Archive for 2011

AirTight SpectraGuard Products Achieve FIPS 140-2 and DISA UC APL Certification

December 16th, 2011

This month, AirTight Networks’ flagship product, SpectraGuard® Enterprise, achieved FIPS 140-2 validation from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the United States and the Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC).

 These standards and guidelines are issued by NIST as Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) for use government-wide. NIST develops FIPS when there are compelling Federal government requirements such as for security and interoperability and there are no acceptable industry standards or solutions. See background information for more details.

Simultaneously, AirTight’s SpectraGuard Server passed TIC tests for inclusion on the DISA UC APL. The DISA UC APL is the single consolidate list of products that have completed interoperability (IO) and information assurance (IA) certification. Use of the DoD UC APL allows DoD Components to purchase and operate UC systems over all DoD network infrastructures.

AirTight’s products are deployed worldwide in many of the most security sensitive United States government and defense organizations to assure security and compliance with requirements such as DoD 8420.01, FISMA and guidelines from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Because AirTight products are always kept up-to-date with certifications such as FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria and DISA; government and defense agencies can take advantage of the powerful wireless security technology provided by AirTight.

DISA UC APL, Federal Government, FIPS 140-2 , , , ,

Skyjacking attack – then Cisco, now Aruba?

July 18th, 2011

Skyjacking Cisco WLC Aruba Mobility Controller AirWave Wi-Fi WIPSRecall “Skyjacking” vulnerability discovered with Cisco LAPs couple of years ago? It allowed hacker to transfer control of enterprise Cisco LAPs from enterprise WLC to hacker controlled WLC in the Internet with over-the-air attack. Once control is transferred, the hacker could change configuration on those LAPs in any way by adding, deleting and modifying SSIDs. The hacker could also tamper with Cisco monitor mode APs and take away the security layer. Cisco Skyjacking exploited vulnerability in Cisco’s over-the-air controller discovery protocol. Know more about it here 

Now a similar vulnerability seems to have been discovered in Aruba OS and AirWave console. The advisory states: “[a]n attacker could plant an AP with maliciously crafted SSID in the general vicinity of the wireless LAN and might trigger a XSS vulnerability in reporting section of the ArubaOS and AirWave WebUIs. This vulnerability could potentially be used to execute commands on the controller with admin credentials.” Though modus operandi is different from Cisco, the end result is similar – transferring the control of Wi-Fi controller to hacker by launching over-the-air attack.

No system is free from vulnerabilities and such things will continue to be discovered. But, you don’t have to give away “hack one, get one free”. You don’t have to give hackers control of Wi-Fi coverage and Wi-Fi security in a single shot. This can be achieved by ensuring that the Wi-Fi security layer operates independent of Wi-Fi infrastrucutre.  Read more…

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AirTight Rated “Strong Positive” by Leading Analyst Firm

July 14th, 2011


We are really excited here at AirTight.  AirTight achieved a rating of “Strong Positive” in Gartner’s 2011 Marketscope Report for Wireless LAN Intrusion Prevention Systems. published this week.  “Strong Positive” is the highest possible rating in a Gartner Marketscope. The July 2011 report was authored by John Girard, VP, Distinguished Analyst, John Pescatore, VP, Distinguished Analyst and Tim Zimmerman, Research Director at Gartner.

2011 Gartner Marketscope On Wireless LAN IPS matrix

2011 Gartner Marketscope On Wireless LAN IPS matrix

If you are concerned about wireless threats to your enterprise, including unapproved personal smart devices, this report outlines the key highlights and limitations of each solution as well as feedback from real customers of each vendor.

The 2011 MarketScope report evaluated vendors on five criteria – customer experience, offering (product) strategy, overall viability (business unit, financial strategy, organization), marketing execution, and product/service.

The report notes in part, “Wi-Fi support is a standard extension of corporate networks, and enterprises must ensure the vulnerability management and intrusion prevention processes be extended to cover wireless and wired networks. WLAN security monitoring in the form of wireless intrusion prevention systems (WIPS) is required to ensure that supported WLAN performance is not impeded by interference or denial-of- service attacks, WLAN traffic is kept private and secure, users are prevented from installing unauthorized WLANs, and unsupported/unauthorized WLAN technologies are barred from operation.”***

***MarketScope Disclaimer

The MarketScope is copyrighted 2011 by Gartner, Inc. and is reused with permission. The MarketScope is an evaluation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner’s analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the MarketScope, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest rating. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Wireless security

IMF, Citigroup, Sony Hacks – Security Lessons to be learned

June 13th, 2011

This article in Information Week  by Mathew J. Schwartz is well worth reading. It is time that security came first and compliance second IMHO. Click on the link below and I would love your feedback on the article and my comments.


What Do IMF, Citigroup, And Sony Hacks Share?
Mathew J. Schwartz,

“Many organizations have been focusing on complying with regulations, rather than taking a top-down look at what most needs to be secured, security experts say.”


I believe this article by Mathew  is right on the money.  Compliance does not equal security.  It is time for organizations to understand that security is not just some incessant fly they can swat away and then forget until the next time it comes back.  Many of these organizations are dealing with data so sensitive that release of it can bring down governments or ruin individual lives. 

Security is not a once and done.  It is an ongoing, layered process that must take into account all current and emerging threats, such as smartphones, iPhones, iPads and droids – all of which come Wi-Fi enabled – meaning they can create bridges into your network even if you have not rolled out wireless.

Information Week also has a great slide show of the ten largest breaches you might find useful:

10 Massive Security Breaches

Wireless security

WIPS complements MDM security by blocking personal smart devices

May 27th, 2011

With the explosive growth of smart devices in the enterprise, Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a hot topic among IT departments these days.  In order to secure the network and protect sensitive data on mobile endpoints, many organizations are deploying tools to secure, monitor, and manage smart devices accessing their networks.  Installing an MDM agent on mobile assets gives the IT department the ability to enforce VPNs, remotely wipe data off stolen/lost devices, and ensure that devices under management by the IT staff are running the most current and secure applications.

But is this really enough to protect you?

No.  In today’s “BYOD” (bring your own device) culture, the reality is that personal smart devices will continue to attach to your network. These devices may not have your favorite MDM agents running on them, thus exposing your network and data to security threats again.  Enterprises need a “gatekeeper” control to ensure that only approved devices with an installed MDM agent can attach to the corporate network. By adding a strong WIPS solution to your enterprise security portfolio, you will have the ability to enforce such control and complete your mobile security strategy.

A robust wireless IPS solution (WIPS) will detect, identify and locate unauthorized smart devices connecting to the network, generate a real time alert or even better – block those unmanaged devices from connecting in the first place.  Better yet, a good WIPS will allow you to define your security policy by device type, VLAN, and location.  For example, iPhones could be allowed to connect to the guest network for Internet access, but could still be blocked from accessing the internal network.

Watch this technical webinar for more information.

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Android found vulnerable to sidejacking!

May 18th, 2011

Last Friday, a vulnerability in Google’s ClientLogin Protocol was disclosed that makes most Android users vulnerable to ”sidejacking.” All services (Calender, Contacts, Picasa, Stock Quotes, etc.) that use the Google’s ClientLogin API for “Auto Sync” are vulnerable. 

Sidejacking (aka session hijacking) is not new to Wi-Fi. Firesheep that caused a stir last October is a recent example of a tool demonstrating sidejacking attack against Twitter and Facebook. The latest vulnerability though holds significance given the huge userbase of Android smartphones commonly using their smartphones at Open Wi-Fi hotspots. Read more…

Wireless security , , , , ,

AirTight demos PCI and WiFi cloud solutions at NACStech conference

May 12th, 2011

AirTight Networks will be demonstrating cloud-based PCI compliance and Wi-Fi access solutions at the NACStech conference in Las Vegas, May 16-18.

AirTight Cloud Services provides scanning for, detection of, and prevention against rogue access points (APs) and other wireless vulnerabilities to satisfy PCI compliance requirements, while laying the foundation for strategic wireless initiatives in the future.

With AirTight, convenience store operators can deploy secure Wi-Fi access, wireless PCI compliance scanning, and wireless IPS capabilities in a singe device managed from anywhere on the Internet.

AirTight’s combination wireless AP/security sensor provides an affordable, easy-to-deploy and use, scalable Wi-Fi access solutions that can meet their Wi-Fi  needs while maintaining PCI compliance and network security.  This seamless transition gives IT complete control and maximum flexibility to roll out WiFi with no additional equipment to purchase, no additional deployment costs, and without compromising security or PCI compliance.

Offered as a monthly service, costs are kept to a minimum.  Subscription fees include all equipment, support and maintenance, as well as device replacement and upgrades during the term of the contract.

For more information and a live demo of AirTight’s award winning products, please visit AirTight Networks at booth #324 at the NACStech Conference in Las Vegas, May 16-18.

WiFi Access

Are Smartphones the New Platform for “Mobile Hacktivism”

May 9th, 2011

There’s been a lot of news in recent weeks surrounding the Sony PlayStation Network breaches.  One of the questions that I have received multiple times since this started is whether or not this was a wireless breach or if wireless was  in any way part of the Sony vulnerability.

From what we understand, no.  It sounds like web servers were compromised.  But could these types of attacks happen over Wi-Fi?  You bet.

“Hacktivists” essentially volunteer to participate in these coordinated attacks. The tools used are often easy to use and freely available.  They just need people willing to join the cause to create the distributed denial of service.   Firewalls are supposed to keep the “bad guys” out, but there is nothing stopping anyone from putting these same tools on a smartphone and carrying out these same attacks from INSIDE an organization, not just remotely from the Internet.

These same techniques used against Sony, MasterCard, and Visa as well as the type of attack that breached TJX can now be launched from personal smart devices (Iphones, Ipads, Androids, etc.) inside your network.   In fact, Gopinath K.N., Director of Engineering at AirTight Networks has demonstrated just this type of scenario at various security conferences and on-line presentations.  See his demo here.

Additionally, smartphone malware can be distributed in the form of an application easily downloaded from the Internet (think of all the gaming and social media apps available for iPhones and Androids). Its really no different than how PCs become infected with worms, viruses and malware by visiting untrusted sites and downloading insecure applications.

Once the malware is installed, if that compromised smart device attaches to the corporate network, the malware can be used to launch a stealthy attack from inside the corporate network – with or without the knowledge or consent of the smart device owner .  Sensitive data could even be sent off-site via the device’s own Wi-Fi or 3G radio.

Considering that smart devices and tablets now outnumber PCs in new sales, this may not be so far fetched.  A major difference between PC security and smart devices is that the tools to detect and defend PCs from these vulnerabilities is significantly more mature and widely deployed then smartphone security in practice today.  Organizations need to determine whether or not unauthorized smartphones are allowed to attach to their Wi-Fi  networks (guest and corporate), and how they will enforce wireless security policies to keep themselves secure.

Wireless gadgets

SMBs, WEP still a target for War Drivers

May 9th, 2011

After the TJX breach, the PCI security council strengthened their wireless security standard in an attempt to prevent such catastrophic incidents from reoccurring.  While some of the largest retailers strengthened their wireless security, small and medium businesses need to take a look at their own security practices because they are just as susceptible, maybe more.  In its annual Data Breach Investigations Report earlier this week, Verizon said “criminals are increasingly hitting smaller businesses as it becomes harder to steal financial data from big companies.”

War-driving is still more common than most people probably think, but the number of incidents reported by small and medium businesses is very low.  In most cases, WEP encryption is still the target.  In a recent Network World article reported that Seattle police are investigating a group of criminals attacking local businesses via Wi-Fi access points encrypted with the flawed WEP protocol.  Does this appear to be an isolated incident? No.  According to the Seattle police, this group of criminals has been suspected of these types wireless attacks for as many as *5 years*.

What is troubling is the number of retailers that continue to opt for a “compensating control” to address their wireless security requirements.  Even PCI’s “approved” methods including quarterly wireless scans and visual inspections are insufficient to protect your business.   Wi-Fi is everywhere, its easy to find an unencrypted (or poorly encrypted) signal.

Until companies understand the risk of properly secured Wi-Fi, they will remain susceptible.    Just ask the guys in Seattle.



Wireless scanning

Are smartphones outsmarting your network security?

April 1st, 2011

If you are concerned about the proliferation of smart devices (Iphones, Droids, tablets) and the impact on  your network security, then this is a “can’t miss” webinar.   The inability to detect and block unauthorized personal devices from attaching to your network puts your business at risk.  AirTight CTO and Founder Pravin Bhawat discusses the challenges with mobile device management and the limitations of existing wireless network security measures.

Listen to the recorded webinar here.

Wireless scanning