Wireless Network Security: A Beginner's Guide

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Ben Rothke

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The T.J. Maxx data breach of 2007 (the hacking actually started in 2005, but was only detected in 2007), came about due to insecure wireless connectivity. 

Estimates at the time put the costs for this security fiasco at a staggering $4.5 billion, based on costs of $100 per lost record, in addition to legal, administrative and many others expenditures.

At $40.00, Wireless Network Security a Beginner's Guide by Tyler Wrightson is an inexpensive way to ensure that your company does not become the victim of a wireless-based attack.

The book is an easy to read, yet technically broad guide to everything you need to know about wireless security and how to ensure it is effectively deployed.

The first 2 chapters provide an introduction into the world of wireless network security.  It covers high-level information security topics and why wireless security is crucial. With that, it shows how wireless is often the attacker’s method of choice, given that wireless is often incorrectly deployed, and open to attack.

The next 9 chapters go into significant depth into the core areas of wireless and how to secure it.  Chapter 3 is about attacks on wireless networks and provides the reader with a multifaceted understanding of how an attacker can penetrate a wireless network, and what the security administrator must do in order to keep them out.

Part 3 of the book is Real-World Wireless Security Defenses and is where the book gets into the nitty-gritty of wireless security and goes into important areas such as using digital certificates, handling wireless guest access, handling rogue access points and more.

The remaining chapters detail how to properly install and configure wireless in an enterprise setting.  Each chapter includes numerous tips and notes, helping the reader ensure that they don’t fall into misconfiguring their wireless security, akin to the T.J. Maxx mistakes.

The book concludes with a brief introduction to Linux, which is the wireless engineers O/S of choice.  Wrightson spends some time detailing the uses of BackTrack Linux, the penetration testing distribution of choice. For those looking for more detail about BackTrack, Defense against the Black Arts: How Hackers Do What They Do and How to Protect against It is another book that details how to use it.

Had the staff at T.J. Maxx had this book at hand and used it, they may have been able to save themselves a significant amount of money.

For those looking for a comprehensive overview of wireless security, Wireless Network Security a Beginner's Guide is a great place to start.

Cross-posted from RSA

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