Essays on Wireless Technologies: Threats and Data Protection

Literature review
In actuality, the development of wireless technologies is booming. In this regard, many specialists (Pawlikowski, et al., 2002) point out that the emergence of wireless technologies dates back to the 1990s, when the first mobile phones have started to be implemented en masse that stimulated the development of new wireless technologies, contributing to the higher mobility of users and their wider access to networks, either local or wider, including internet. At the same time, the development of wireless technologies was accompanied by consistent challenges because it was necessary to create reliable and safe technologies, whereas the reliability of wireless technologies at the dawn of their development was under a question and many users preferred conventional technologies, instead of wireless ones, although it was obvious that wireless technologies were more convenient compared to conventional technologies. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that wireless technologies did not need so much hardware as conventional technologies, whereas they could make users mobile and not linked to the specific place, where they could use technologies (Cavin, et al., 2002). At this point, the major problem of early wireless technologies was their reliability. To put it more precisely, early wireless technologies had a low degree of reliability and the connection could be lost easily, under the impact of numerous external factors. Naturally, in such a situation, users were dissatisfied with the wireless technologies. However, in the course of time, the wireless technologies kept progressing and their developers have managed to create reliable technologies that could function steadily with a high degree of stability keeping users connected (Barrett, et al., 2002).

Nevertheless, till present days, developers of wireless technologies still fail to expand the scope of connection and operations of wireless technologies (Viardot, 2001). What is meant here is the fact that the contemporary wireless technologies allow users to use these technologies within several meters to a few kilometers. In such a way, the scope of the application of wireless technologies in terms of wireless networks are limited, but still they can be applied successfully within an average organization located within the area of a few hundred of meters or even a few kilometers (Kim, 2003). In such a situation, the progress of wireless technologies has opened larger opportunities for their application within organizations. At any rate, today, wireless technologies are not considered so unreliable as they used to be in the past, although they may be still inconvenient, especially, when the extensive network is needed.

The development of wireless technologies contributed to the change of the development of computer and telecommunication technologies consistently because wireless technologies have opened new opportunities for communication and sharing data using wireless networks and devices (Andrew, 2003). At the same time, specialists (Behzad, 2003) point out that the rise of wireless technologies raised new problems of developers of information technologies and telecommunication systems because wireless technologies could applied effectively but within the limited area, whereas the existing conventional networks covered huge territory and was more advanced in this regard. Therefore, developers of wireless technologies faced the problem of the adequate connectivity of wireless and conventional networks and technologies (Broch, et al., 1998). In addition, they faced the problem of the development of wireless networks because it was new experience and wireless networks should be developed to maintain the stable and reliable organizational performance and be user-friendly. In such a situation, the development of wireless technologies focused on the compatibility of wireless technologies with conventional technologies and the improvement of the performance of wireless devices and networks to maximize the user satisfaction and minimize the risk of malfunction.

In actuality, wireless technologies are well-developed for they have made a considerable progress since their appearance in the early 1990s. In this respect, it is worth mentioning Bluetooth and WiFi as the major achievements of developers of wireless technologies since the emergence of wireless technologies. At the same time, wireless technologies keep progressing and many specialists (Behzad, 2003) forecast the fast development of wireless technologies in the future, whereas some specialists (Kim, 2003) believe that wireless technologies can challenge the position of conventional technologies to the extent that, in a long-run perspective, they can totally replace wireless technologies.

At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the emergence of wireless technologies stimulated the appearance of numerous mobile devices, which hold a considerable part of the market today. In this respect, the appearance of mobile phones, laptops, netbooks, iPads, e-books and other devices is closely intertwined with the development of wireless technologies. To put it more precisely, the aforementioned devices rely heavily on the use of wireless technologies, whereas the development of wireless technologies opens wider opportunities in the application of the aforementioned devices. What is meant here is the fact that contemporary mobile devices, such as mobile phones or laptops use wireless technologies excessively. As a result, developers of mobile devices attempt to use the full potential of wireless technologies that stimulates the development of wireless technologies and development of wireless networks, which are oriented on organizations mainly. At any rate, specialists (Lin, et al., 2003) argue that many organizations attempt to develop their wireless networks to facilitate the communication within organizations but they rarely use wireless technologies to expand their networks beyond organizations.

At the same time, some organizations attempt to use wireless technologies to secure data within organizations because wireless technologies may be not connected to external, conventional networks. As a result, organizations can maintain the effective communication within organizations and share information using their wireless networks, whereas to communicate with their business partners or clients, they may use conventional networks. However, many specialists (Viardot, 2001) argue that such seeming security of wireless technologies is erroneous and they are not absolutely secure.

Moreover, some specialists (Lin, et al., 2003) argue that wireless technologies are vulnerable to information breaches even more than conventional technologies and networks. Specialists argue that it is more difficult to trace the intrusion or unauthorized access, if wireless technologies and networks are used because intruders use wireless technologies and it is difficult to locate them, in contrast to conventional networks and technologies, which allow locating intruders relatively easy and fast. In fact, wireless technologies grant mobility not only for users but also for intruders. In such a way, one of the major advantageous of wireless technologies, their mobility, turns out to be highly controversial because intruders may also use the mobility of wireless technologies to have the unauthorized access to private information or secret data stored and transmitted with the help of wireless technologies or within wireless network.

In such a context, it is possible to speak one of the major threats associated with the use of wireless technologies, the threat of hacking/cracking (Frodigh, et al., 2000). In fact, wireless technologies still fail to provide the high level of information security and the risk of unauthorized access from the part of hackers/crackers persists. In this regard, the compatibility of wireless networks and devices with conventional networks and devices increases the risk of hacking/cracking even more because hackers and crackers can access devices using wireless technologies and comprising a part of a wireless network using conventional technologies. As a result, wireless technologies and devices may be exposed to the risk of unauthorized access and information breaches.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning another risk, which is closely related to hacking and cracking, the risk of illegal computer activities, which also raise the problem of unauthorized access to private information. Unlike hacking and cracking, illegal computer activities lead to illegal activities, such as identity theft or the misuse of the private information of individuals or secret data of organizations (Lin, et al., 2003). At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that illegal computer activities are particularly dangerous because wireless technologies and wireless networks cannot be absolutely protected from them as well as conventional technologies. At the same time, along with technological problems of protection of wireless technologies, devices and networks from illegal computer activities, there is also a problem of legal regulations of operations conducted with the help of wireless technologies or related to the use of wireless technologies. To put it in simple words, the lack of legal regulation and protection of wireless technologies and wireless networks from external intrusion increases the risk of illegal computer activities leading to substantial harms and damages to users of wireless technologies and networks. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the illegal computer activities may lead to the loss of important information by organizations as well as by individuals. Moreover, this information may be misused and cause substantial harm to individuals and organizations. As a result, specialists (Frodigh, et al., 2000) argue that wireless technologies should increase the level of information security, whereas legislators should implement stricter legislation to protect wireless technologies, devices and networks from intrusion from the part of hackers, crackers, and computer criminals.

Along with human-related problems and challenges, wireless technologies may face external, natural threats. In this regard, some specialists (Cavin, et al., 2002) argue wireless technologies are still dependent on hardware and conventional technologies and there are many external, natural factors that may interfere in the work of wireless devices and networks. At this point, it is possible to refer to early wireless devices and technologies, which have a relatively low degree of reliability because they failed to work stably under the impact of external, natural factors. Today, developers of wireless technologies have solved many problems and increased the stability and reliability of wireless technologies but still, in case of a natural disaster, wireless technologies may fail to work properly and effectively (Lin, et al., 2003). In this regard, it is important to understand that wireless technologies are still dependent on hardware and, as a rule, they are compatible with conventional devices and technologies, which may be damaged by natural disasters. As a result, wireless technologies and devices also fail to function properly. In such a situation, the negative impact of environment makes wireless technologies vulnerable to malfunctioning but, unlike human-related threats, natural factors cannot always be prevented or avoided through the improvement of wireless technologies (Cavin, et al., 2002). For instance, it is possible to cope with the shutdown of electricity but wireless technologies can hardly stand serious natural disasters, such as earthquakes.

As a result, the use of wireless technologies becomes more and more popular but wireless technologies are still associated with certain risks and threats (Behzad, 2003). In this regard, specialists (Behzad, 2003) distinguish three major groups of risks and threats associated with wireless technologies. First, natural factors, such as natural disasters, may expose wireless technologies to serious threats to the extent that wireless technologies may fail to function properly. In this regard, natural factors are difficult to foresee and even more difficult to prevent. At the same time, there are human-related threats, which should be prevented through the improvement of technologies and enhancement of legislation protecting private information from unauthorized access. In this regard, it is possible to distinguish hacking and cracking as one of the human-related threats to the proper functioning of wireless technologies. This threat grows more and more widely-spread as hacking and cracking keep progressing. However, hacking and cracking do not always lead to consistent financial losses or substantial damages to wireless technologies and their users. In this regard, illegal computer activities are more dangerous than routine hacking and cracking because these activities often lead to identity thefts and other cyber crimes, which can cause substantial damages not only to individual users but also to large organizations. Therefore, wireless technologies, being vulnerable to illegal computer activities, need to develop and implement effective information system and information security.

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