A longitudinal study of Wi-Fi access point security in the Perth central business district
secau Security Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Security Science / Security Research Centre (secAU)
This study collected data in 2008 and 2011 in relation to the level of apparent security of wireless network access points in the Perth CBD. It also compared this data to a comparable study conducted in 2004. The aim was to determine whether businesses were using an appropriate level of encryption to protect their wireless networks. A pre-determined route was followed which traced the Perth CBD and the open source wireless network auditing tool Kismet was used to survey the wireless networks. In 2008, approximately 1300 access points were discovered in the Perth CBD, this number climbing to approximately 3400 in 2011. Of the 1400 discovered in 2008, approximately 30% were open, with 15% using WEP security, with these values falling to 8 and 4% respectively in 2011. In conclusion, the number of APs using WEP appears to have fallen in total and as a percentage of the total number of networks. The number of APs still using WEP and WPA TKIP is concerning, as the technology underlying these security methods is flawed and open to compromise. No significant finding can be drawn in relation to the open access points, due to not knowing whether a VPN or other upstream authentication mechanism was employed.