Wireless LAN Security: What Hackers Know That You Donít
Published 2008, Posted March 2009
Because of their flexibility, affordability, and ease of installation, the use of wireless local area networks (wireless LANS, WLANs, and Wi-Fi) are increasing at a tremendous rate. According to In-Stat MDR estimates, there are currently more than 75 million wireless LANs in use worldwide, with 40 million more estimated to begin operation this year. META Group and In-Stat/MDR estimate that 95% of corporate laptop computers that will be shipped in 2005 will be equipped for wireless operation. An equal amount of wireless support devices, such as access points, routers, printers, scanners, and handhelds, are also being produced to meet the demand for wireless.
As wireless LAN deployments increase, so does the challenge to provide these networks with security. Wireless LANs face the same security challenges as their wired counterparts, and more. Because the medium for wireless is air, wireless LANs have the added issue of securing data that travels the airwaves. This has given momentum to a new generation of hackers who specialize in inventing and deploying innovative methods of hijacking wireless communications.
Some enterprises believe they do not have to concern themselves with wireless security if they run non-mission-critical systems with non-sensitive information on their wireless LANs. This can be a costly mistake, since most enterprise wireless LANs connect back to a wired network at some point. Hackers can use a user laptop as an entry point into the entire enterprise network!
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