Wireless Security Explained

Wireless Security Explained

Wireless Security is the prevention of unauthorised access to systems, data and applications via wireless networking. This is not limited to network infrastructure alone. Even companies that choose to have no wireless access points may provide laptops or devices that do have wireless technology installed and as such every connectable device needs to be included in wireless security considerations.

By its nature wireless access is open, it is discoverable and usually visible to people located “within range” whether or not they are authorised and this gives rise to two very critical areas of consideration that are specific to wireless security.

1 – Authentication to prevent unauthorised access

2 – Data Privacy to protect against infiltration

Because a wireless network is “open”, unauthorised users or even software can attempt to break the access authorisation put in place. To combat this, passwords can be supplemented by other methods of authentication including tokens, retina scan and fingerprint verification. Multiple layer authentication is a key aspect of wireless security. Likewise, it’s possible for hackers to “capture data in transit” across wireless networks so encrypting data as it is transferred is also an essential component of wireless security.

Wireless security has more unique issues to consider. Another example is “piggybacking” where people open their own laptops as hotspots whilst connected to corporate networks. This can provide unauthorised or unknown access to corporate IT assets. It takes Wireless Intrusion Prevention Systems (WIPS) to mitigate such threats.

Companies such as Cisco build security as standard into the wireless access points and supplement that with technologies like Software Defined Access, Next Generation Firewalls to protect against more complex threats specifically looking for wireless vulnerabilities.

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