Thursday, March 6, 2008

BostonNOW: Warnings For Using WiFi on the MBTA Commuter Rail

In an article posted Tuesday to BostonNOW, MBTA commuter rail riders who are taking advantage of the T's new WiFi program are warned about taking the proper security precautions.

These precautions are similar to using WiFi in any public place - Starbucks, Panera Bread, your local neighborhood establishment, your neighbors, etc. etc.
But users should beware, security advocates say. When you log onto any open "WiFi" network, you check your privacy at the door.

A hacker using "sniffer" software can read your personal emails and instant messages. Sophisticated hackers can set up a so-called "honey pot" - a fake wireless network. Once you unwittingly log on, there are few limits to what a hacker can do.

"They can do a lot of things to trick you into going to fake welcome pages where you think you're going to the real thing," said Northeastern University student Keith Bertolino, whose company Ciphertech Solutions counts the U.S. Department of Defense among its clients.

More than 2,000 commuter rail riders are accessing the WiFi everday, according to the T. The MBTA shared the following WiFi stats with BostonNOW (which makes me wonder - where are the MBTA/MBCR commuter rail on-time performance stats for February 2008?):

MBTA Commuter Rail WiFi unique daily users
Feb 1: 1,794
Feb 7: 1,985
Feb 14: 1,782
Feb 21: 2,394

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