Wireless Security – Getting It Right

By | March 6, 2006

It may sound strange but is true that several organisations, which have adopted Wireless networking, are open to severe security breaches. Mostly the reasons are that organisations simply plug the access points and go live without bothering to change the default factory settings. Wireless local area networks are open to risk not because the systems are incapable but due to incorrect usage.

The biggest problem lies with inadequate security standards and with poorly configured devices. For a start, most of the wireless base stations sold by suppliers come with the in-built security Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol turned off. This means that unless you manually reconfigure your wireless access points, your networks will be broadcasting data that is unencrypted.

In the old world of wired local area networks, the architecture provides some inherent security. Typically there is a network server and multiple devices with an Ethernet protocol adapter that connect to each other physically via a LAN backbone. If you are not physically connected, you have no access to the LAN.

Compare it with the new wireless LAN architecture. The LAN backbone of the wired world is replaced with radio access points. The Ethernet adapters in devices are replaced with a radio card. There are no physical connections – anyone with a radio capability of sniffing can connect to the network.Read Full Story

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