No WLAN On Your Nets? Wi-Fi Security's Still a Concern

by Michael Hall

Network News Break: Even if you don't even have a WLAN operating on your nets, the combination of cheap, consumer-friendly Wi-Fi gear and lousy security interfaces can cause problems. Also: AT&T says it can see DDoS attacks from a mile off, Intel releases Centrino drivers for Linux, and anti-virus vendors report there are still viruses in the world.

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Color us jaded, but we thought tales of prowling wardrivers, like this one from the AP, were a fading memory. Evidently not. On the bright side for enterprise-based wireless networkers, the reporter seemed to think that the bulk of the unsecured networks he and his wardriver companion were spotting were largely residential, in keeping with the explosive growth of Wi-Fi among personal and SoHo computer users. So maybe, the cold-hearted realist wants to believe, all these unsecured wireless 'nets will cause the average wardriver to pass the juicier but more secure corporate nets by in the quest for free bandwidth and a stepping-off point for disagreeable behavior.

But as much as we'd like to shrug off stories like this as old news (and they are to networking professionals who've been making sure there's wireless pipe in range of the executive meeting rooms for a few years now), it's very simple to hang plug-n-play wireless devices off "the last foot," creating a situation where a well-meaning user who isn't responsible for your network's security is maintaining a surreptitious but dangerous and unsecured segment.

So even if you don't even maintain a wireless network, wireless networking technology and its relative security should be a concern. If you maintain unencrypted services over your wired LAN, thinking the physical security of your network is the final word in terms of its virtual security could be a bad mistake.


» AT&T has announced DDoS Defense, which the company claims can detect and divert suspect traffic while allowing authorized traffic to continue unimpeded. The new product is part of the larger AT&T Internet Protect, which the company claims saw Sasser before it reached critical mass, allowing AT&T to warn customers weeks in advance.

» F5 Networks has aquired MagniFire WebSystems for $29 million. The company plans to put its new acquisition's TrafficShield security appliances to work for protection against attacks occurring at the application level, such as worms and viruses.

» Amedia Networks announced the introduction of its QoStream Fiber-to-the-Premises access product. The product is based on tech licensed from Lucent and is aimed at allowing "service providers, cable operators, municipalities, and real estate developers to deliver cost effective high-speed Internet access, high definition and standard definition digital video, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to business and residential customers." Product availability is slated for Q3 of this year.

» Intel has released the first 802.11g Centrino drivers for Linux. Your Linux-using laptop clients probably won't see much benefit from the new drivers for a while, though. The company cautions that they're of pre-beta quality at this point.

» Trend Micro and Sofos both issued their monthly "it's as bad as you think and they are out to get you" reports to kick off June. Both firms vary in the total number of new worms, trojans, viruses, and assorted other malware floating around out there, but they agree that Sasser was a pain in May. In the "Grimly Amusing" department is a quote from an analyst in one report who says that while there might be less unique examples of malware out there, that's largely a result of code reuse on the part of malware authors.

The Week in CrossNodes

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Network News Break is CrossNodes' daily summary of networking news and opinion, served up fresh daily. Please send your comments and suggestions to the editor.
This article was originally published on Tuesday Jun 1st 2004