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Mobile

AT&T locks down hot spots

In a bid to win more business customers, the company will extend the same network security measures it makes available for broadband and dial-up connections to 2,000 hot spots.

In a bid to win more business customers, AT&T will extend the same network security measures it makes available for broadband and dial-up connections to 2,000 "hot spots."

Hot spots, which use Wi-Fi equipment to deliver wireless Web access, have scared away some potential customers because the connections are notoriously insecure.

AT&T says it will try to allay those concerns by locking down hot spots in 20 countries using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which many corporations already use to secure other types of remote connections. AT&T plans to sell access inside these select hot spots as part of its overall VPN service, called the AT&T VPN Tunneling Service, by the fourth quarter.

AT&T is not the first company to try to secure Wi-Fi connections using VPNs. Hot-spot service provider Boingo Wireless has been pushing VPN protection as well.

AT&T's new security measures are being provided by Gric Communications, a maker of Web-based mobile office communications systems for businesses. AT&T is the first major U.S. carrier to use Gric's hot-spot VPN product, according to Gric. Financial details of the deal between the companies were not disclosed.

Gric competes with iPass.