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Security information for infrared communication

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Security information for infrared communication

Infrared provides a secure and simple way to transfer and synchronize data. In order for infrared communication to work properly, infrared transceivers must operate on a line-of-sight basis--they must be placed at a 30-degree angle and no farther than 1 meter (approximately 40 inches) apart. Because infrared operates at such a short distance and a narrow angle, it is relatively difficult for an attacker to intercept data that is sent over infrared. However, infrared does not provide data encryption. Because data is sent in plaintext, it is vulnerable to packet sniffing attacks. Therefore, take precautions to ensure that data that is sent over infrared is not intercepted.

To enhance security when using infrared communication, do the following:

  • Do not enable infrared image transfer (IrTran-P).

    IrTran-P is disabled by default (that is, the option to use Wireless Link to transfer images from a digital camera to your computer is disabled). If you enable this option, all of the incoming files that are sent over IrTran-P are automatically accepted. Because incoming files might contain harmful programs, ensure that the files originate from a trustworthy source. Do not open files if you cannot verify the source, do not recognize the file format, or are unsure of the content. Instead, delete the files immediately.

    For more information, see Transferring digital camera images to the computer and Infrared implementation.

  • Align infrared devices so that the infrared transceivers are between 0.1 meter (approximately 4 inches) and 0.5 meter (approximately 20 inches) apart whenever you establish an infrared link between two devices.

    Although there can be up to 1 meter (approximately 40 inches) between infrared transceivers without a loss in data transfer capability, if you place the transceivers closer to each other, you minimize the risk of interference from an outside infrared device. To further enhance security, ensure that all infrared devices and data sources are trustworthy. Finally, if you are transferring infrared data with another person, conduct the transfer in a private location whenever possible.

    For more information, see Links between infrared devices and Establish an infrared link.

  • Use only signed device drivers.

    For security, performance, and stability, it is recommended that you use only signed device drivers.

    For more information, see Signed Drivers.


  • In the Windows Server 2003 family, only Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, supports infrared networking.

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