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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Mitigating Wireless Security Attacks

Arun Koshal
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Arun Koshal
Wireless networks and WiFi based devices are growing rapidly. Enterprises are rolling out wireless LANs to cut costs and increase productivity. Today all laptops, PDAs, and smart phones have WiFi built in. Wireless LANs allows users to access their information while they move from one location to another. The freedom and mobility that WLANs promise, however, also present some serious security challenges. Wide usage of WLANs and increasing security threats require successful implementation of a robust and secure wireless network.

This paper addresses known security threats to wireless networks. Not only the outsiders pose security threats to the wireless networks, but also the insiders, the valid users of the networks, can attack the network to gain access to critical information which they would not otherwise be entitled. We discuss various types of attacks on confidentiality, integrity of communication on the network and also the denial of service attacks, these are generally termed as CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability) attacks.

Wireless Security Threats

Traffic Sniffing: Traffic sniffing is a simple technique whereby the attacker captures and analyzes the wireless network traffic. The attacker only needs a wireless card operating in promiscuous mode and wireless packet sniffer to capture the packets.

The attacker attempts to identify activity on the network and physical location of the AP(s) by using directional antenna with GPS system. An attacker may also learn of through traffic analysis is the type of protocols being used in the transmissions. This knowledge is obtained based on the size, type and the number of packets in transmission over a period of time. The information gathered by the attacker can be used subsequently to attack the wireless network.


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