Undercover operation shows TJX is far from alone

A new study from wireless security maker AirDefense, which covertly monitored 3,045 stores and 4,748 access points in six major U.S. cities and two major European cities, revealed some mind-boggling stats.

Twenty-five percent use no encryption at all.

But it gets worse.

Might as well make that number 50 percent, considering the undercover operation revealed that another 25 percent use the outdated and hole-filled Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol to encrypt. Experts have said WEP is not much better than no security at all, as tools to hack this standard are widely available and easy to use.

These stats are pretty stunning, but coupled with the fact that the largest reported data breach of all time was caused by shoddy wireless defenses, they're even more ominous.

Of course, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards require retailers to implement a much more rigorous encryption standard, and compliance rates are improving.

But is too late to prevent another TJX?

I'm thinking yes.

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