Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi, Kevin Jackson, Liz McMillan, John Walsh

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Secure Authentication for Public Wi-Fi | @CloudExpo #IoT #BigData

Recent studies have found that 37 percent of office workers are regularly working remotely two or more days a week

Secure Authentication Is the Only Solution to Vulnerable Public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi has become a necessity of the digital age, and like everything, everyone loves it even more when it is free. Whether it's used to access a presentation at a new client meeting, to host a video conference call, or edit and email important documents, public Wi-Fi means nearly anywhere can become an office. Couple this with the fact that there are as many mobile devices on the planet as there are people, and businesses now have the most flexible and tech-saturated workforce in history.

Recent studies have found that 37 percent of office workers are regularly working remotely two or more days a week.[1] Hotels, cafés, restaurants, trains and airlines allow visitors to remain online. Flexible working has put demands on employees to be connected to corporate systems for as long as possible - even 24/7. Yet these inviting and convenient free hotspots are plagued with vulnerabilities, leaving huge security implications for both users and businesses.

The belief that employees aren't capable of being trusted to remain secure at work is outdated and the days of scribbling passwords on Post-it notes are long gone. Yet there is still a need to educate when it comes to public Wi-Fi and it remains one of many cyber threats to corporate systems and information. Most employees are now well aware of the dangers of bad password management and endpoint security, even if it is on a subconscious level, as they are used to undertaking their banking, shopping and multiple daily social interactions online. Problems arise when they simply don't know how to remain secure when working and accessing company systems remotely or if they are not provided with an appropriate security method. By logging in to free Wi-Fi networks - often mindlessly - employees are making information susceptible to yet another form of attack.

Public Wi-Fi networks, by their very nature, are a hotbed for silent cyber attacks, as a business's sophisticated security systems won't have any affect on them to protect users. Some may even say that breaching them is child's play, following reports of a seven-year-old successfully attacking one in less than 11 minutes.[2] Hotspots are more often than not left unencrypted, so information is openly presented, and without warning can be collected by hackers. By simply entering an email address - and some hotspots don't even ask for any user information to log on - millions of people can access the same networks. This giveaway of such a personal piece of information to a network that is so easy to access is terrifying and users need to consider where their data is being collected before handing it over.

Free hotspots are easy to set up, and even easier to replicate. One popular method of stealing information is to clone a network. For example, a popular high-street coffee shop will offer customers free Wi-Fi but without needing a password to access it. A hacker will take advantage of this by using the same network name to clone it, thus leaving the customer unaware of which one is genuine. This approach carries two benefits for the hacker as they have control of the clone network, with full access to information being shared on it, and avoid the criminal implications of breaching an existing network.

Cellular networks or VPNs are recommended as safer methods for accessing business applications and documents, but they also still carry major security risks that could lead to valuable information being stolen. The solution is a security system built on a zero knowledge foundation - such as tokenless two-factor authentication (2FA).

The immergence of 2FA has allowed businesses to empower their staff when it comes to corporate security, and acts as an extra layer of protection. It requires not only a username and password, but also something that only the user has on them (i.e. a physical token) to generate a one-time passcode (OTP). With digital crime and internet fraud an increasing concern, such methods of authentication have become increasingly prevalent.

However, whilst physical 2FA tokens can be easy to lose and expensive for companies to distribute and maintain, tokenless 2FA solutions just need an existing device, such as a phone or tablet, to provide employees with passcodes via e-mail, SMS or an app. In other words, workers don't need to worry about carrying around an additional physical token; they can just make use of the devices they already have.

Yet this is not just a convenience issue; this is a security one too. 2FA doesn't necessarily guarantee bullet-proof security as any manufacturer that creates cryptographic keys, also known as a seed records, must trust that their copy of the keys can't be accessed by hackers. This is why a zero knowledge foundation is important, as it makes it impossible for malware on a smartphone to capture the seed records because they are split into two parts: one created on the client server and one generated using characteristics of the mobile device.

The vulnerability of public Wi-Fi means businesses need to give their users a single method of authentication to remove security fears when needing to log in to a host of corporate systems and web-based business applications. Asking employees to login with a variety of passwords, codes and tokens has swiftly become archaic as technology has allowed businesses to adopt much more streamlined and secure solutions.

Albert Einstein once said: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Whilst connected to a welcoming but insecure public hotspot, even the smallest leak of an email address could lead to cybercriminals learning about a user's entire digital footprint. From a user perspective, it is easy to become complacent and believe a single password is strong enough to protect corporate systems and data from all cyber threats. The truth is that there is a much bigger picture to consider, and a secure solution - such as 2FA - needs to be adopted to ensure hundreds of other cyber threats, as well as vulnerable Wi-Fi, are nullified.

With the steep growth of remote working and online communication becoming a necessity, using public Wi-Fi is sometimes a temptation employees can't ignore. Public hotspots are just one of many gateways that allow hackers to attack businesses, but by using 2FA employees are equipped with a consistent authentication method to remain protected against cybercrime, so that sensitive corporate information is no longer put at risk.


1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2015/10/01/survey-concludes-many-remote-employees-not-working-fully-efficiently/

2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2919762/Hacking-Wi-Fi-s-child-s-play-Seven-year-old-shows-easy-break-public-network-11-minutes.html

More Stories By Steve Watts

Steve Watts is co-founder of SecurEnvoy. He brings 25 years’ of industry experience to his role at the helm of Sales & Marketing for SecurEnvoy. He founded the company with Andrew Kemshall in 2003 and still works tirelessly to grow the company in new and established markets. His particular value is market and partner strategy; having assisted in the development and design of the products, designed the pricing strategy and recurring revenue model that has been so key to the businesses growth and success.

Before starting SecurEnvoy, Steve was responsible for setting up nonstop IT, the UK’s first IT security reseller in 1994. Prior to setting out on his own, Steve worked as Sales Director at the networking and IT division of Comtec, and had started his career in office solution sales in 1986.

Outside of work, Steve is a keen rugby fan. He also enjoys sailing, mountain biking, golf and skiing

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.