Wi-Fi Networks Get Short Shrift On Security Front Opening CUs, Banks To Fraud

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While most financial institutions are extremely effective at protecting their wired communication networks, few give wireless network access the same level of security and attention, according to a new study.

The new TowerGroup report "Wi-Fi Security: The Threats are Ruthless, the Solutions are Available, Are YOU Protected?" suggests "as increasing occurrences of data theft hit the financial services industry, Wi-Fi, if not properly managed, will emerge as a channel of significant threat to reputation and customer trust."

"The first and perhaps the most onerous threat from Wi-Fi for financial institutions is rooted in faulty corporate IT strategy," said Bob Egan, research director of the TowerGroup Emerging Technologies practice and co-author of the research. "Institutions that choose not to support Wi-Fi officially are not immune to security threats via Wi-Fi technology. Though they may choose not to purchase and support devices like laptops with embedded Wi-Fi capability, employees may still own and use such devices."

"Remediation against Wi-Fi security risks starts with an acknowledgement that the risks exist," said Josh Kessler, analyst in the Emerging Technologies practice at TowerGroup and co-author of the research. "A forward-looking IT strategy combined with the right systems will enable an institution to benefit from Wi-Fi's advantages of flexible access and ubiquitous connectivity-while striking a balance between the cost of ownership requirements of an institution and its security responsibilities."

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