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Market Analysis: WLAN Security


The Threats Are Real

Wireless security problems are often hyped by the media--present company excluded, of course. Many journalists struggle to understand the underlying complexity associated with threats and mitigation strategies and simply glom on to statistics, like the fact that eight out of 10 home wireless deployments are wide open to attack. But here's the thing: There's truth in the old saw that just because we're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get us.

Even the most careful IT manager must accept that, for some wireless threats, there's no defense. A denial-of-service attack using RF jamming, for example, is nearly impossible to combat. The best you can hope to do is minimize exposure by supporting multiband infrastructure and implementing tools and techniques that let you quickly identify the attack source.

Other vulnerabilities can be dealt with more effectively. For example, passive eavesdropping attacks, which can be mounted from considerable physical distance using directional antennas, can be mitigated by implementing encryption at the data link, network or application layer. Although some well-known wireless encryption systems, including WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and Cisco LEAP (Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol), have been effectively attacked, more robust alternatives are now widely available.

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