The technology of Wireless Security Networking is one of the most common networking and accessible technology but still the security problems are of great interest of this type of technology. This research paper will prospect the wireless networking and its security as well as will focus on the companies which are involved in this technology and future prospects for this technology.
These days’ computer clients are more fascinated in attaining the Internet wirelessly because of its accessibility and mobility. These days, business travelers prefer and utilize the wireless laptops to keep in contact with the office, home, and friends. A wireless network can unites or connect the computers at various places of your business and home without any involvement of any cords and permit you to work anywhere within the range of network on laptop (Bulk, 2006).
The wireless networks are established on the basis of IEEE criteria and standards which belong to 802 family which contains (802.3) Ethernet that is largely utilized today in offices and homes. Even though the growth and development of the 802.11 standards and technology have been in progress since the late 1990s, basic acceptance of “wireless Ethernet” only originated in year 2000-2001 when (AP) or access point devices turned cheap enough for the home user. (Bulk, 2006) The following items simply provide an overview of the 802.11 family which includes: 1-802.11b (a)- Most widespread (b)- 11Mb maximum, 2.4 GHZ band, 2- 802.11 (a)- Next generation (b)- 54MB maximum, 3- 5GHZ band 3- 802.11g (a)- 54MB maximum, 2.4 GHZ band (b)- Compatible with 802.11b 4- 802.11X (a) Uses Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) (b) Supports RADIUS 5- 802.11i (a) TKIP (b) Draft (Bulk, 2006).
The disadvantage of a wireless network is that, except someone takes positive protections, any individual with a wireless laptop or computer can access your network. That means that hacker can attain the personal data and information on your laptop or computer. And if an unaccredited person utilizes your network to commend a crime or transmit spam, the action will be traced on your account. The 802.11 authoritative standard is, in its functioning principles, not that practically different from the Ethernet. It employs a conventional “one can speak, others hear” media access control strategy; the simple difference is that instead of wires, the carrier of the signals are assigned radio frequency. In year 2004, (ISRC) or Information Security Research Center of Queensland University declared that any 802.11 network installed in any business environment could be halt in few seconds simply by transmitting a signal that hinders the other users or parties from trying to talk. On the other hand, same is true for Ethernet; apart from that you must be able to join with the network plug at first, which certainly makes the attacker much easy to trace the trouble in order to solve it (Nichols, & Lekkas, 2006).
That’s not the place where problem terminate. Where the 802.11 standard tried to prevent carrier-level hits, it actually failed dejectedly. The (WEP) or Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) method was planned for wireless networks to supply a stage of security and protection against hackers on network sessions by outside members or parties, therefore offering security nearly equivalent to conventional LANs. Though, there are numerous design flaws were found in the WEP scheme in 2001 by the researchers of Zero Knowledge System and University of California, which showed the scheme hideously incompatible. Unfortunately, even by that time Wi-Fi had been deployed extensively to create compulsory adjustments hard to execute or implement (Nichols, & Lekkas, 2006).
General Wireless Security
Now the question arises why it is necessary to concentrate on the security of Wi-Fi. As we know that the general area of 802.11 network security zones are one of the leading bases for future security interests and concern: Any hacker or attacker can be laid where nobody considers him or her to be and keep well away from the network’s authorized premises. Furthermore, the other reason to concentrate on the security of Wi-Fi is its great and widespread utilization and use of 802.11 networks. In year 2006, it is reported that the quantity of shipped 802.11 enabled hardware devices were calculated to outgrow 40 million units, even the cost of these units are keep falling. After the popularity of 802.11g devices in the market, the price of the several 802.11 products dropped to the price level of 100BaseT Ethernet client cards. However, there are various speed disadvantages, but not every network requires fast speed, and in majority of the cases the implementation of wireless network is highly demanded. On the other hand, another reason to concentrate on the wireless security is the offices situated on different areas of the engaged streets, office park and highway (Nichols, & Lekkas, 2006).
Wi-Fi security problems are addressing with 2 different troubles: Privacy and authentication. Authentication or verification guarantees that only valid clients get access to the entire network. Privacy maintains communication safe from hackers. The implementation of WPA technology properly addressed these two fundamental troubles. Although we have the much strong security technology but accidents and mishaps can occur at any time, to obtain an enjoyable and pleasant practice of Wi-Fi technology users should have sufficient knowledge of the security weaknesses and vulnerabilities, that’s the reason the Wi-Fi Associations suggests that users of wireless networks implement the similar point of care they’ve learned to employ to keep away from scams in the wired world. Moreover, end users must modify their passwords frequently, not to answer or respond the doubtful e-mails, and should look for protected and secured connections. Customers require creating various new and uncomplicated security protections. A habit like linking through a supplier or provider that employs encryption with a list of committed and trusted hotspots, using a VPN, and constantly changing and enabling security inside a home network. Furthermore, customer should make it a point to prefer those products that are having Wi-Fi certification for the utilization of WPA™ (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2™ security (Nichols, & Lekkas, 2006).
As far as technology is concerned, WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy is a protocol that supplies security to (WLANs) or wireless local area networks based on the 802.11 Wi-Fi regulations. Moreover, WEP is a (layer 2) or OSI, Data Link Layer security technology that can be switched “on” or “off.” This technology is configured to offer wireless networks the equal level of privacy security as a comparable wired network. Moreover, WEP technology is based on the security scheme known as RC4 that utilize an assemblage of system generated values and secret user keys. The primary enforcements of WEP supported so-called 40-bit encryption, containing a key of 40 bits and 24 extra bits of system produced data. Research has revealed that it is very much easier to decode the 40-bit WEP encryption, and as a result product vendors nowadays use 128-bit encryption or better 256-bit (Hardnono, & Dondeti, 2008).
When communicating through wire, WEP utilize keys in order to encrypt the data stream. The keys generally are not sent on the network rather they stored in the windows registry or on the wireless adapter. Despite of how it is configured on a wireless LAN, WEP just signifies only one aspect of an overall WLAN security scheme. The standard of 802.11 explains the communication that takes place within wireless local area networks (LANs). The (WEP) algorithm is utilized to defend wireless communication from hackers. A secondary purpose of WEP is to stop the illegal approach to a wireless network. WEP depends on a confidential key that is distributed between the access point and the mobile station. The secret key is generally used in order to encrypt the packets before they are transmitted, and integrity verification is used to make sure that packets are not customized during transmission. Another WEP technology offered by the Agere Systems is known as WEP+, which enhances the security by neglecting “weak IVs”. The WEP+ provides its maximum excellence when it is used at both ends of the wireless connection, as this can’t easily be enforced, however, possibilities are always there that possible attack against WEP+ will finally be found (Hardnono, & Dondeti, 2008).
Moreover, Wi-Fi protected access or WPA is another security technology for Wi-Fi networks. WPA technology improves the encryption and authentication feature of WEP. Actually, WPA was developed in response to the deficiencies of WEP by the networking industry. On the other hand, the technology used behind the WPA technology is the utilization of the (TKIP) or Temporal Key Integrity Protocol as this protocol deals with the encryption weaknesses of WEP. Another advantage of the WPA technology is the built-in or default authentication that is not offered by the WEP technology. Furthermore, another variation of the WPA technology is termed as WPA-PSK or WPA Pre Shared Key, is a simple but still strongest structure of WPA most appropriate for business and home Wi-Fi networking (Hardnono, & Dondeti, 2008).
There is another form of WPA technology which is more advanced and safe and is known as WPA2. This technology provides both data integrity and confidentiality. It is observed that WPA2 provides more security to the wireless network. However, WPA2 can’t offer enterprise security alone. Generally IEEE 802.IX port-based protocol is combined with the WPA2 which provides maximum security and guarantees the secure wireless communication. The technology of WPA is utilized with the TKIP protocol, which further utilizes the RC4 cipher, and it can be executed in software having driver or firmware update. WPA supplies integrity checking using MIC, occasionally termed as “Michael. Meanwhile, WPA2, utilizes a new encryption technique known as CCMP or (Counter-Mode with CBC-MAC Protocol), which is stronger than the RC4 (Hardnono, & Dondeti, 2008).
As far as the future of wireless security is concerned the new 802.11 standards simplify this challenge? However time will tells the best. Moreover, the 802.11i standard is the latest wireless security standard designed to put back WEP and give much effective wireless security. 802.11i was believed to be launched together with the 802.11g, however, as we know that we are not living in the perfect world. (WPA) or Wireless Protected Access Alliance certification version 1 executed various features of current 802.11i development, although, not all products of 802.11 which are sold in market having WPA certification. In the current scenario there are currently many 802.11g networks arranged that are still using non-secure and old versions of WEP (Guna, 2009).
In the coming future it is expected that the next Wi-Fi speed standard, 802.11n, will considerably provide a bandwidth of maximum 108Mbps. Moreover, this 108Mbps will become the industry standard. The latest specifications will be launched at least 1 year before by the IEEE. However, draft-based devices and products could come up with compatibility troubles in case if the authorized standard varied from the draft version. Therefore, it’s much better to stay and wait for the ratified standard before building network over non-authorized gears (Tynan, 2004).
On the other side, in coming future, the possible changes regarding Wi-Fi include the methods and procedures to make this technology more and more dependable and secure. Within a year or two the standard of 802.11i standard will be finalized, which will greatly enhance the security level. Moreover, in future in order to handle the data encryption the majority of the 802.11 i-compliant will need the separate co-processors, which indicates that current Wi-Fi devices and equipment will be replaced to achieve the maximum security (Tynan, 2004).
Lastly, in the coming future another advanced standard 802.11e will be largely employed for the special tasks. 802.11e will address the issues of quality services and the delivery of data packets on time. This standard is very much important for certain streaming applications like videoconferencing, and its importance is really vital as business more toward utilizing Voice Over IP on their wireless networks. Some companies have already launched 802.11e standard for some of their products like Broadcom (Tynan, 2004).
These days there are several companies around the globe, which are providing wireless security but when the question arises regarding pioneers the name which strikes first to the mind is “Broadcom.” This company is providing network solution and recently “Broadcom” has declared that the (WAPI) security standards required for all WLAN devices which are sold in China. Moreover, this company declares that it is in the list of companies who first made WLAN chips to present WAPI-enabled assistance designed for mobile devices and wireless routers, including In Concert BCM4325 that joins WLAN, FM technologies and Bluetooth “CBR, 2009).
It is mentioned by the Broadcom, that all the chips control its digital architecture and radio to supply the wireless connectivity in order to share support triple play service and broadband connectivity. According to the Michael Hurlston, general manager as well as vice president of Broadcom, said: “We are delighted to maintain the WAPI standard being a leader in the field of WLAN we are confident and feel proud to be a pioneer of the rapidly increasing wireless communications.” Furthermore, Broadcom, is making effort to promote the global standards for the wireless communication (“Broadcom”, 2003).
The fairly new solution offers an entirely new system to protect the wireless networks against the threats of real world by launching active wireless methods of testing, which are able to evaluate the daily deployed wireless access points. By this approach, the wireless Vulnerability Assessment resolution facilitates IT administrators to find vulnerabilities remotely within their wireless network and automates the authorized agreement reporting, facilitating customers to decrease the operating cost (“Computer Technology Review”, 2009).
Motorola is offering a complete and comprehensive range of WLAN infrastructure resolutions planned to enable the genuine wireless venture, despite the dimensions and size of the business. The company is offering IP or Internet Protocol coverage in outdoors and indoors simultaneously. The company’s wireless range includes mesh, enterprise WLAN, fixed broadband and Motorola solutions for AirDefense wireless security. Moreover, Motorola’s solutions decrease network maintenance and deployment costs, and guarantee the accessibility of commercial and cheap wireless connectivity. By replicating active attacks from the hacker’s viewpoint, the Motorola AirDefense wireless solutions in case of vulnerability Assessment permits the administrator proactively evaluate and assess the level of security of delicate systems over the wireless network, like cardholder data systems. Furthermore, by using the radio device of the wireless sensor to stimulate a wireless client station, the method empowers the IT administrators to perform remotely the assessment of wireless vulnerability from a hacker’s approach (Messmer, 2009).
Motorola Company is recognized around the globe for modernization in the field of communication and is generally centralized on progressing and advancing the mode of style through which world connects. From enterprise mobility, broadband communications infrastructure and public security solutions to mobile devices and high-definition video, Motorola is directing to the next phase of advancement and innovation that will enable people, governments and enterprises to be more attached and more mobile. It is reported that Motorola had sales of nearly US $30.1 billion in year 2008 (Darkreading, 2009).
The issues of spectrum pricing, data protection, and level of security are of primary concern and are having great importance for the advancement and growth of the wireless communication industry. The most important regulatory issue in field of wireless technology is associated with the security, as this issue will be face by the wireless industry over the next two decades. On the other side, the confidence level of the customer in online transactions over the wireless medium is also of great importance. Security contains not only the safety of data but also the safety from monitoring. Distaste for investigation is widely considered as the expected inhibitor of wireless network utilization (Green, 2009).
The basic issues that should be considered are: Wireless communication: as it doesn’t need physical connectivity, also having more chances to survive in case of natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and volcanoes. The other issue is Wireless transmission: as it is easier to seize and intercept than those running over wire-line or fiber connections. Though, fiber can also be intercept however, it is hard to hack it as compare to the wireless. Moreover, public is having common perception that physical connections are having more security and protection. Also, the employment of digital encryption is really helpful to protect the wireless transmission, however, the public concern regarding security and privacy are of great importance and will be addressed in the coming decades by the wireless industry (Green, 2009).
As far as the global implication of wireless security is concerned there are few steps which should be adopted for the implication of wireless security. The initial step towards successful and effective global wireless security is creating a standardized verification infrastructure. However, the user should be required to authenticate on the network. But for the global implication users cannot be enforced to organize or manage multiple user authentication, accounts, identity and passwords. Furthermore, there must be a single set of access identification which must offer for verification at any site or location. Preferably this must be the similar set of certification used to login to the user’s own-workplace. On the other hand, the network systems should be arrange to recognize realms, domain names as well as various other regional identifiers in order that verification or authentication requests can be routed to the approved set of validation servers. By implementing this principle, the user will be able to travel to any place in the world or to any enterprise location and will be granted access to most appropriate networks (Green, 2009).
The second step for the implementation of global wireless security is the change in the access method. It required that the access method should be reliable and consistent everywhere the user travels. Moreover, users don’t want to adjust or reconfigure their systems as they travel from the corporate offices to their branch offices and homes. This indicates that there is a need for the same (Service Set Identifier) or SSID, which should be installed or present everywhere with having same encryption and authentication policies. Additionally, every place must have same authentication infrastructure so that user may not feel any problem. Moreover, users are free enough to be able to start their email application at corporate office, put their laptops in a sleep mode, go home, and start their work again without any need of a separate VPN client (Green, 2009).
Conclusively, the third step is the implementation of the voice mobility. It is observed that many companies and organizations are assessing their (Vo WLAN) or Voice over WI-FI LAN technology today with estimated wide range deployments occasionally in 00 or 0 0. One of the major outcome and benefit for this technology will be the capacity to utilize it everywhere where there is an availability or access of wireless LAN service. When users move to the remote areas or travel to the remote locations, the service of (Vo WLAN) and voice mobility usually permits their Vo-WLAN handsets to start operation in the same manner as they perform in the normal work locations. Moreover, the mobile network infrastructure must offer secure transmission of voice traffic back to the corporate telephony server, quality of service control and reliable encryption and authentication methods all over the global network (Green, 2009).
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