Tag Archives: wireless security

Is Your Wireless Network Feeling Neglected?

During the past several years, businesses have increasingly transitioned from traditional landlines to wireless systems as their primary communications medium. Enterprises and SMBs alike are embracing the 802.11ac standard, which expands wireless network capacity and reliability.

But in much the same way that faster wired networks are proving challenging to manage, wireless networks are presenting engineers with new security and performance problems of their own.

Along with the ability run more complex, intricate business applications on wireless networks than ever before comes the need for real-time troubleshooting. In particular, businesses transferring more data at faster speeds for BYOD, video or voice over Wireless (VoFi) need a wireless network analyzer to help IT departments keep these mission-critical services up and running. When an application experiences even short-lived latency, let alone significant downtime, productivity falls right along with network speed.

WildPackets’ wireless network monitoring solutions provide engineers the high-level visibility they need to snuff out any potential issues—from security vulnerabilities to traffic overload—before they become catastrophes. WildPackets can help companies reduce downtime or other network disturbances by providing:

  • 24/7 real-time analysis of everything on the network
  • Capture of network traffic from multiple channels simultaneously
  • The ability to track mobile users as they move to new channels and access points
  • The capability to track wireless conversations, authentications and other events to ensure only authorized users gain access
  • Sophisticated alerts and notifications to potential problems
  • Pinpointing of the precise source of any problem

Click here to read about WildPackets’ wireless network analysis and troubleshooting solutions featuring the industry’s first-ever network analyzer for gigabit wireless networks.

Security Series Part 2: World Cup Photo Proves Importance of Network Security Once Again

One of the most difficult challenges in managing networks is their inherent vulnerability to human error. No matter how robust an organization’s security policies or how dedicated its IT staff, a silly oversight by one or more employees can render many precautions meaningless.

A startling example of just how quickly and thoughtlessly network security can be compromised occurred recently when the Wi-Fi network name and password for the security center at the World Cup in Brazil were accidentally posted online.

A newspaper photo of Luiz Cravo Dorea, head of International cooperation for the Brazilian Federal Police, was taken inside the center, run by Israeli security firm Risco, in front of a bank of computer screens, one of which showcased the sensitive information. Soon after the photo was posted, it was re-tweeted repeatedly for the entire world to see. Once the newspaper was made aware of the photo it was taken down and presumably, the network name and password were changed. But it is impossible to know if any intrusions occurred in the interim.

While businesses should make every effort to avoid these kinds of blunders, the unfortunate fact is that they do sometimes happen despite network engineers’ best efforts. When these mistakes occur, it’s imperative that businesses have network monitoring and security solutions in place that keep a simple oversight from turning into a total disaster.

Best-in-class network forensic appliances can be used to monitor compliance with security policies and to intercept and analyze unauthorized attempts to access a network. These products can automatically respond to security threats in a variety of ways, meaning that even if a password is leaked, intruders can’t freely enter a system and steal or compromise data. Continue reading

3 Ways to Deliver Wireless that Rivals Wired for Performance

End users will drive even the most patient network engineer to pull their hair out. No matter how many times you explain to them that wireless and wired are not the same, they just won’t listen. They demand the same performance no matter what, no matter where they are. Unfortunately, unlike your wired infrastructure that was probably carefully planned and built, your wireless network is still evolving and growing organically. While I can’t offer you a magic pill, you can save what hair you have left, by addressing these three often-overlooked issues:

1. Deploy 11n gear; update mixed 802.11 environments.
802.11n is not only here – it’s thriving. However, a lot of organizations are still operating in a mixed environment. All new deployments, as well as any replacement projects, which are in place for 802.11, should be with 11n gear. Sounds simple, but can cause a lot of issues if not addressed.

2. View your network as a whole.
We used to think of wireless as a completely separate entity or “overlay.” However, if you have a wireless network, you must have a wired network. They do not exist in a vacuum. Granted, network management may be a bit different between the two, but the network must be viewed as a whole, meaning a unified wired/wireless network.

Wireless networks, especially in enterprises, have often been used as a “fill in” technology to cover specific areas where wired coverage may be difficult or where large numbers of transient connections may be required. Fortunately enterprises have, for the most part, outgrown this deployment mentality in favor of organized wireless deployments with centralized management.

3. Update your security policy.
This topic has truly been covered to death! The debate is over; the myths are debunked. Security is a policy, not just a technology, and this policy transcends both the wired and wireless network. For example, authentication can and should take place on the wired network (802.1x), even when users are wireless. The policy must be integrated and consistent, and cover all use cases, whether wired or wireless.

These challenges are still relevant, even though wireless deployment is nothing new. Keeping your organization on top of its unified networks, including wireless and wired, will only help with evaluating and correcting risk factors later down the road.