Be Sure To Use a VPN at Interop

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Industry Commentary, Mobile, Rethink Remote Access
Tags: , , , , , ,

We recently talked to Glenn Evans, InteropNet’s lead engineer. InteropNet is the open WiFi network that provides connectivity to all Interop attendees and exhibitors and is one of the world’s largest temporary networks. That’s no surprise, considering Interop is one of the IT industry’s biggest conferences and expos, boasting more than 13,000 attendees. We asked Evans for his security advice for attendees of the upcoming show, which is taking place in Las Vegas from May 8 to 12.

He told us, InteropNet provides both open and WPA2 wireless networks for use by attendees and exhibitors.
“InteropNet protects its Core Systems and Services with various firewall and IDS/IPS Systems,” Evans said.  “But, general data traffic is open.”

With unencrypted traffic flowing on the networks, attendees run the risk of having data intercepted by third parties. To protect against this, Evans recommends that attendees who are planning to connect to their corporate networks or access any important information be sure they’re using a VPN.

“I’d make this recommendation to anyone attending any trade show,” Evans added.
Good advice. Readers, do you use VPNs at trade shows?

Stay tuned next week for more on Interop, including more on our chat with Evans.
Follow this conversation on Twitter @VPNHaus.

  1. Hoern says:

    I always use VPN, not only at trade shows. At every public hotspot you need to prodect your data

  2. LPhifer says:

    I’m happy to see hotspots at conferences like Interop LV and RSA 2011 offering an encrypted SSID option and I commend organizers offering these. However, attendees shouldn’t mistake these for VPN substitutes.

    If the conference’s encrypted SSID uses WPA2-PSK (or WPA-PSK), every attendee knows the PSK and can easily use it to decrypt captured traffic.

    At RSA 2011, I spotted what looked to be a rudimentary “evil twin” of the real event hotspot (“RSAwifi” vs “rsa2011peap”). Attendees searching available networks for anything that might get them to the Internet might easily fall for this ruse.

    So I agree with Glenn: Be sure to use a VPN at EVERY PUBLIC HOTSPOT. If you protect your own traffic end to end with a VPN, you’ll have consistent protection everywhere, independent of any security the hotspot itself does or does not offer.

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