Home > Articles > Networking > Wireless/High Speed/Optical

Wireless LAN Design

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Wireless Security

Although security was originally included with 802.11 standards, it soon became obvious that it wasn't enough. Wireless security—or the lack of it—has been a major contributor to IT managers' reluctance to adapt wireless LANs.

Recently, wireless security has improved dramatically, providing IT managers with an acceptable level of comfort to proceed with the installation of WLANs. IEEE 802.11i, released in June 2004, addresses current security concerns.

In addition to the 802.11 suite of standards, the 802.1x standard can be used for wireless security. More precisely, 802.1x addresses port-based access control.

Wireless Security Issues

A main issue with wireless communication is unauthorized access to network traffic or, more precisely, the watching, displaying, and logging of network traffic, also known as sniffing. Contrary to a wired network, where a hacker would need to be physically located at the corporate premises to gain access through a network drop, with a wireless network, the intruder can access the network from a location outside the corporate building. WLANs use radio frequencies, and their signals propagate through ceilings and walls. Therefore, wireless eavesdropping, known as war driving or walk-by hacking, and rogue WAPs—unauthorized WAPs that allow a hacker access to a network—are two significant security issues with wireless networks.

Moreover, wireless equipment tends to ship with open access. Not only is traffic propagated in clear text, but WAPs also voluntarily broadcast their identity, known as Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs).

Wireless Threat Mitigation

Thanks to the wireless open-access default mode, we can join a wireless network from our favorite coffee shop or hotel room; however, this unrestricted access is not advisable for corporate networks. Wireless network security can be classified into the following three categories:

  • Basic wireless security
  • Enhanced wireless security
  • Wireless intrusion detection

Basic Wireless Security

Basic wireless security is provided by the following built-in functions:

  • SSIDs
  • Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
  • Media Access Control (MAC) address verification

SSIDs

An SSID is a code that identifies membership with a WAP. All wireless devices that want to communicate on a network must have their SSID set to the same value as the WAP SSID to establish connectivity with the WAP.

By default, a WAP broadcasts its SSID every few seconds. This broadcast can be stopped so that a drive-by hacker can't automatically discover the SSID and hence the WAP. However, because the SSID is included in the beacon of every wireless frame, it is easy for a hacker equipped with sniffing equipment to discover the value and fraudulently join the network.

Being able to join a wireless network by the mere fact of knowing the SSID is referred to as open authentication.

Wired Equivalent Privacy

WEP can be used to alleviate the problem of SSID broadcasts by encrypting the traffic between the wireless clients and WAPs. Joining a wireless network using WEP is referred to as shared-key authentication, where the WAP sends a challenge to the wireless client who must return it encrypted. If the WAP can decipher the client's response, the WAP has the proof that the client possesses valid keys and therefore has the right to join the wireless network. WEP comes in two encryption strengths: 64-bit and 128-bit.

However, WEP is not considered secure: A hacker sniffing first the challenge and then the encrypted response could reverse-engineer the process and deduce the keys used by the client and WAP.

MAC Address Verification

To further wireless security, a network administrator could use MAC address filtering, in which the WAP is configured with the MAC addresses of the wireless clients that are to be permitted access.

Unfortunately, this method is also not secure because frames could be sniffed to discover a valid MAC address, which the hacker could then spoof.

Enhanced Wireless Security

Stronger security standards, shown in Table 5-2, were created to replace the weaknesses in WEP.

Table 5-2. Wireless Security Standards

Security Component

802.11 Original Standards

Security Enhancement

Authentication

Open authentication or shared-key

802.1x

Encryption

WEP

Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) Protected Access (WPA), then 802.11i

802.1x

IEEE 802.1x is a port-based network access control standard. It provides per-user, per-session, mutual strong authentication, not only for wireless networks but also for wired networks, if need be.

Depending on the authentication method used, 802.1x can also provide encryption. Based on the IEEE Extensible Authorization Protocol (EAP), 802.1x allows WAPs and clients to share and exchange WEP encryption keys automatically. The access point acts as a proxy, doing the heavier computational load of encryption. The 802.1x standard also supports a centralized key management for WLANs.

Wi-Fi Protected Access

WPA was introduced as an intermediate solution to WEP encryption and data integrity insecurities while the IEEE 802.11i standard was being ratified.

When WPA is implemented, access to the WAP is provided only to clients that have the right passphrase. Although WPA is more secure than WEP, if the preshared key is stored on the wireless client and the client is stolen, a hacker could get access to the wireless network.

WPA supports both authentication and encryption. Authentication done through preshared keys is known as WPA Personal; when done through 802.1x, it is known as WPA Enterprise.

WPA offers Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) as an encryption algorithm and a new integrity algorithm known as Michael. WPA is a subset of the 802.11i specification.

802.11i

In June 2004, the IEEE ratified the draft for the 802.11i standard, also known as WPA2. The 802.11i standard formally replaces WEP and other security features of the original IEEE 802.11 standard.

WPA2 is the product certification attributed to wireless equipment that is compatible with the 802.11i standard. WPA2 certification provides support for the additional mandatory 802.11i security features that are not included in WPA. WPA2, like WPA, supports both Enterprise and Personal modes for authentication.

In addition to stricter encryption requirements, WPA2 also adds enhancements to support fast roaming of wireless clients by allowing a client to preauthenticate with the access point toward which it is moving, while maintaining a connection to the access point that it is moving away from.

Wireless Intrusion Detection

Many products provide rogue access point detection. However, some third-party products integrate better than others with Cisco Aironet WAPs and the CiscoWorks Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE), discussed in the next section. One such third-party product is from AirDefense.[5] This product provides wireless intrusion detection that uses the access points to scan the airwaves and report wireless activity.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020