As the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) tide rises, the network and security admins wonder if their existing Wi-Fi infrastructure security will hold on. In particular, will WPA2 with PEAP, which is pretty much the norm for the Wi-Fi infrastructure security in the enterprise networks today, continue to be adequate? WPA2 with PEAP is simple enough, still strong enough, and has served the enterprise Wi-Fi security needs very well in the past several years. The forthcoming BYOD revolution however pops a new challenge for WPA2 and will require additional thinking on part of the network and security admins about how to complement PEAP to address some of the BYOD security issue. This new challenge comes from the ease with which people can bring in personal mobile devices on the enterprise premises and connect them to the WPA2 enterprise Wi-Fi network without administrator knowledge or help.
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.
The year 2010 witnessed continued growth in the enterprise WiFi deployments. The growth was fueled by the latest 802.11n revision to WiFi technology in the late 2009 and ready availability of WiFi in most consumer electronic devices launched in 2010, including the smart phones, printers, scanners, cameras, tablets, TVs, etc. The year 2010 also witnessed popularity of the specialized WiFi centric devices, such as MiFi.
However, the year 2010 also has some major WiFi security revelations/incidents in its kitty, which re-emphasize the continued need for adoption of the best practices for secure Wi-Fi deployment/usage. Here is the run-down on significant WiFi insecurity events which we witnessed in 2010:
- Windows 7 virtual WiFi can turn a machine into a soft Rogue, which took Rogue AP thinking to a new level beyond the commercially available AP hardware.
- Insecurity exposed due to MiFi like devices after the WiFi malfunction was experienced at two major trade shows in 2010 due to these devices – the first one was Google’s first public demo of Google TV and second was iPhone 4 launch at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Though this manifested as performance problem, it did show how easy it had become to set up personal HoneyPot AP or Hotspot AP on enterprise premises. Read more…
My 12 yr old son was fiddling with his iTouch in the back seat of the car last week when it finally dawned on him that he could see several available wi-fi networks in our neighborhood from the front of the house . “Hey, I can connect to Marci’s wi-fi ! Can we sit in the driveway for a couple minutes so I can download some songs?”
Hmm.. Maybe I can use this to my advantage to get the kids in the car so we can actually be someplace on time. “Hey kids, better hurry, you only have 3 minutes to download songs before we go to the dentist.”