Even with development of new concepts of technology such as wireless networks, new problems on how secure these networks often tend to face networks administrators. Companies’ executives often worry that their data is not securely stored and may be lost to their competitors at any time especially due to the vulnerability of these new technologies. As part of analyzing this problem and finding issues regarding these networks, this report will detail some of the major problems that companies and individuals in the world today are facing, while the outline will offer advice on the way forward to address these issues.
Today’s technology is leaning more towards avoiding cables and embracing new trends such as wireless networks. Organizations are also opting for these networks as they are cheap yet they can play the same role as these cabled networks. Not a single organization wants to lag behind in embracing these wireless technologies as they assist them to operate remotely and serve a huge number of people at a single instance. In an article by Chris Weber and Gary Bahadur, the two confess that wireless networks in as far as they have their challenges; they release organizations and individuals from copper wires and the cost of installing the infrastructure (Weber & Bahadur, 2014). The two also add that wireless networks are useful as they pose limitless options of sharing and communication cheaply to organizations and people. At one point or another, a person has to work under the wireless networks making them vulnerable to the issues of security and privacy.
Statement of the problem
Wireless networks security arises as a problem due to their vulnerability to eavesdropping. An individual’s or organizations’ wireless networks may be monitored which would mean their privacy would be at stake. In some cases, it would mean loss of valuable information which would put them at vulnerable positions (Weber & Bahadur, 2014). For example, if a company lost their customers credit card information, this would mean that these customers might lose their money too. The problem further escalates as it is not possible to determine whether an organization has put forth all the required measures to ensure security on their networks (Weber & Bahadur, 2014). Every day, hackers seem to be designing new ingenious ways of peeping through the wireless networks hence making the problem harder for network administrators to be up to the task.
Discussions and Suggested Solutions
Some authors have been keen in giving their views on how companies could set measures to address this problem. Most of these authors confess that the technologies are still at their infancy and thus the right way to address the problem would be to look at all angles that would lead the individuals to be at vulnerable positions. Chen et al (2013), comments that solutions to ensuring the security of wireless networks focuses on tackling two main problems which are prevention of eavesdropping on any hacker or individual who could be listening the networks since they may have access to all the packets on the network if they have the correct authentication. Some organization chose a range of solutions by choosing to encrypt their wireless securities through static shared keys, negotiated keys or dynamically generated keys. Erecting a fence around the organization also curtails the number of individuals who may try to sniff to the networks as they would be kept off. The second solution closely relates to the firsts only that the organizations are keen set authentication only allowing the right individuals to access the network.
Normally, a wireless network embraces a broadcast nature; this means that an individual who is within the range of the network can intercept the flow of data packets without technically creating an interruption on base station and the wireless card. The duty of a wireless network administer is to establish that there are no interception between a base station and the wireless card. In most cases, they do this by relying on the already configured wired systems to control the data leaving the data bank or the data house. Li et al (2013) suggests that it is not possible to have an absolute solution even for the network administrators, but by understanding the structure of your network and noting the pointers to ascertain these networks, an organization might set prevention mechanisms. The structures of the wireless networks can embrace two forms; the small network and the large network environment.
Security Risk on Small Networks
The most vulnerable forms of the networks are the small networks known by the standard 802.11a and 802.11b. Small organizations that embrace wireless networks do not establish their own measures on how they can avoid vulnerability. They often really on RADIUS servers that are inexpensive and the respective security measures that have been set by the manufacturers of these devices. Kahate (2013) advises that the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) on these gargets is not very secure, and an experienced hacker may hack onto them with ease. Vacca (2013) also adds that hackers can use free software such as Airsnort; a software that involves gathering of five to ten million encrypted packets from a certain network allowing it to guess the password protection. WEP also fails in addressing the problem of individuals eavesdropping on one another within a network since encryption only protects an outsider and not individuals who are within the network.
Larger Wireless Network Environment
With such a high level of vulnerability on WEP, most administrators try to address the problem of individual’s eavesdropping on one another within a network by creating independent encryption keys. Some organizations may decide to embrace the static key method by creating static IP on the central authority. This allows logging the MAC on addresses of different users should they decide to change and use another person’s address. Some institutions embrace the DHCP which applies the same concept by setting a list of different addresses on the network hence allowing accessibility to authenticated user into a network. It is worth noting that in as far as these methods request for authentication, they do not curtail the problem of eavesdropping on the network.
Newer Trends and Their Roles on These Networks
Aside from DHCP and assigning static IP, there are new trends being developed to improve the probability of authentication. Rutgers University created Archipelago; a system that allows authentication before people can connect to any subset of the network. Archipelago requests the user to go through a firewall which rests between all networks and the base stations. For users to access the network, they have to open a browser and set in specific log in details. At the log in site, they are requested to identify themselves and when they are granted the access, traffic may begin to pass through to the networks. Every few minutes the system self checks to ensure the connection is still working. In as far as Archipelago addresses accountability; it also fails to curb eavesdropping.
There are other technologies that are applied such as VPN in protecting the traffic, Bluesocket Inc has an feature which combines the functionality of Archipelago and VPN, Cisco Aironet wireless cards which try to focus on offering solutions on authentication through extensible authentication protocol. They all are very effective, but they do not offer a sure way on how to address the problem of eavesdropping (Chen et al, 2013).