IEEE G / B WIRELESS SECURITY. AMX Corporation. Wireless LAN Security: T e c h n o l o g y W h i t e P a p e r

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1 IEEE G / B WIRELESS SECURITY AMX Corporation Wireless LAN Security: T e c h n o l o g y W h i t e P a p e r 1

2 Table of Contents Table of Contents 2 Introduction 3 Wireless LAN Market Overview 3 Components of Wireless LAN Security 4 Port Connections / RF/ Authentication 4 Wireless Security and Encryption 5 WEP 5 WPA 6 IEEE i Draft 6 2

3 Introduction Wireless LANs using IEEE technologies are globally being deployed at a phenomenal rate for business, education, government and residential purposes. Lower cost of ownership, easier deployment, and increased productivity are significant factors driving awareness of wireless networks. With wireless technologies, users are no longer tied to a desk by an Ethernet cable enabling them to access the network from virtually anywhere. With increased mobility comes increased security issues which are often not addressed, despite readily available security options available in today s products. This paper provides an overview of the wireless LAN market and addresses wireless security options available today, along with future security options in development to protect your network from intruders. Wireless LAN Market Overview According to In-Stat/MDR 5.8 million devices were sold in 2001 and growth is expected to reach 23.6 million units sold annually by Wi-Fi Units Sold World Wide 16,000,000 14,000,000 12,000,000 10,000,000 8,000,000 6,000,000 4,000,000 2,000, a (5GHz) b (2.4GHz) g (2.4GHz) Mixed Mode (2.4GHz/5GHz) Source: In-Stat/MDR, Feb

4 Companies leading the wireless market are segmented into two categories: Enterprise and Consumer. Linksys (owned by Cisco) is the leading consumer wireless LAN manufacturer with 22.3% market share followed by D-Link (17.9%), Netgear and Buffalo according to a 4 th Qtr 2004, Dell Oro Group report. Within the Enterprise category Cisco is the market leader with 36.2% market share followed by Symbol (15.5%) 3Com and Proxim. Components of Wireless LAN Security Wireless Access Points (WAPs) introduce several new networking components and vulnerabilities which need to be addressed when integrating WAPs onto the wired LAN in order to maintain a secure network. The table below provides a list of the new wireless components compared to their wired counter parts: Ethernet Wired Network 2 nd Generation Wireless Networks 1 st Generation Wireless Networks Standard a/g b Authentication 802.1x 802.1x None Security Physical Ethernet Cable WPA, LEAP WEP Connection (User/Port) Port Based (Unique) Shared (Multiple) Shared (Multiple) Max Bandwidth 10/100/1000 M 11-54Mbps 11Mbps Primary Transport Medium Coaxial, Twisted Pair RF RF Range Unlimited in a switched architecture Indoor 150ft Outdoor 1,200ft Indoor 150ft Outdoor 1,200ft Port Connections / RF/ Authentication The wired LAN network is based on physical connections i.e. a port being the equivalent of a user. Security within the physical network has traditionally been set up one a port basis. However, with a wireless LAN a port is now equal to an access point, which can host multiple users. WLAN devices use Direct Sequencing Spread Spectrum (DSSS) for their RF communications operating at either 2.4Ghz (802.11b/g) or 5.2Ghz (802.11a). As most WLAN devices are standards based, we must assume that an intruder will have access to a WLAN card that can be tuned onto the same DSSS channel, therefore, enabling the intruder to connect to an unsecured access point. As a result, enterprise IT departments are implementing authentication technology 4

5 (802.1x) based on a user s ID rather than a port. User IDs provide the key to entitling access to applications and parts of the network. Furthermore, these network access rights may vary depending on location. Thus, a WLAN user from accounting may have priority access to network bandwidth and to the SAP system while within their department. But when the user is accessing the network from a semi-public cafeteria in another building, access is limited to and instant messaging, with lower bandwidth allocations. Authentication, as defined above, is a mechanism that identifies users or services based on predefined criteria. Authentication systems range from simple name-password pairs, to more elaborate challenge-response systems, such as smart cards and biometrics. Authentication systems can prevent users from accessing the network, but they do not provide encryption, and it is not an alternative to WEP, 3DES, AES or any other encryption technology x is only focused on authentication and key management, so for complete security it must be used in combination with other encryption technologies. Wireless Security and Encryption The IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is a non-profit organization with 360,000 members from 175 countries. Through its members, the IEEE is a leading authority in technical areas ranging from computer engineering, biomedical technology, telecommunications, electric power, aerospace and consumer electronics, among others. The members of the IEEE come from a variety of companies from industry leaders to start-ups all with the mission to share technical knowledge and develop industry standards for all companies to use and incorporate into their products. Through the IEEE the standard for wireless communications was developed. Through additional task groups subsequent standards were developed to integrate international conformity, quality of service, roaming, greater throughput, and security. The IEEE s wireless security task group developed WEP as a part of the original standard. WEP When it comes to wireless security, the IEEE s first attempt was WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). The standard was developed to protect over-the-air transmissions between WLAN access points (WAPs) and network interface cards (clients). Working at the data link layer, WEP requires that the same secret key (WEP Key) be exchanged between the WAP and client in order for the WAP to allow the client to access the network. The WEP keys were used to authenticate the user to the network. The IEEE provided the standard for the RC4 encryption algorithm along with the key format, but did not provide a mechanism for dynamic key management. In the standard, a small 24-bit plaintext (unencrypted) message is placed in the header of each message. Within this header it provides a range of 16,777,216 possible values, which can be used to by an intruder to decipher the WEP encryption and gain access to the network. As a result, the IEEE and the Wi-Fi Alliance have developed new standards to overcome WEP s vulnerability. The WEP protocol does provide basic wireless authentication and encryption and is sufficient for most home and small-business users to protect their wireless networks. However, for larger 5

6 businesses more sophisticated encryption and key management protocols can be implemented to protect your network. WPA WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) was developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance in conjunction with the IEEE i task group in order to provide a wireless security solution to overcome WEPs vulnerability. The Wi-Fi Alliance is a non-profit organization formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of IEEE products and promote Wi-Fi as the global, wireless LAN standard across all market segments. Over 700 products have been Wi-Fi certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. WPA is designed for use with an 802.1x authentication server. As mentioned previously, the authentication is responsible for authorizing a user to connect to the network. In addition, the authentication server will provide the keys for both the WAP and the Client to use during each communication session. However, if an organization doesn t have an authentication server, the Wi-Fi Protected Access has a less secure pre-shared key (PSK) mode. In the PSK mode the WAP is responsible for authentication and key distribution. One major improvement over WEP is provided by the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), which dynamically changes keys as the system is used. With WEP, the keys remained the same and didn t change. With TKIP they change with every 10,000 bits of information being transmitted. The number of possible values has also increased from 16 million to 5 trillion. This combination of dynamically changing the keys and increasing the total possible values has made WPA a strong security solution and that resolves the security issues with WEP. WPA was finalized in October, 2002 with the first products launched in May, Since the commercial launch in 2003, WPA remains a solid security solution. IEEE i Draft IEEE i Draft incorporates the same technology improvements in authentication and key management found in WPA, but improves encryption i incorporates the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) which requires hardware changes in both the Wireless Access Point and Wireless Network Interface Cards in order to process the more complex computational load of AES. With AES the entire data frame is encrypted, not just the data payload used in RC4 for WEP and WPA. The IEEE i draft is expected to be finalized by June, 2004 with associated products being launched in the 4th Quarter of

7 2004 AMX Corporation 3000 Research Drive Richardson Texas, Phone

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