Security fears stalk CIOs

If senior IT execs were in search of some solace over their security woes, they didn’t find it at CIO Summit West. In fact, they probably went away with a greater sense of paranoia, thanks to a University of Calgary professor.

Dr. Thomas Keenan, dean of the faculty of continuing education at

the university, has been tracking the evolution of technology security for two decades. The bad news? Security problems are only becoming more complex.

“”You will be at conferences like this and taking courses like mine for the rest of your life. Get used to it,”” said Keenan, speaking to about 100 CIOs attending the session Keeping Up With the Dark Side of Technology. He said while viruses and other electronic threats are becoming more prevalent, they are causing more lost productivity than the viruses or worms themselves.

Of significant concern to companies are wireless networks left unprotected. A wardriving exercise Keenan conducted in Calgary recently revealed 12 networks with only three running Wired Equivalent Privacy, or WEP.

“”I also did this on a recent flight and my computer talked to all the other computers on the flight, including a guy from the Canadian Department of National Defence,”” he said.

His advice was to create a culture of awareness and get someone from the outside to take a look at what is currently in place for security in a company. “”So many regard security as a headache. The reality is some-body taking an outside look can do some good.””

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