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Keeping Intruders Out Of Your WLAN

Encryption and authentication are essential for locking down WLANs but they don't provide total security. For that, you'll need an intrusion detection system.

Wireless LANs utilize radio waves for transporting information, which results in security vulnerabilities that justifiably worry network managers. To assuage those worries, most companies implement authentication and encryption to harden security.

However, WLANs have a whole host of other vulnerabilities that can be more difficult to completely smother such as illicit monitoring, unauthorized access, and denial of service (DoS) attacks. For example, someone using a wireless sniffer, such as the freely-available NetStumbler, can easily monitor wireless traffic for fun or malicious intent while sitting in their car next to your office building.

Fortunately, intrusion detection systems (IDSs) can secure networks against these threats.

Attacks From Many Directions

Effective encryption, such as that offered by 802.11i, is essential, of course, because it will keep hackers from deciphering the content of data. And authentication systems make sure that the person logging on to the network is who he or she claims to be.

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