The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Campus Wireless Fails to Provide Security


You would never know from reading the “acceptable use” policy that DVC’s wireless network is not secure.

Nowhere does it say the network is not encrypted.

Indeed, anyone with a standard wireless card can connect and use it, including hackers and identity thieves.

Michael Becker, DVC’s computer and network services supervisor, said the college is no different from Starbucks, airports and hotels.

“If you are on a wireless network, you are basically on your own,” Becker said.

In other words, don’t offer up your credit card number under any circumstance unless you are on a secure line.

“Our wireless network is not encrypted,” Becker said. “As such, financial transactions may be compromised.
While the system asks for your email address when you log in, it never checks it against currently enrolled students’ emails, Becker said.

 “We do this so that you are forced to see and agree to the appropriate acceptable use policy, board policies, etc.,” Becker said.

At some as-yet-undetermined time, the college will restrict its wireless network to only those people with valid WebAdvisor accounts, he said.

But for now, Matt Anderson, senior computer and network specialist, called the acceptable use policy “just legalese.”

DVC’s wireless network can be compared to a radio. Anyone who knows how can “listen in” and launch what is called “a man-in-the-middle attack.”

Such an attack works as follows:

A student wants to order a book from and logs onto the DVC network from his laptop. A hacker sitting nearby redirects the student to a fake page, where the student unknowingly enters his account information. The hacker then disconnects from the student’s computer and can now make purchases using the stolen information.

“I don’t think we make any claims about the security of the wireless,” said Adam Jacobs, the college district’s information security officer.

But that information came as a surprise to Katrina Lim, 19, a business major, who said she has done online banking while on the wireless network. “I was actually wondering how secure the network was,” Lim said.

David Reyes, who works at the Financial Aid Center, also said he assumed DVC’s wireless network was secure.

“I would trust the Wi-Fi enough to make purchases on it,” he said.

And Kim Cirello, 19, who is studying to be a paramedic, said she has checked her bank accounts from school.

But Carlos Hernandez, 20, a computer science major, who was logging onto the network this week for the first time, guessed otherwise.

“I wouldn’t make any purchases using this Wi-Fi,” he said.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

By commenting, you give The Inquirer permission to quote, reprint or edit your words. Comments should be brief, have a positive or constructive tone, and stay on topic. If the commenter wants to bring something to The Inquirer’s attention, it should be relevant to the DVC community. Posts can politely disagree with The Inquirer or other commenters. Comments should not use abusive, threatening, offensive or vulgar language. They should not be personal attacks or celebrations of other people’s tragedies. They should not overtly or covertly contain commercial advertising. And they should not disrupt the forum. Editors may warn commenters or delete comments that violate this policy. Repeated violations may lead to a commenter being blocked. Public comments should not be anonymous or come from obviously fictitious accounts. To privately or anonymously bring something to the editors’ attention, contact them.
All The Inquirer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Activate Search
Campus Wireless Fails to Provide Security