TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Cracking the Wireless Security Code

Cracking the Wireless Security Code

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 26 Oct 2004 01:08:56 -0400

By Joel Snyder and Rodney Thayer

Is it possible to deploy a secure wireless LAN with technology
available today? That question preys on the minds of IT executives who
are tempted to deploy enterprise WLANs, but are hesitant because of
security concerns.

So we assembled 23 wireless products from 17 vendors and ran them
through a battery of tests aimed at getting the answer.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is very weak in many products, and we
don't recommend using it other than in very specialized cases. WEP's
successor, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) has flaws but provides solid
security when combined with 802.1X authentication and deployed
carefully. Ultimately, 802.11i, the standard that replaces WEP and
WPA, will provide all the tools needed to protect WLANs.

To their credit, vendors are aggressively shipping products at all
prices that support enterprise-class security features. Two-thirds of
the products tested support 802.1X, and vendors are moving rapidly to
comply with 802.11i standards.

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