Securing Wireless LANs

LANs are primarily used to share data and exchange information. In business environments, the data often contains critical information on sales, marketing, top−secret deals, and other business−related subjects.

At home, it could be important documents, wills, and precious pictures. With increasing dependence on email, electronic documents, and the Internet, it has become a mission−critical task to ensure LAN security.

LAN security involves adopting proactive measures to protect and safeguard a LAN from adversaries who may want to gain access to the LAN data, degrade a LAN performance, or make a LAN unusable.

The wireless nature and the use of radio frequency in wireless LANs makes securing wireless LANs far more challenging than securing a wired LAN.

Today, wireless LANs have become one of the most interesting targets for hackers. There have been numerous attacks on wireless LANs resulting in widespread skepticism among wireless LAN critics.

In order to successfully deploy wireless LANs, you must understand the basic security needs of a wired LAN and that of the wireless LANs. You must carefully choose and deploy appropriate security measures to ensure that the data in the LAN is secured and remains unharmed from attacks that may originate from external and internal network sources.

Network Security

Ever since the possibility of remote computer access became available, the temptation for unauthorized access to data and resources has been a painful reality.

Computers are continuously being hacked into by malicious or mischievous contenders wishing access to data for any number of reasons ranging from curious exploration to malignant and/or wanton destruction to illegal personal gain.

Hackers have used any and all means available to them including trying to connect to computers using dialup connections as well as network connections over the Internet (in here, the term hacker refers to an individual who attempts to gain unauthorized access to a network with malicious intent).

In addition to the data, access to the host bandwidth is the prize of the parasite. There is a rich body of hacking information and software codes freely and easily available on the Internet as well as underground hacking networks that detail every known vulnerability in every system.

Even a casual and untrained aspirant who is sufficiently foolhardy and resourceful can easily exploit a networked computer using this information without much specialized training.

Although there are many laws on the books making unauthorized computer access a serious crime, the seemingly anonymous nature of the Internet combined with the global reach and sheer number of potential targets has made these crimes very prevalent.

To further exacerbate the matter, multijurisdictional issues as well as varying treatments of computer laws make prosecution well−nigh impossible except in very−high−profile cases.

Network security has two basic types: network operational security and network data security. Network operational security is concerned with safeguarding, securing, and ensuring a flawless operation of a computer network.

Network operational security assumes the roles of information assurance, personnel access control security (controlling who can access the network), defining authorization roles (restricts who can do what on a network), and physical security of the network equipment.

Network data security deals with three main areas: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Confidentiality means that only those who have rightful access should be able to use the information and resources.

Integrity implies that only those who are authorized can modify the information. Availability requires that those who need information and resources should be able to access them when they need them.