THE IMPORTANCE OF CRYPTOGRAPHY STANDARD IN WIRELESS LOCAL AREA NETWORKING

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1 International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET) Volume 6, Issue 9, Sep 2015, pp , Article ID: IJECET_06_09_008 Available online at ISSN Print: and ISSN Online: IAEME Publication THE IMPORTANCE OF CRYPTOGRAPHY STANDARD IN WIRELESS LOCAL AREA NETWORKING Modesta. E. Ezema Lecturer 1 Department of Computer Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka Enugu State, Nigeria Chidera.C. Ezema Department of Electrical Electronics Engineering, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT Enugu State, Nigeria Asumpta Uju Ezugwu Department of Computer Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria ABSTRACT The rapid proliferation of wireless networks and mobile computing applications has changed the landscape of network security. The recent denial of service attacks on major Internet sites have shown us, that no open computer network is immune from intrusions. The wireless ad-hoc network is particularly vulnerable due to its features of open medium, dynamic changing topology, cooperative algorithms, lack of centralized monitoring and management point, and lack of a clear line of defense. The traditional way of protecting networks with firewalls and encryption software is no longer sufficient and effective. The goal of this paper is to present a framework to help managers understand the various threats associated with the use of wireless technology, disadvantages and threats of the wireless security protocols. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and RSN (Robust Security Network) Security protocols are examined in this respect. Then they are compared via the common features in order to give some insight to those who work with WLANs. I hope this paper give boost to the IT security personnel and clarify the common questions of the nonspecialist reader. Key word: Cryptography, Encryption, Security, Enciphering, Deciphering, Cryptosystem, Cryptanalysis 65

2 Modesta. E. Ezema, Chidera.C. Ezema and Asumpta Uju Ezugwu Cite this Article: Modesta. E. Ezema, Chidera.C. Ezema and Asumpta Uju Ezugwu. The Importance of Cryptography Standard In Wireless Local Area Networking, International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology, 6(9), 2015, pp INTRODUCTION As the Internet and the World Wide Web have exploded into our culture and are replacing other media forms for people to find news, weather news, sports, recipes, and a million other things, the new struggle is not only for time on the computer at home, but for time on the Internet connection. The hardware and software vendors have come forth with a variety of solutions allowing home users to share one Internet connection among two or more computers. They all have one thing in common though- the computers must somehow be networked.[1] To connect your computers together has traditionally involved having some physical medium running between them. It could be phone, wire, coaxial cable or the ubiquitous CAT5 cable. Recently hardware has been introduced that even lets home users network computers through the electrical wiring. But, one of the easiest ways to network computers throughout your home is to use wireless technology. It is a fairly simple setup. The Internet Service Provider comes in from of your provider and is connected to a wireless access point or router which broadcasts the signal. You connect wireless antenna network cards to your computers to receive that signal and talk back to the wireless access point. The problem with having the signal broadcast is that it is difficult to contain where that signal may travel. [2] The great flexibility of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) has led to its worldwide acceptance as the basic Internet and intranet communications protocol. At the same time, the fact that Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) allows information to pass through intermediate computers makes it possible for a third party to interfere with communications in the following ways: Eavesdropping. Information remains intact, but its privacy is compromised. For example, someone could learn your credit card number, record a sensitive conversation, or intercept classified information. Tampering. Information in transit is changed or replaced and then sent on to the recipient. For example, someone could alter an order for goods or change a person's resume. Impersonation. Information passes to a person who poses as the intended recipient. Impersonation can take two forms: Spoofing. A person can pretend to be someone else. For example, a person can pretend to have the address or a computer can identify itself as a site called when it is not. This type of impersonation is known as spoofing. Misrepresentation. A person or organization can misrepresent itself. For example, suppose the site pretends to be a furniture store when it is really just a site that takes credit-card payments but never sends any goods. Denial of Service: In this kind of attack, the intruder floods the network with either valid or invalid messages affecting the availability of the network resources. 66

3 The Importance of Cryptography Standard In Wireless Local Area Networking Evil Twin attack: The installation of an extra wireless access point posing as a legitimate organisation-owned access point. If legitimate clients attempt to associate with the rogue access point, the malicious user could steal or capture any authentication credentials utilized. Due to the nature of the radio transmission, the WLAN are very vulnerable against denial of service attacks. The relatively low bit rates of WLAN can easily be overwhelmed and leave them open to denial of service attacks [3]. By using a powerful enough transceiver, radio interference can easily be generated that would enable WLAN to communicate using radio path. Normally, users of the many cooperating computers that make up the Internet or other networks do not monitor or interfere with the network traffic that continuously passes through their machines. However, many sensitive personal and business communications over the Internet require precautions that address the threats listed above. Fortunately, a set of wellestablished techniques and standards known as public-key cryptography make it relatively easy to take such precautions. Cryptographic technique is a promising way to protect our files against unauthorized access. Nowadays people have developed so many useful cryptographic algorithms, from old DES (Data Encryption Standard) to recent IDEA (International Data Encryption Algorithm), AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and etc. Some user-level tools (e.g. crypt program) based on these strong and speedy algorithms have come out to help users do the encryption and decryption routines, but they are not so convenient, not well integrated with the whole system and sometimes may be vulnerable to non-crypto analytic system level 2. COMPUTER SECURITY AND ITS ROLE One broad definition of a secure computer system is one that can be depended upon to behave as it is expected. It is always a point of benefit to integrate security with dependability and how to obtain a dependable computing system. [4] Dependability is the trustworthiness of a system and can be seen as the quality of the service a system offers. Integrating security and dependability can be done in various ways. One approach is to treat security as one characteristic of dependability on the same level as availability, reliability and safety as shown in the figure. Dependability Availability Reliability Safety Security Figure 1 characteristics of a secured system A narrower definition of security is the possibility for a system to protect objects with respect to confidentiality, authentication, integrity and non-repudiation. Confidentiality: Transforming data such that only authorized parties can decode it. Authentication: Proving or disproving someone s or something s claimed identity. 67

4 Modesta. E. Ezema, Chidera.C. Ezema and Asumpta Uju Ezugwu 3. HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS FOR LOCAL AREA NETWORK The kind of hardware you would need to setup a wireless network depends on what the scale of the network will be. However you will almost certainly always need an access point and a wireless network interface card. If you want to setup a temporary network between two computers then two wireless Network Interface Card are enough. If you wish to share a broadband internet connection then speeds of a 512k and above are required. Lower bandwidth will work but only result in slower or unacceptable performance Access Point This piece of hardware acts as a bridge between the wired network and wireless devices. It allows multiple devices to connect through it to gain access to the network. An Access Point can also act as a router; a means by which the data transmission can be extended and passed from one access point to another Wireless Network Card A wireless network card is required on each device on a wireless network. A laptop usually has an expansion slot where the network card would fit in. A desktop computer would need an internal card which will usually have a small antenna or an external antenna on it. These antenna are optional on most equipment and they help to increase the signal on the card. Fig. 2: an example of a wireless network interface card (NIC) 4. WIRELESS NETWORK SETUP We have different types of wireless network types. These will be explained below. 68

5 The Importance of Cryptography Standard In Wireless Local Area Networking Figure 4 wireless network setup 4.1. Infrastructure [5] In the case of wireless networking in Infrastructure mode you are connecting your devices using a central device, namely a wireless access point. To join the WLAN, the AP and all wireless clients must be configured to use the same SSID. The AP is then cabled to the wired network to allow wireless clients access to, for example, Internet connections or printers. It is also referred to as a hosted or managed wireless network it consists of one or more access points (known as gateways or wireless routers) being connected to an existed network. Additional APs can be added to the WLAN to increase the reach of the infrastructure and support any number of wireless clients. In this case, infrastructure refers to switches, routers, firewalls, and access points (APs). Infrastructure mode wireless networking is the mode that you most often encounter in your work as a networking professional supporting networks for clients or in a corporate environment. Figure 5 infrastructure network 4.2. Ad-Hoc Also referred to as an unmanaged or peer to peer wireless network it consists of each device connecting directly to each other. This will allow someone sitting outside in the garden with a laptop to communicate with his desktop computer in the house and access the Internet, for example. 69

6 Modesta. E. Ezema, Chidera.C. Ezema and Asumpta Uju Ezugwu Figure 6 Ad hoc wireless network [6] Ad hoc networks are by definition temporary; they cease to exist when members disconnect from them, or when the computer from which the network was established moves beyond the 30-foot effective range of the others. You can share an Internet connection through an ad hoc network, but keep in mind that the Internet connection is then available to anyone logging on to a computer that is connected to the network, and thus is likely not very secure. 5. METHODS OF WIRELESS NETWORKING SECURITY The WEP, SSID and MAC Address filtering as three methods of wireless networking security. Here we will get to know a little more about these and what other methods of security are available WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) [7] Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a security protocol for wireless networks that encrypts transmitted data. Developed in the late 1990s, WEP is a basic protocol that is sometimes overlooked by wireless administrators because of its numerous vulnerabilities. The original implementations of WEP used 64-bit encryption (40-bit + 24-bit Initialization Vector). By means of a Brute Force attack, 64-bit WEP can be broken in a matter of minutes, whereas the stronger 128-bit version will take hours. It s not the best line of defense against unauthorized intruders but better than nothing and mainly used by the average home user. One of the drawbacks of WEP is that since it uses a shared key, if someone leaves the company then the key will have to be changed on the access point and all client machines. WEP, a data privacy encryption for WLANs defined in b, didn't live up to its name. Its use of rarely changed, static client keys for access control made WEP cryptographically weak. Cryptographic attacks allowed attackers to view all data passed to and from the access point. WEP's weaknesses include the following: Static keys that are rarely changed by users. A weak implementation of the RC4 algorithm is used. An Initial Vector sequence is too short and "wraps around" in a short time, resulting in repeated keys. 70

7 The Importance of Cryptography Standard In Wireless Local Area Networking 5.2. WEP2 (Wired Equivalent Privacy version 2) [8] In an attempt to increase protection, these encryption methods were extended to support longer keys including 104-bit (128 bits of total data), 152-bit and 256-bit. When communicating over a Wi-Fi connection, the protocol encrypts the data stream using these keys so that it is no longer human readable but still can be processed by receiving devices. The keys themselves are not sent over the network but rather are generally stored on the wireless network adapter or in the Windows Registry In 2004, the IEEE proposed an updated version of WEP; WEP2 to address its predecessor s shortcomings. Like WEP it relies on the RC4 algorithm but instead uses a 128-bit initialization vector making it stronger than the original version of WEP, but may still be susceptible to the same kind of attacks WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) WPA provides encryption via the Temporary Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) using the RC4 algorithm. [9] WPA is a security technology for Wi-Fi wireless computer networks. WPA improves on the authentication and encryption features of WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). In fact, WPA was developed by the networking industry in response to the weaknesses of WEP. WPA provides stronger encryption than WEP through use of either of two standard technologies: Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). WPA also includes built-in authentication support that WEP does not offer. Overall, WPA provides comparable security to VPN tunneling with WEP, with the benefit of easier administration and use. It is based on the 802.1X protocol and addresses the weaknesses of WEP by providing enhancements such as Per-Packet key construction and distribution, a message integrity code feature and a stronger IV (Initialization Vector). The downside of WPA is that unless your current hardware supports WPA by means of a firmware upgrade, you will most likely have to purchase new hardware to enjoy the benefits of this security method. The length of a WPA key is between 8 and 63 characters the longer it is the more secure it is WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2) Based on the i standard, WPA2 was released in 2004 and uses a stronger method of encryption AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). AES supports key sizes of 128 bits, 192 bits, and 256 bits. It is backward compatible with WPA and uses a fresh set of keys for every session, so essentially every packet that sent over the air is encrypted with a unique key. As did WPA, WPA2 offers two versions Personal and Enterprise. Personal mode requires only an access point and uses a pre-shared key for authentication and Enterprise mode requires a RADIUS authentication server and uses RADIUS authentication server and uses Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) 5.5. MAC Address Filtering MAC Address Filtering is a means of controlling which network adapters have access to the access point. [10] A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a number that identifies the network adapter(s) installed on your computer. The address is composed of up to 6 pairs of characters, separated by colons. You may need to provide your MAC address to a router in order to successfully connect to a network. A list of MAC Addresses are entered into the access point and anyone whose MAC address on the wireless network adapter does not match an entry in the list will not be allowed to 71

8 Modesta. E. Ezema, Chidera.C. Ezema and Asumpta Uju Ezugwu have access. This is a good means of security when also used with a packet encryption method. However, keep in mind that MAC addresses can be spoofed. This type of security is usually used as a means of authentication, in conjunction with something like WEP for encryption. Below is a basic image demonstrating the MAC Address Filtering process: In a local area network (LAN) or other network, the MAC (Media Access Control) address is your computer's unique hardware number. (On an Ethernet LAN, it's the same as your Ethernet address.) When you're connected to the Internet from your computer (or host as the Internet protocol thinks of it), a correspondence table relates your IP address to your computer's physical (MAC) address on the LAN Figure 7 a laptop in a local Area network showing its MAC address A laptop, with MAC Address 00-0F-CA-AE-C6-A5 wants to access the wireless network via the access point. The access point compares this Address to its list and permits or denies access accordingly SSID (Service Set Identifier) An SSID, or Network Name, is a secret name given to a wireless network.[11] An SSID is the name of a wireless local area network (WLAN). All wireless devices on a WLAN must employ the same SSID in order to communicate with each other. I put secret in inverted commas because it can be sniffed pretty easily. By default, the SSID is a part of every packet that travels over the WLAN. Unless you know the SSID of a wireless network you cannot join it. Every network node must be configured with the same SSID of the access point that it wishes to connect, which becomes a bit of a headache for the network administrator. 5.7 VPN (Virtual Private Network) Link Perhaps the most reliable form of security would be to setup a VPN connection over the wireless network. VPNs have for long been a trusted method of accessing the corporate network over the internet by forming a secure tunnel from the client to the server. Setting up a VPN may affect performance due to the amount of data encryption involved but your mind will be at rest knowing your data is secure. The VPN option is preferred by many enterprise administrators because VPNs offer the best commercially available encryption. VPN software uses advanced encryption mechanisms (AES for example), which makes decrypting the traffic very hard, if not impossible, task. 72

9 The Importance of Cryptography Standard In Wireless Local Area Networking For a clearer understanding of the VPN link method, see fig 8 below. Figure 8 virtual private Network connections There are various levels of VPN technology, some of which are expensive and include both hardware and software. Microsoft does however provide us with a basic VPN technology commonly used in small to medium enterprise networks - Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows Server These are more than capable of handling your wireless VPN requirements X [12] Today WLANs are maturing and producing security innovations and standards that will be used across all networking mediums for years to come. They have learned to harness flexibility, creating solutions that can be quickly modified if weaknesses are found. An example of this is the addition of 802.1x authentication to the WLAN security toolbox. It has provided a method to protect the network behind the access point from intruders as well as provide for dynamic keys and strengthen WLAN encryption. With 802.1X the authentication stage is done via a RADIUS server (IAS on Windows Server 2003) where the user credentials are checked against the server. When a user first attempts to connect to the network they are asked to enter their username and password. These are checked with the RADIUS server and access is granted accordingly. Every user has a unique key that is changed regularly to allow for better security. Hackers can crack codes but it does take time, and with a new code being generated automatically every few minutes, by the time the hacker cracks the code it would have expired X is essentially a simplified standard for passing EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) over a wireless (or wired) network. See Fig 9 below the 802.1X process. Figure 9 the802.1x The wireless client (laptop) is known as the Supplicant. The Access Point is known as the Authenticator and the RADIUS server is known as the Authentication server. 6. PROFFERED SOLUTION TO WLAN This involve the use of hardware and software solutions to help secure the wireless environment. Software measures include proper Access Point (AP) configuration, software patches and upgrades, authentication, intrusion detection systems (IDS), personal firewalls for wireless devices and encryption. Hardware solutions include smart cards, virtual private networks (VPNs), public key infrastructure (PKI), network segregation and biometrics. It should be noted that some of these solutions are now available either in hardware or software. 73

10 Modesta. E. Ezema, Chidera.C. Ezema and Asumpta Uju Ezugwu This solution should also include facilitation of encryption and authentication controls described in each wireless standard. Encryption in wireless communication is used primarily to protect the confidentiality of messages and connection setup data transmitted over the network. Authentication in wireless networks occurs to validate connections between one device and another, or to confirm that a user is permitted to connect to a particular network. Encryption protocols utilized in past wireless standards have been found to be insecurely implemented and consequently easy to defeat (e.g. WEP RC4). Utilizing the most current revisions of wireless standards is recommended, as they tend to allow use of highly secure encryption protocols that have yet to be defeated (e.g. WPA2 s AES protocol). The actual choice of encryption protocol utilized is dependent on organizational infrastructure and should be encouraged. 7. CONCLUSION The diligent management of network security is essential to the operation of networks, regardless of whether they have segments or not. It is important to note that absolute security is an abstract concept it does not exist anywhere. All networks are vulnerable to insider or outsider attacks, and eavesdropping. No one wants to risk having the data exposed to the casual observer or open malicious mischief. wireless networking, steps can and should always be taken to preserve network security and integrity. We have said that any secure network will have vulnerabilities that an adversary could exploit. This is especially true for wireless ad-hoc networks. The various method of wireless networking security discussed can help to greatly reduce the vulnerability in wireless networks. REFERENCES [1] [2] https://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/introduction_to_public-key_cryptography [3] [4] [5] [6] https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd aspx [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] Sachin R. Sonawane, Sandeep Vanjale and Dr. P. B. Mane. A Survey on Evil Twin Detection Methods for Wireless Local Area Network, International journal of Computer Engineering & Technology, 4(2), 2013, pp

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