In the last 5 years there has been a significant increase in the popularity of wireless (Wi-Fi) networks. People can now access the Internet in the most unlikely of places: in bars, on the street or even in public parks. This increase in Wi-Fi usage has also been seen in many businesses, where employees regularly access the Internet away from their desks. But whilst the rise in popularity of wireless networks has brought with it many advantages, they continue to pose a number of significant security risks.
Additionally, with the widespread use of mobile phones, the airwaves are becoming increasingly congested. More powerful frequencies are being used and problems caused by E.M.I (Electro-Magnetic Interference) are becoming all the more prevalent.
Due to negligence and naivety, many users of Wi-Fi fail to adequately encrypt their networks. As a consequence, security breaches are very common as hackers can easily identify an insecure target and then exploit its weakness. And although some security breaches may be relatively minor (i.e. an outsider using the wireless Internet connection to browse the Web), some breaches may be severe, leading to credit card fraud or even corporate espionage!
The popularity of ‘War Driving’ – a term for locating vulnerable wireless hotspots whilst driving a vehicle and using laptops – only exacerbates the situation. But the problem is not limited to wireless Internet access. As more people turn to mobile communication devices, we see an increasing number of Bluetooth intrusions, particularly by hackers and scammers, wishing to prey on insecure mobile phones. The fact is: if a device omits a signal to carry data to another location, those with sufficient knowledge can potentially target it.
Although Wi-Fi signals have the ability to transmit through walls, the greatest amount of leakage occurs through windows. In buildings with a significant amount of glass, this leakage can be quite considerable, with modern developments often containing a great deal of glass – over 70% in some cases. This obviously increases the likelihood of a wireless security breach, but ultimately the level of shielding is dependent on the building structure itself.
However, a development in the form of reflective Window Film can reduce leakage and help avert eavesdropping from potential hackers. It can also reduce the “signal signature”, helping networks to hide more effectively from scanners. If it is more difficult for a hacker to locate your wireless network, it will be much harder for him or her to compromise your security.
Whilst it is difficult to completely contain a wireless signal, the application of Window Film can assist in reducing the external threat. A less conspicuous signal equates to a lower security risk. And since transparent window film also allows light to pass through naturally, passers by will be non the wiser. This can have tremendous benefits especially if the user handles sensitive information or operates a number of different signal devices.
Anti-Spy Window Film comprises aluminum and titanium sputter coated polyester in several layers, including a scratch resistant protective coating. When tested in accordance with ASTM D 4935, the “Standard Test Method for Measuring the Electromagnetic Shielding Effectiveness of Planar Materials”, these films attain a 90-99% effectiveness score. It is important to remember that performance levels are severely affected by ‘edge gaps’ and so the best figures are achieved by combining the film installation with a metal secondary frame to cover these areas. This will ensure that signal leakage is kept to an absolute minimum.
In summary, if your business premises contain a large amount of glass (and if you regularly use wireless devices), it may prove worthwhile to invest in Window Film. With a wide range of Window Films available, including those for safety, security, privacy and solar control, a solution can be found to even the most challenging of problems.