Wireless Audit Finds More Secure Routers

Friday, November 29, 2013 @ 10:11 AM gHale

Armed with laptops and handcrafted antennas made from soup, coffee or potato chip cans, six teams of four Missouri University of Science and Technology students drove around Rolla for an hour this fall in a quest to locate as many wireless networks as possible.

The effort is part of an annual wireless audit to determine the proportion of secure wireless networks in the community.

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This year’s audit found the proportion of secured wireless access points in Rolla has nearly doubled since 2004, from 44 percent to 86 percent. This increase is attributed to more routers with default security enabled and an increased awareness of the importance of secure Internet connections.

Teams earned points for the number of networks they discovered, with harder-to-find networks bringing additional points. The participants do not keep any identifiable information — only the security status and location end up stored for each access point.

In this semester’s competition, teams located more than 10,000 wireless access points in Rolla. After finding 5,232 networks, each member of the winning team received an Arduino microprocessor kit, courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories.

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