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Emission Security for Wireless Networks

Keeping your network and devices safe.

patrick timmerman

on 22 March 2013

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Transcript of Emission Security for Wireless Networks

Patrick Timmerman
WIRELESS NETWORKS What is Wifi? Wifi is synonymous with the term Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). A wireless network is an extension of an Ethernet LAN, which is the typical configuration of desktop computers that use an Ethernet cable to connect to the internet. Instead of the Ethernet cable being plugged into a computer, it's plugged into a router or a wireless network adapter! This allows for mobility between the user and the device. Goal: Wifi Security and What It Means to You We hear in the news, all the time, about how cyber-attacks are carried out against an assortment of people, businesses and countries. But what can you do to protect your wireless network and its associated devices? Cross your fingers and hope for the best? No! The ANSWER: Be informed on network vulnerabilities and the types of network attacks that are most common to your network! Types of Attacks: 1. Data Interception
2. Denial of Service
3. Misconfigured APs
4. Man-In-The-Middle Attacks
5. Interference Wireless networking has become commonplace in today's society. Just like you learned, growing up: you should never tell strangers where you live, or give out personal information. The same is true about your wireless network! Wireless network security can be a problem for some users. The solution to this is planning and familiarization. "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored " (Huxley, 1926). (Phifer, 2010) This attack uses fraudulent messages that are sent to the user to get them to disconnect. In doing so, the hacker can consume access point resources, and bog down channel traffic. Since these kinds of attacks
are more susceptible in legacy equipment, making sure your hardware supports 802.11w management frame protection can keep your network secure (Phifer. 2010). Newer model routers have this standard. 802.11w is an amendment to the IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) standard, which sets standards for technological innovations ("Ieee - about," 2013). Solution: Data Interception: Denial of Service: In America, the FCC has designated three unlicensed frequency bands for public use. All of our home appliances, such as microwaves, routers and cordless phones, operate on these unlicensed frequencies (900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz) (Lammle. 2011). Interference is relative to the user. It occurs when devices operate in the same environment, and their operating frequencies overlap (Wireless, 2009). Radio waves are the vehicles for which data is transmitted and received. This means that they can be intercepted by eavesdroppers who could be looking in on your network. An unprotected network could allow for hackers to use frame spoofing. "This issue may enable a malicious Web site operator to mimic a legitimate Web site by inserting a window as a frame within the legitimate Web site's window ("Update available for," 2013). How do you close the door on this kind
of attack? It's best to avoid using the TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) wireless encryption method. The analogy "show me a fence that's eight feet tall, and I'll show you a nine-foot ladder", perfectly describes this method. The preferred standard for encryption now is WPA2 (Lammle. 2011). Solution: Misconfigured APs: Misconfigured access points are the most common security threat. It's like leaving your front door open. Today, the 802.11n standard for wireless equipment comes with dozens of configuration options to best suit the user's security needs. The abundance of options can lead to the user unknowingly "leaving their door open" to their network and devices. Solution: A good teacher once told me: "You don't know what you don't know." Whenever you buy a piece of hardware that will be implemented into your network, like a router, you must read the instruction manual. It's imperative that you understand the capabilities and limitations of the device before it's implemented into the network topology. The equivalent of this would be like buying a Lamborghini and not knowing how to drive a manual. So remember, "Combine sound, centralized management practices with 802.11n/WMM education and planning to reduce operator error" (Phifer, 2010). Man-In-The-Middle Attacks: This type of attack is devious, and often seen played out
in spy movies, like Mission Impossible. Cyber-criminals will sit down at a public wireless hotspot (the kind provided at Starbucks and McDonald's), and set up a network with an ID that looks like the business's legitimate network. When a patron-user connects to this "network", they are forwarded to the legitimate website. The hacker is now topographically sandwiched between the false-network and the patron-user. This allows the hacker free-access to the patron's computer, and all their files (Hughes. 2013). Solution: When connecting to public, wifi hotspots there are a few things you can do:
1. Be cognizant of suspicious people.
2. Make sure your computer's firewall is turned on, and configured appropriately. Disabling the sharing-features while connected to a public network is best. In Windows XP and later, this can be done after selecting the network. Once selected, you will be prompted to chose a location. Selecting Public loads your firewall with default settings that are geared to protect your computer from unsolicited access.
3. Make sure you are connected to the business's network; you may need to verify with the manager. Interference: Solution: There are three elements that should be considered when troubleshooting an interference problem:
1. The source of the interference transfer between an interfering source and a susceptible device.
2. The susceptible device that cannot perform as intended, due to the interference.
3. The coupling path that promotes the disturbance between the interfering source and the device (Wireless. 2009).

Highly populated areas speak to the first and second points. To combat this, change the router's operating frequency to the 5 GHz band. This band has less traffic due to its higher frequency. That can eliminate crosstalk between other devices operating in the 2.4 GHz band (Bertolucci, 2011).

Humidity! This is an example of the third point. Radio waves don't travel the same distance in all directions. Environmental factors, such as air density and moisture, inhibit this. The moisture can cause reflections of the signals and degrade wifi performance (Bertolucci, 2011).
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