WLAN Security Management

WLAN Security Management

Göran Pulkkis (Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch211
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In a wired local area network (LAN), the network ports and cables are mostly contained inside a building. Therefore, a hacker must defeat physical security measures, such as security personnel, identity cards, and door locks, to be able to physically access the LAN. However, the penetration capability of electromagnetic waves exposes the data transmission medium of a wireless LAN (WLAN) to potential intruders (Potter & Fleck, 2003). The fast development of wireless technologies implies that wireless communications will become ubiquitous in homes, offices, and enterprises. In order to conserve power and frequency spectrum, the wireless device computation overhead is most often reduced. The conventional security design thus uses smaller keys, weak message integrity protocols, and weak or one-way authentication protocols (Hardjono & Dondeti, 2005). WLAN security thus requires a more reliable protection of data communication between WLAN units and strong access management mechanisms.
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Wlan Security Policy Issues

The rule set in Geier (2002) is an example of a basic WLAN security policy:

  • Activate WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) at the very least

  • Utilize dynamic key exchange mechanisms

  • Ensure that NIC (Network Interface Card) and AP (access point) firmware is up-to-date

  • Ensure that only authorized people can reset the APs

  • Properly install all APs

  • Disable APs during non-usage periods

  • Assign “strong” passwords to APs

  • Don't broadcast Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs)

  • Don't use default SSID names

  • Reduce propagation of radio waves outside the facility

  • Deploy access controllers

  • Implement personal firewalls

  • Utilize IPSec (IP Security Protocol) based Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology on client devices

  • Utilize static IP addresses for clients and APs

  • Monitor for rogue APs

  • Control the deployment of WLANs

These security policy issues should of course be updated to reflect recent evolution of WLAN security standards, such as the adoptions of the WPA and the IEEE 802.11i standards.


Wlan Security Standards

WLAN standards are introduced by four major standardization organizations: IEEE (IEEE Standards, 2007), Wi-Fi Alliance (Wi-Fi Alliance Portal, 2007), IETF (IETF Portal, 2007), and 3GPP (3GPP Portal, 2007). Most of the standards are issued by IEEE. Wi-Fi Alliance handles the practical implementation of these standards through interoperability testing and certification. IETF is engaged in the evolution of Internet architecture. The primary standards development community for Wi-Fi roaming in the 3G mobile cellular networking (UMTS/GPRS/GSM) context is 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project).

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