Protecting for Wireless Communications

When you implement a wireless network, you must develop a plan for securing the network to reduce the likelihood of threats. Some of the more common methods of protecting a wireless network are mentioned in the sections that follow.

MAC Filtering

One of the most basic ways of protecting a wireless network is to implement media access control (MAC) filtering. At the WAP, you can configure which MAC addresses (the low-level firmware address of a wireless card) are allowed to connect to the WAP. Although this sounds like an ideal, easy way to secure a wireless network, consider the following issues:

■ It is easy to spoof an approved MAC address. Software, such as SMAC, allows you to manually modify your wireless card's MAC to an approved MAC address.

■ MAC filtering is hard to manage. If you have several wireless computers, each MAC address must be managed manually at the WAP.

■ MAC filtering authenticates only the computer, not the user. If attackers steal a laptop or use a laptop included in the approved MAC listing, they can access the network.

■ The size of the approved MAC list is limited. In large environments, you might not be able to input all approved MAC addresses.

Note You can learn more information about SMAC at /smac/default.htm?v=readme11.

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