Survey Confirms What Retail IT Already Knew: A Secure Wireless Connection Isn't

An extensive on-site detection survey of more than 3,000 retailers in six U.S. cities plus London and Paris established most in retail IT have long believed to be true: wireless security is an oxymoron.

The inspections by wireless security firm AirDefense found mis-configured access points, extensive data leakage as well as poorly named SSIDs and naming fields.

The survey 25 percent of the surveyed sites using either WEP—the weakest encryption option today—or no encryption at all, said Richard Rushing, Air Defense's chief security officer. More frighteningly, Rushing said of the 2,500 wireless devices discovered—including barcode scanners and laptops—he could have accessed some 85 percent of them.