Symantec ranks Houston high in WiFi security survey

For two days in mid-November, Symantec security experts drove through neighborhoods in seven areas of Houston: Galleria/Memorial, the Heights, the Third Ward, Midtown/Montrose, Shadow Creek/Silverlake near Pearland, the Villages off I-10 West, and parts of the Westchase/near-Katy area.

The specific Zip codes: 77056, 77008, 77004, 77006, 77002, 77584, 77024, 77082 and 77079.

As they drove, they used WiFi “sniffing” devices to look for signals from wireless routers, a practice known as wardriving. They checked each one to see if it was encrypted — meaning signals between the routers and the devices that connected to them are scrambled — and whether the owners of the routers had changed the default network name, or SSID.

Although the methodology was hardly foolproof, which I’ll discuss in a minute, the results are interesting:

• Symantec’s researchers found a total 1,985 WiFi access points.
• More than 61 percent were using encryption.
• More than 80 percent had nondefault SSIDs.
• The more affluent neighborhoods had a higher incidence of nonencrypted access points, although there were far more residential WiFi networks in the richer areas.
•The highest percentage of nonencrypted networks was in the Villages, at almost 47 percent. The lowest percentage was in the Third Ward and West Houston, with about 30 percent.
Jonah Paransky, a senior manager for security products at Symantec, said four other cities had been surveyed in a similar fashion — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. — and Houston had the highest percentage of encrypted residential networks. Symantec would not release the specific numbers for the other cities.

Congratulations as per

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