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Wireless Vulnerability Management:What It Means for Your Enterprise

Wireless Vulnerability Management:What It Means for Your Enterprise

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Published by AirTightNetworks
This whitepaper revisits the wireless security space, debunks common myths, and presents wireless vulnerability management (WVM) as a proactive strategy to wireless security. WVM is a two-prong approach. Conducting wireless security audits to assess the security posture of a network is the first and necessary step towards managing wireless vulnerabilities.
Following, a graded approach can be taken to remediate the vulnerabilities, pass regulatory compliance, and secure critical assets.
This whitepaper revisits the wireless security space, debunks common myths, and presents wireless vulnerability management (WVM) as a proactive strategy to wireless security. WVM is a two-prong approach. Conducting wireless security audits to assess the security posture of a network is the first and necessary step towards managing wireless vulnerabilities.
Following, a graded approach can be taken to remediate the vulnerabilities, pass regulatory compliance, and secure critical assets.

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Published by: AirTightNetworks on Oct 18, 2010
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03/11/2013

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AIRTIGHT NETWORKSWHITE
 
PAPER
© 2008 AirTight Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
Wireless Vulnerability Management:What It Means or Your Enterprise
A White
P
aper by AirTight Networks, Inc.
339 N. Bernardo Avenue, Suite 200, Mountain View, CA 94043www.airtightnetworks.com
© 2008 AirTight Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
AIRTIGHT NETWORKSWHITE
 
PAPER
© 2008 AirTight Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
2
Executive summary
 The instant and obvious benefts o WiFi have made WLANs a big successin public, private, and enterprise sectors. Unortunately, the adoption o correct security measures or WLANs is lagging ar behind the ast paceat which these networks are being deployed. The presence o WiFi inmost laptops and handhelds, the simplicity o independently installingWiFi networks, and the ease o exploiting wireless vulnerabilities havetogether escalated the risks maniold. Even organizations that do notown a WLAN are equally at risk.
A wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) is the prevalent approach or mitigatingwireless security threats. However, businesses cannot always justiy the cost o buyinga ull-edged WIPS solution. Some consider the limited WIPS unctionality in-built incertain WLAN inrastructure as sucient. For others that do not own a WLAN, a commonmisconception is simply having a “no WiFi” policy makes their corporate network immuneto wireless threats. A undamental problem underlying this conusion is that businessesare unable to assess their security posture and ail to comprehend the severity o associ-ated risks. In many cases, they complacently all back to a “no action” plan leaving themexposed. This whitepaper revisits the wireless security space, debunks common myths, and presentswireless vulnerability management (WVM) as a proactive strategy to wireless security.WVM is a two-prong approach. Conducting wireless security audits to assess the securityposture o a network is the rst and necessary step towards managing wireless vulner-abilities. Following, a graded approach can be taken to remediate the vulnerabilities,pass regulatory compliance, and secure critical assets.
Wireless Vulnerability Management:What It Means or Your Enterprise
 
AIRTIGHT NETWORKSWHITE
 
PAPER
© 2008 AirTight Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
3
Wireless broadband access is becoming a liestyle. WiFi networks are everywhere: romoces, warehouses, retails stores, and schools to hotel lobbies, airports, cofee shops,and on the street. WiFi is easy to install and convenient to use. The plug-and-play natureo the technology and the unguided nature o the wireless medium that are central tothe benets o WiFi are also the primary reasons that make WLANs inherently vulnerableto a security breach. The simplicity allows users to buy inexpensive of-the-shel equipment and install it inde-pendently, without bothering about the ramications o their action. Most users do notcomprehend the associated risks. The invisible radio waves used or transmission makethe traditional “harden-the-network-perimeter” security approach obsolete. Radio wavesoten spill beyond the connes o a building. Malicious hackers in the airspace can usethese waves to enter your network and steal sensitive data. This means that even a singlewireless device on your premises, let alone a wireless LAN, can open a wireless backdoorto your corporate backbone network that is otherwise protected by non-wireless rewallsand intrusion detection systems.Wireless security is commonly misunderstood as security
for 
wireless networks. In act,wireless security today is an inevitable piece o the overall network and data securitypuzzle. So, the right question to ask is not ‘Is my wireless network secure?’ but ‘Is mynetwork 
wireless-secure? 
.
Escalating Risks rom Wireless Vulnerabilities
Businesses are increasingly relying on WiFi, but without appropriate security measures,they are prime candidates or a security breakdown. The recent wireless security survey(published in June 2007) conducted in areas o New York, London, and Paris by RSA, TheSecurity Division o EMC, reported the ollowing:
Exponential increase (up to 160%) in the number o WiFi access points (APs) in one year.Over 20% APs in all three cities were unprotected giving easy access to unauthorized users.Up to 30% APs had actory-deault settings, which grossly violate best practices normso operating WLANs and are highly vulnerable.Up to 76% APs were identied as hotspots that provide Internet access in public places;some hotspots are potentially ake (
aka
honeypots) and used or identity thet andstealing sensitive data.The survey concluded: “Continued education or both businesses and consumersregarding [wireless] security considerations, best practices, and the potential orcorporate disruption, is essential.”
Wireless Vulnerability Management:What It Means or Your Enterprise

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