The State of Wireless Network Security

Like any security, there are no shortcuts when it comes to wireless security. Information Week interviews Md Sohail Ahmad, a senior wireless security researcher at AirTight Networks, to learn more about wireless network security and bow to protect business networks from wireless vulnerabilities and threats.

“Dr. Dobb’s: What’s the biggest security mistake companies make?

“Ahmad: As far as wireless security is concerned, the biggest mistake organizations make is to apply wired network security philosophy and solutions to implement wireless security. Network administrators often make the mistake of thinking that having solid wired security is enough to take care of Wi-Fi security risks. On the contrary, unsecured Wi-Fi attached to the enterprise network can open a back door for hackers to enter the wired enterprise network while completely bypassing all wired security measures such as firewalls, wired IDS/IPS, and content filters.

“Dr. Dobb’s: Are there emerging wireless security standards?

“Ahmad: Given that Wi-Fi transmissions are over the air, the security of in-flight wireless data starts with strong encryption and authentication. The earliest Wi-Fi security protocol was the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol, which is now known to be broken; the latest is Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2 (WPA2), which uses the advanced encryption standard and 802.1x based authentication. While WPA2 has so far done its job in protecting Wi-Fi networks from outsiders, a flaw in the protocol that was recently demonstrated at BlackHat Arsenal 2010 and Defcon18 exposes WPA2-secured Wi-Fi networks to insider attacks.”

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