Chapter 7: Security and Wireless LANs

Cisco Press

The purpose of this chapter is to provide you with enough information to tackle the challenge of securing your WLAN infrastructure. This book repeatedly mentions the need for a security posture because security in your network is only as strong as the weakest link. This chapter provides an overview of key security components in WLANs, fundamental security vulnerabilities, key WLAN security standards, and security management challenges.

Wireless Security in Your Enterprise

The fundamental premise of security in networked environments is that no network is truly secure. Even a network that is not connected to the Internet can be compromised if physical access can somehow be obtained. This point further drives home the point that there is no perfect way to secure a network.

To approach security, you need an awareness of the components that determine how to secure your infrastructure while maintaining an attitude of elevated paranoia. You should always assume that at some point in time there will probably be an attempt to break into your network with the goal of compromising intellectual property or disrupting your business.

Attacks don't necessarily come from the outside. Research from the Computer Security Institute (CSI) and the FBI has shown that most security attacks come from the inside of an enterprise: (http://www.gocsi.com/forms/fbi/csi_fbi_survey.jhtml). (The document is free after registering at the CSI website.)

These attacks can be intentional, such as a disgruntled employee, or unintentional, as in the case where a computer is infected by a virus. The unintentional act is more likely to happen and probably more destructive. Armed with this state of healthy paranoia, you can strike the delicate balance between how much you invest to secure your infrastructure and the degree of difficulty an attacker needs to overcome.

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