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Wireless Security - Essay Example

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Wireless Security

For companies seeking to expand a computer network or make their employees more mobile, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can provide a cost-effective way to maximize access to shared data and resources. Major technology companies are behind both standards, and the price and choice of products should only improve. By its nature, wireless access opens up the potential for wireless eavesdropping and data theft. (Johansson et al., 2007)Wi-Fi networks have to be carefully encrypted to prevent unauthorized use. For example, people committing fraud or dealing in illegal materials via the Internet would find advantages in hacking a Wi-Fi network for Internet access that couldn't be traced to the hacker. Meanwhile, hackers have been known to monitor Wi-Fi networks in order to steal financial data and account information.
The answer to Wi-Fi security may lie in "centralized" switches. Originally, Wi-Fi antennas were complex systems that might include networking and security in the same box with the antenna. This means that if a hacker could penetrate one box, entry might be gained to the entire network. (Broch et al., 2007) This is extremely difficult to monitor and prevent in a corporation's building-wide system that might contain hundreds of antennas. Centralized Wi-Fi systems, being sold with great success by relatively new firms such as Aruba Networks, Inc. and competitors Trapeze Networks, Inc. and HP ProCurve (formerly Colubris Networks), use networks of simpler antennas, each containing a minimum of software and circuitry, all controlled from a sophisticated, very secure central switch. This concept greatly enhances security and eases maintenance and monitoring compared to previous generations of Wi-Fi antenna. (Larsson and Hedman, 2006)
As in virtually all wireless technologies, the popular Bluetooth also has security issues to consider. Hackers practicing "bluesnarfing" or "bluebugging" may be able to locate and gather data from Bluetooth-enabled devices. (Perrig & Tygar , 2002)However, the latest models of cell phones from makers such as Nokia have enhanced security measures in place, and software upgrades are often available for older devices in order to enhance security. Nonetheless, additional security concerns surfaced in U.S. news stories claiming that hackers with specially crafted receivers are able to eavesdrop on cell phone conversations on Bluetooth-wireless headsets, or to capture data being transmitted by a Bluetooth-enabled laptop. (Chin, et al., 2002) The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is strongly recommending 16-digit alphanumeric security codes to be set by individual users; such lengthy codes would be much harder to crack than the short codes used by many devices today. (Perrig & Tygar , 2002)
In Japan, a number of wireless companies are offering cell phone models equipped with cutting-edge biometric security devices. Fujitsu Ltd. makes a chip that is now embedded in DoCoMo phones that identifies a user's fingerprint. If the print does not match, the phone doesn't work. Other companies, including Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., NEC Corp. and Sharp Corp. use facial-recognition technology that uses a camera to measure the distance between a user's eyes, nose and mouth. ...Show more

Summary

A wireless LAN (wireless network) is a network without wires. Wireless network's use radio frequencies as their transmission media, sending network traffic sailing over the air. It is a flexible data network system applied as an extension to, or as an alternative for a wired LAN…
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Wireless Security essay example
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