This is one warning — credible and actionable — that intelligence agencies can certainly lay claim to.
They had cautioned the government against letting telecom service providers offer Wi-fi services to consumers without insisting on adequate access control mechanisms.
Last weekend’s threat email sent from a laptop that accessed the Internet over the Wi-fi in Mumbai indicates the ease with which this technology can be misused, a senior intelligence official said.
The official said the IB had demanded adequate access control mechanisms that would enable them to identify people who had accessed the internet when the issue had come up a couple of years ago.
Their concerns were then brushed aside on the ground that the government did not want to come in the way of introduction of new technologies, he said.
“Today, there are buildings that are Wi-fi enabled — many of them without any system of access control and some others have only a very basic level of authentication of the users,” he added.
The official said there was still time to take note of these concerns before states went on an overdrive to become Wi-fi-enabled.
Mumbai has already announced plans to go Wi-fi. And Delhi plans to begin with Connaught Place.
This means that a terrorist or a criminal does not need to even go to a cyber café to access the internet but can easily do so from a public place — including airports — which are opting for a Wi-fi-enabled environment as a value-addition for their passengers.