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Network Solutions Briefs: Wireless LAN, Nortel, JDS,

Network Solutions Briefs: Wireless LAN, Nortel, JDS,

Wireless LAN security holes exposed

Wireless LAN security holes identified in a new report by computer scientists are real but not easily exploited, according to product vendors.

University of California researchers report that several weaknesses in the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption algorithm leave 802.11 wireless LANs vulnerable to several kinds of sophisticated decryption attacks. The flaws let a laptop user with a wireless PC LAN card eavesdrop on transmissions and decipher key parts of LAN packets using statistical analysis. The same weaknesses can then be used to create malicious packets and send them over the LAN.

But vendors and users say the WEP weaknesses are well known and that the IEEE 802.11 group is drafting an improved version of WEP. In any case, they say there are products available that can provide layers of protection.

The report is available at www.isaac.cs.berkeley. edu/isaac/wepfaq.htmlHoly Isidore of InternetWhat do you do when the computer is crashing, the network is down and the program you've been working on for months won't debug? Soon you may be able to seek divine intervention by praying to the patron saint of Internet users and computer programmers. Pope John Paul II is currently considering a two-year-old proposal to name Saint Isidore of Seville to the patron saint position. Saint Isidore is believed to have written one of the first encyclopedias that included information about maths, medicine, history and theology.

Nortel to buy JDS optical

Nortel Networks has announced a definitive agreement to buy JDS Uniphase's 980 nanometre pump-laser chip design and manufacturing subsidiary for as much as $US3 billion in stock.

JDS Uniphase's subsidiary produces chips that provide the energy source to strengthen the light that travels via fibre between cities or buildings. The components are used to produce optical networks. Nortel's announcement said the purchase will help it integrate the technology and associated intellectual property into its optical amplifier modules used to boost and amplify light in dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) networks.

Based on Nortel's closing stock price of $US38.08 at the start of last week, the company will issue approximately 65.7 million common shares on closing and as many as 13.1 million common shares in deferred consideration, a Nortel statement said. The deferred consideration will only be paid to the extent that Nortel does not meet its purchase commitments with JDS Uniphase by December 31, 2003.


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