or a larger corporate operating an insecure wifi network, you leave yourself open to all kinds of criminality.

“It’s easy to make your wifi network more secure by ensuring that it’s password protected, that you are using a firewall and that you change any default settings.”

“Businesses are being encouraged to adopt the 80:20 rule – putting in a basic 20% improvement in anti-virus software and firewalls, could reduce the risk of online crime by 80%.”

James Lyne added, “If you are a small business or a consumer and your network is wide open, anyone can connect to your network. Once they have their foot in the digital door they can not only piggyback your network but also potentially launch attacks on your personal data. But by following a few simple rules and using the latest wi-fi security systems, you can significantly reduce the risks.”

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