Technologies have grown so vast but people tend to grow even faster to tweak them. One of the important and most power full technology that has ever been invented in the field of networking is Wireless Communication. In the same way the technology has improved, the same way its breaches have been improving. Securing a network is as important as implementing it. Various encryptions have come and methods to prevent hacking have emerged. But still networks have been sniffed and hacked in one way or the other. But implementing some kind of a security is far better than leaving the network unsecured. The importance of Wireless security and the technologies and techniques used are discussed in this case study. Justifications of each of the technologies suggested are also discussed and are reported as an assignment.
Wireless Communications as they are radio transmissions do not have a physical boundary. So interception of a radio wave is as simple as just turning on a receiver and there you go. So all signals that are transmitted via the antennas must be encrypted and for a receiver to accept the signal must be first authenticated. So authentication and encryption are the two main terms that are to be taken in to account for this case study. Lots of vulnerabilities and threats are prevalent with wireless communications. The first wireless attack was performed in early 1970?s. Securing the network involves dedication in each and every step of the configuration of the network. At the end of the day it is the users who are going to be in trouble. Making use of multiple levels of security techniques will achieve an effective configuration of the network.
2 Threats and Security Vulnerabilities to WLAN This section covers the various threats and vulnerabilities to Wireless Local Area Networks. Some General Terms of Possible Violations:
Hacking - General term to violate laws and enter restricted networks. Cracking - Breaking passwords and entering protected networks. Sniffing - Getting passwords by knowing personal details. Snooping - Unauthorised access to data by eavesdropping. Shoulder - Observing typed in passwords with keystrokes to gain access. DOS - Flooding the network with unwanted data and prevent access. Virus - Programming the network to invoke corruption. Man in middle-Authenticated data corrupted and transmitted. Insider- Authorised personnel performing a hack. Key logger - Use of software to record typed in keystrokes to hack accounts.
All these terms are methods with which a hack can be performed. Many more methods are present on the same. These are methods that are used in all networks. But wireless network has its own threats. Some of the methods above also come in with wireless hacking.
Threats to wireless networks are as follows:
Any network has vulnerabilities from inside and outside the network. Internal threats are more prevalent than outside threats. All threats are not intentionally done. Threats to wireless networks can be categorised with users of three main profiles.
Malicious attacker -Intentional users trying to access protected networks with a goal to actually steal data, cause mischief, delete important data or bring a disruption to the network. Malicious attacks are more with intent to either show off or any disputes with the user in the network.
Unaware insider -Personnel working within the network unintentionally gaining access to protected data or acting as a source to spread viruses or edit or delete important authenticated data. Unintentional insider attacks are becoming more prevalent than any other possible attack.
War Driving - Individual or group of users moving around possible regions to detect open and unprotected WLAN?s to use them to perform illegal activities. If one such network is found, hackers actually mark down the streets to let know other war drivers that there is a network to exploit. This is called as war chalking.
There are various attacking strategies than one of the above can perform hacking. Knowing these strategies help network administrators to prevent them and securing the network. The strategies used are discussed below.
Traffic Analysis- A simple method to just analyse what all SSID?s are available in the nearby vicinity, using just a receiver as a scanner and determining the load of information transmitted, its source and destination, size of packets and so on.
Eavesdropping - Monitoring the network about its payload and its transfers, if encrypted breaking the code to read the plain text is done either passively or actively. In active eavesdropping the attacker not only just listens to the network but also actively injects some malicious information in to the data stream.
Interception - All radio signals can be intercepted as there are no physical boundaries. Data when intercepted results in loss as it cannot be reorganised. This results in loss of intellectual property and exploitation of information.
Rouge AP?s -Insiders installing their own access points to give more mobility and comfort is becoming a threat. Low cost of access points lure users to get one for their personal use of the company?s network. Plugging in the Ethernet port with a networked cable becomes an open threat to the whole network. Any user can login in to the network and make use of it.
DOS attack -Denial of Service attack is a result of overloading the network. Repeated broadcasting of multiple packets of data to the network causes flooding of the ports and denies access to the users in the network. Since wireless networks are of limited bandwidth DOS creates a major problem if occurred.
Session High jacking -session high jacking is where the attacker steals an authenticated session away from its original destination, resulting in a loss to the confidentiality of the WLAN. This is a real time attack and the attacker can make the session prolong for what even time he or she wants it for.