17 per cent of Mumbai WiFi connections unsecured: Survey

Of the two lakh Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) networks in the metropolis, 17 per cent were found to be unprotected in a survey carried out by NASSCOM-KPMG and Mumbai police recently, cyber expert Vijay Mukhi said.

Mukhi, who was also part of the survey, said there was an urgent need for creating awareness about how to keep such networks protected after a series of incidents of terror outfits using WiFi connections of unsuspecting individuals to send emails.

"A terror technician needs only one WiFi to send his email. About 17 per cent of the WiFi networks available in the city cyber space is vulnerable and this is huge," he said. The e-mail purportedly sent by terror outfit Indian Mujahideen claiming responsibility for the Varanasi blast has once again brought into focus the pressing need for protection of WiFi connections by the users, he said.

"Those using high-end computer equipment should be very careful to ensure that there is no misuse of technology," Mumbai Police Chief Sanjeev Dayal said. A disc jockey Akhil Talreja's unsecured WiFi connection in sector 17 at Vashi in Navi Mumbai was hacked into to send the terror email to media houses after the Varanasi blast.

The Indian Mujahideen had sent similar emails to the media in the past claiming responsibility for attacks in different parts of the country. An email sent by the banned outfit to media houses after the firing outside Delhi's Jama Masjid this September had been traced to suburban Borivali. It was sent using a Tata mobile phone procured using fake documents. Police suspect the email was sent through a proxy server located in a foreign country to hoodwink security agencies.

After the September 13, 2008 blasts in Delhi, an IM email claiming responsibily for the explosions was sent and the IP address was traced to Chembur, an east Mumbai suburb. The unsecured WiFi of a firm "Kamran Power Control Pvt Ltd" had been used.

Five blasts had rocked crowded markets and commercial complexes in Delhi in a span of 31 minutes claiming at least 30 lives. In August 2008, an email was sent to various media organisations by IM that boasted about its involvement in several blasts in the country. The mail had ridiculed Intelligence Bureau as "Ignorance Bureau" and forensic experts as "foren-sick". The IP address of this email was traced to unsecured WiFi network of Khalsa college in Matunga.

In July, 2008, the IM had used an unprotected WiFi network at the Navi Mumbai residence of American national Kenneth Haywood to send a similar email to news organisations about the Ahmedabad explosions.

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