Wireless Network Security

Wireless Network Security
802.11, Bluetooth and Handheld Devices
Tom Karygiannis
Les Owens
Special Publication 800-48

NIST Special Publication 800-48 Wireless Network Security
802.11, Bluetooth and Handheld Devices
Recommendations of the National
Institute of Standards and Technology
Tom Karygiannis and Les Owens
C O M P U T E R S E C U R I T Y
Computer Security Division
Information Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8930
November 2002
U.S. Department of Commerce
Donald L. Evans, Secretary
Technology Administration
Phillip J. Bond, Under Secretary for Technology
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director
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Note to Readers
This document is a publication of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and is not
subject to U.S. copyright. Certain commercial products are described in this document as examples only.
Inclusion or exclusion of any product does not imply endorsement or non-endorsement by NIST or any
agency of the U.S. Government. Inclusion of a product name does not imply that the product is the best or
only product suitable for the specified purpose.
Acknowledgments
The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to numerous members of government, industry, and
academia who have commented on this document. First, the authors wish to express their thanks to the
staff at Booz Allen Hamilton who contributed to this document. In particular, their appreciation goes to
Rick Nicholson, Brendan Goode, Christine Kerns, Sharma Aditi, and Brian Miller for their research,
technical support, and contributions to this document. The authors express their appreciation to Bill Burr,
Murugiah Souppaya, Tim Grance, Ray Snouffer, Sheila Frankel, and John Wack of NIST, for providing
valuable contributions to the technical content of this publication. The authors would also like to express
their thanks to security experts Russ Housley, Markus Jacobsson, Jan-Ove Larsson, Simon Josefsson,
Stephen Whitlock, Brian Seborg, Pascal Meunier, William Arbaugh, Joesph Kabara, David Tipper, and
Prashanth Krishnanmurthy for their valuable comments and suggestions. Finally, the authors wish to
thank especially Matthew Gast, Keith Rhodes, and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group for their critical
review and feedback during the public comments period. Contributions were also made by Rick Doten,
Jerry Harold, Stephen Palmer, Michael D. Gerdes, Wally Wilhoite, Ben Halpert, Susan Landau, Sandeep
Dhameja, Robert Moskowitz, Dennis Volpano, David Harrington, Bernard Aboba, Edward Block, Carol
Ann Widmayer, Harold J. Podell, Mike DiSabato, Pieter Kasselman, Rick E. Morin, Chall McRoberts,
and Kevin L. Perez.
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Table of Contents
Executive Summary………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1-1
1.1 Authority …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1-1
1.2 Document Purpose and Scope …………………………………………………………………… 1-1
1.3 Audience and Assumptions ……………………………………………………………………….. 1-2
1.4 Document Organization …………………………………………………………………………….. 1-2
2. Overview of Wireless Technology…………………………………………………………………….. 2-1
2.1 Wireless Networks……………………………………………………………………………………. 2-1
2.1.1 Wireless LANs ………………………………………………………………………………. 2-1
2.1.2 Ad Hoc Networks …………………………………………………………………………… 2-1
2.2 Wireless Devices ……………………………………………………………………………………… 2-2
2.2.1 Personal Digital Assistants………………………………………………………………. 2-2
2.2.2 Smart Phones ……………………………………………………………………………….. 2-3
2.3 Wireless Standards…………………………………………………………………………………… 2-3
2.3.1 IEEE 802.11………………………………………………………………………………….. 2-3
2.3.2 Bluetooth………………………………………………………………………………………. 2-3
2.4 Wireless Security Threats and Risk Mitigation ………………………………………………. 2-4
2.5 Emerging Wireless Technologies………………………………………………………………… 2-6
2.6 Federal Information Processing Standards …………………………………………………… 2-6
3. Wireless LANs ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3-8
3.1 Wireless LAN Overview…………………………………………………………………………….. 3-8
3.1.1 Brief History ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3-8
3.1.2 Frequency and Data Rates ……………………………………………………………… 3-9
3.1.3 802.11 Architecture ………………………………………………………………………… 3-9
3.1.4 Wireless LAN Components ……………………………………………………………. 3-11
3.1.5 Range ………………………………………………………………………………………… 3-11
3.2 Benefits ………………………………………………………………………………………………….3-12
3.3 Security of 802.11 Wireless LANs……………………………………………………………….3-13
3.3.1 Security Features of 802.11 Wireless LANs per the Standard……………… 3-13
3.3.2 Problems With the IEEE 802.11 Standard Security ……………………………. 3-17
3.4 Security Requirements and Threats…………………………………………………………….3-19
3.4.1 Loss of Confidentiality …………………………………………………………………… 3-20
3.4.2 Loss of Integrity……………………………………………………………………………. 3-21
3.4.3 Loss of Network Availability……………………………………………………………. 3-22
3.4.4 Other Security Risks …………………………………………………………………….. 3-22
3.5 Risk Mitigation …………………………………………………………………………………………3-22
3.5.1 Management Countermeasures……………………………………………………… 3-23
3.5.2 Operational Countermeasures ……………………………………………………….. 3-23
3.5.3 Technical Countermeasures ………………………………………………………….. 3-24
3.6 Emerging Security Standards and Technologies …………………………………………..3-36
3.7 Case Study: Implementing a Wireless LAN in the Work Environment ………………3-37
3.8 Wireless LAN Security Checklist…………………………………………………………………3-40
3.9 Wireless LAN Risk and Security Summary …………………………………………………..3-42
4. Wireless Personal Area Networks…………………………………………………………………….. 4-1
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4.1 Bluetooth Overview…………………………………………………………………………………… 4-1
4.1.1 Brief History ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4-3
4.1.2 Frequency and Data Rates ……………………………………………………………… 4-3
4.1.3 Bluetooth Architecture and Components ……………………………………………. 4-4
4.1.4 Range ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4-4
4.2 Benefits ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4-5
4.3 Security of Bluetooth…………………………………………………………………………………. 4-6
4.3.1 Security Features of Bluetooth per the Specifications ………………………….. 4-7
4.3.2 Problems with the Bluetooth Standard Security…………………………………. 4-13
4.4 Security Requirements and Threats…………………………………………………………….4-14
4.4.1 Loss of Confidentiality …………………………………………………………………… 4-14
4.4.2 Loss of Integrity……………………………………………………………………………. 4-17
4.4.3 Loss of Availability………………………………………………………………………… 4-17
4.5 Risk Mitigation …………………………………………………………………………………………4-17
4.5.1 Management Countermeasures……………………………………………………… 4-17
4.5.2 Operational Countermeasures ……………………………………………………….. 4-18
4.5.3 Technical Countermeasures ………………………………………………………….. 4-18
4.6 Bluetooth Security Checklist ………………………………………………………………………4-20
4.7 Bluetooth Ad Hoc Network Risk and Security Summary …………………………………4-22
5. Wireless Handheld Devices……………………………………………………………………………. 5-26
5.1 Wireless Handheld Device Overview…………………………………………………………..5-26
5.2 Benefits ………………………………………………………………………………………………….5-27
5.3 Security Requirements and Threats…………………………………………………………….5-28
5.3.1 Loss of Confidentiality …………………………………………………………………… 5-28
5.3.2 Loss of Integrity……………………………………………………………………………. 5-30
5.3.3 Loss of Availability………………………………………………………………………… 5-30
5.4 Risk Mitigation …………………………………………………………………………………………5-31
5.4.1 Management Countermeasures……………………………………………………… 5-31
5.4.2 Operational Countermeasures ……………………………………………………….. 5-32
5.4.3 Technical Countermeasures ………………………………………………………….. 5-33
5.5 Case Study: PDAs in the Workplace……………………………………………………………5-36
5.6 Wireless Handheld Device Security Checklist……………………………………………….5-36
5.7 Handheld Device Risk and Security Summary………………………………………………5-38
Appendix A— Common Wireless Frequencies and Applications ……………………………….A-1
Appendix B— Glossary of Terms …………………………………………………………………………….B-1
Appendix C— Acronyms and Abbreviations …………………………………………………………….C-1
Appendix D— Summary of 802.11 Standards……………………………………………………………D-1
Appendix E— Useful References……………………………………………………………………………..E-1
Appendix F— Wireless Networking Tools………………………………………………………………… F-1
Appendix G— References ……………………………………………………………………………………….G-1
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List of Figures
Figure 2-1. Notional Ad Hoc Network …………………………………………………………………………. 2-2
Figure 3-1. Fundamental 802.11b Wireless LAN Topology ………………………………………….. 3-10
Figure 3-2. 802.11b Wireless LAN Ad Hoc Topology ………………………………………………….. 3-10
Figure 3-3. Typical Range of 802.11 WLAN……………………………………………………………….. 3-11
Figure 3-4. Access Point Bridging ……………………………………………………………………………. 3-12
Figure 3-5. Wireless Security of 802.11b in Typical Network…………………………………………. 3-13
Figure 3-6. Taxonomy of 802.11 Authentication Techniques………………………………………… 3-14
Figure 3-7. Shared-key Authentication Message Flow ………………………………………………… 3-15
Figure 3-8. WEP Privacy Using RC4 Algorithm………………………………………………………….. 3-16
Figure 3-9. Taxonomy of Security Attacks…………………………………………………………………. 3-19
Figure 3-10. Typical Use of VPN for Secure Internet Communications From Site-to-Site…… 3-33
Figure 3-11. VPN Security in Addition to WEP…………………………………………………………… 3-34
Figure 3-12. Simplified Diagram of VPN WLAN…………………………………………………………… 3-35
Figure 3-13. Agency A WLAN Architecture ………………………………………………………………… 3-39
Figure 4-1. Typical Bluetooth Network—A Scatter-net ………………………………………………….. 4-2
Figure 4-2. Bluetooth Ad Hoc Topology………………………………………………………………………. 4-4
Figure 4-3. Bluetooth Operating Range……………………………………………………………………….. 4-5
Figure 4-4. Bluetooth Air-Interface Security…………………………………………………………………. 4-6
Figure 4-5. Taxonomy of Bluetooth Security Modes………………………………………………………. 4-8
Figure 4-6. Bluetooth Key Generation from PIN……………………………………………………………. 4-9
Figure 4-7. Bluetooth Authentication ………………………………………………………………………… 4-10
Figure 4-8. Bluetooth Encryption Procedure………………………………………………………………. 4-12
Figure 4-9. Man-in-the-Middle Attack Scenarios…………………………………………………………. 4-16
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List of Tables
Table 3-1. Key Characteristics of 802.11 Wireless LANs ………………………………………………. 3-8
Table 3-2. Key Problems with Existing 802.11 Wireless LAN Security …………………………… 3-18
Table 3-3. Wireless LAN Security Checklist ………………………………………………………………. 3-40
Table 3-4. Wireless LAN Security Summary ……………………………………………………………… 3-43
Table 4-1. Key Characteristics of Bluetooth Technology ……………………………………………….. 4-2
Table 4-2. Device Classes of Power Management……………………………………………………….. 4-5
Table 4-3. Summary of Authentication Parameters …………………………………………………….. 4-11
Table 4-4. Key Problems with Existing (Native) Bluetooth Security ………………………………… 4-13
Table 4-5. Bluetooth Security Checklist…………………………………………………………………….. 4-21
Table 4-6. Bluetooth Security Summary……………………………………………………………………. 4-23
Table 5-1. Wireless Handheld Device Security Checklist ……………………………………………… 5-37
Table 5-2. Handheld Device Security Summary…………………………………………………………. 5-38
Table D-1. Summary of 802.11 Standards …………………………………………………………………..D-1
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Executive Summary
Wireless communications offer organizations and users many benefits such as portability and flexibility,
increased productivity, and lower installation costs. Wireless technologies cover a broad range of
differing capabilities oriented toward different uses and needs. Wireless local area network (WLAN)
devices, for instance, allow users to move their laptops from place to place within their offices without the
need for wires and without losing network connectivity. Less wiring means greater flexibility, increased
efficiency, and reduced wiring costs. Ad hoc networks, such as those enabled by Bluetooth, allow data
synchronization with network systems and application sharing between devices. Bluetooth functionality
also eliminates cables for printer and other peripheral device connections. Handheld devices such as
personal digital assistants (PDA) and cell phones allow remote users to synchronize personal databases
and provide access to network services such as wireless e-mail, Web browsing, and Internet access.
Moreover, these technologies can offer dramatic cost savings and new capabilities to diverse applications
ranging from retail settings to manufacturing shop floors to first responders.
However, risks are inherent in any wireless technology. Some of these risks are similar to those of wired
networks; some are exacerbated by wireless connectivity; some are new. Perhaps the most significant
source of risks in wireless networks is that the technology’s underlying communications medium, the
airwave, is open to intruders, making it the logical equivalent of an Ethernet port in the parking lot.
The loss of confidentiality and integrity and the threat of denial of service (DoS) attacks are risks
typically associated with wireless communications. Unauthorized users may gain access to agency
systems and information, corrupt the agency’s data, consume network bandwidth, degrade network
performance, launch attacks that prevent authorized users from accessing the network, or use agency
resources to launch attacks on other networks.
Specific threats and vulnerabilities to wireless networks and handheld devices include the following:
! All the vulnerabilities that exist in a conventional wired network apply to wireless technologies.
! Malicious entities may gain unauthorized access to an agency’s computer network through wireless
connections, bypassing any firewall protections.
! Sensitive information that is not encrypted (or that is encrypted with poor cryptographic techniques)
and that is transmitted between two wireless devices may be intercepted and disclosed.
! DoS attacks may be directed at wireless connections or devices.
! Malicious entities may steal the identity of legitimate users and masquerade as them on internal or
external corporate networks.
! Sensitive data may be corrupted during improper synchronization.
! Malicious entities may be able to violate the privacy of legitimate users and be able to track their
movements.
! Malicious entities may deploy unauthorized equipment (e.g., client devices and access points) to
surreptitiously gain access to sensitive information.
! Handheld devices are easily stolen and can reveal sensitive information.
! Data may be extracted without detection from improperly configured devices.
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! Viruses or other malicious code may corrupt data on a wireless device and subsequently be
introduced to a wired network connection.
! Malicious entities may, through wireless connections, connect to other agencies or organizations for
the purposes of launching attacks and concealing their activities.
! Interlopers, from inside or out, may be able to gain connectivity to network management controls and
thereby disable or disrupt operations.
! Malicious entities may use third-party, untrusted wireless network services to gain access to an
agency’s or other organization’s network resources.
! Internal attacks may be possible via ad hoc transmissions.
This document provides an overview of wireless networking technologies and wireless handheld devices
most commonly used in an office environment and with today’s mobile workforce. This document seeks
to assist agencies in reducing the risks associated with 802.11 wireless local area networks (LAN),
Bluetooth wireless networks, and handheld devices.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends the following actions:
Agencies should be aware that maintaining a secure wireless network is an ongoing process that
requires greater effort than that required for other networks and systems. Moreover, it is
important that agencies assess risks more frequently and test and evaluate system security controls
when wireless technologies are deployed.
Maintaining a secure wireless network and associated devices requires significant effort, resources, and
vigilance and involves the following steps:
! Maintaining a full understanding of the topology of the wireless network.
! Labeling and keeping inventories of the fielded wireless and handheld devices.
! Creating backups of data frequently.
! Performing periodic security testing and assessment of the wireless network.
! Performing ongoing, randomly timed security audits to monitor and track wireless and handheld
devices.
! Applying patches and security enhancements.
! Monitoring the wireless industry for changes to standards that enhance security features and for the
release of new products.
! Vigilantly monitoring wireless technology for new threats and vulnerabilities.
Agencies should not undertake wireless deployment for essential operations until they have
examined and can acceptably manage and mitigate the risks to their information, system
operations, and continuity of essential operations. Agencies should perform a risk assessment and
develop a security policy before purchasing wireless technologies, because their unique security
requirements will determine which products should be considered for purchase.
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As described in this document, the risks related to the use of wireless technologies are considerable. Many
current communications protocols and commercial products provide inadequate protection and thus
present unacceptable risks to agency operations. Agencies must actively address such risks to protect their
ability to support essential operations, before deployment of wireless technologies. Furthermore, many
organizations poorly administer their wireless technologies. Some examples include deploying equipment
with “factory default” settings, failing to control or inventory access points, not implementing the security
capabilities provided, and not developing or employing a security architecture suitable to the wireless
environment (e.g., one with firewalls between wired and wireless systems, blocking of unneeded
services/ports, use of strong cryptography). To a large extent, most of the risks can be mitigated.
However, mitigating these risks requires considerable tradeoffs between technical solutions and costs.
Today, the vendor and standards community is aggressively working toward more robust, open, and
secure solutions for the near future. For these reasons, it may be prudent for some agencies to simply wait
for these more mature solutions.
Agencies should be aware of the technical and security implications of wireless and handheld device
technologies.
Although these technologies offer significant benefits, they also provide unique security challenges over
their wired counterparts. The coupling of relative immaturity of the technology with poor security
standards, flawed implementations, limited user awareness, and lax security and administrative practices
forms an especially challenging combination. In a wireless environment, data is broadcast through the air
and organizations do not have physical controls over the boundaries of transmissions or the ability to use
the controls typically available with wired connections. As a result, data may be captured when it is
broadcast. Because of differences in building construction, wireless frequencies and attenuation, and the
capabilities of high-gain antennas, the distances necessary for positive control for wireless technologies to
prevent eavesdropping can vary considerably. The safe distance can vary up to kilometers, even when the
nominal or claimed operating range of the wireless device is less than a hundred meters.
Agencies should carefully plan the deployment of 802.11, Bluetooth, or any other wireless
technology.
Because it is much more difficult to address security once deployment and implementation have occurred,
security should be considered from the initial planning stage. Agencies are more likely to make better
security decisions about configuring wireless devices and network infrastructure when they develop and
use a detailed, well-designed deployment plan. Developing such a plan will support the inevitable tradeoff
decisions between usability, performance, and risk.
Agencies should be aware that security management practices and controls are especially critical to
maintaining and operating a secure wireless network.
Appropriate management practices are critical to operating and maintaining a secure wireless network.
Security practices entail the identification of an agency’s or organization’s information system assets and
the development, documentation and implementation of policies, standards, procedures, and guidelines
that ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information system resources.
To support the security of wireless technology, the following security practices (with some illustrative
examples) should be implemented:
! Agency-wide information system security policy that addresses the use of 802.11, Bluetooth, and
other wireless technologies.
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! Configuration/change control and management to ensure that equipment (such as access points) has
the latest software release that includes security feature enhancements and patches for discovered
vulnerabilities.
! Standardized configurations to reflect the security policy, to ensure change of default values, and to
ensure consistency of operation.
! Security training to raise awareness about the threats and vulnerabilities inherent in the use of
wireless technologies (including the fact that robust cryptography is essential to protect the “radio”
channel, and that simple theft of equipment is a major concern).
Agencies should be aware that physical controls are especially important in a wireless environment.
Agencies should make sure that adequate physical security is in place. Physical security measures,
including barriers, access control systems, and guards, are the first line of defense. Agencies must make
sure that the proper physical countermeasures are in place to mitigate some of the biggest risks such as
theft of equipment and insertion of rogue access points or wireless network monitoring devices.
Agencies must enable, use, and routinely test the inherent security features, such as authentication
and encryption, that exist in wireless technologies. In addition, firewalls and other appropriate
protection mechanisms should be employed.
Wireless technologies generally come with some embedded security features, although frequently many
of the features are disabled by default. As with many newer technologies (and some mature ones), the
security features available may not be as comprehensive or robust as necessary. Because the security
features provided in some wireless products may be weak, to attain the highest levels of integrity,
authentication, and confidentiality, agencies should carefully consider the deployment of robust, proven,
and well-developed and implemented cryptography.
NIST strongly recommends that the built-in security features of Bluetooth or 802.11 (data link level
encryption and authentication protocols) be used as part of an overall defense-in-depth strategy. Although
these protection mechanisms have weaknesses described in this publication, they can provide a degree of
protection against unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized network access, and other active probing attacks.
However, the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2, Security Requirements for
Cryptographic Modules, is mandatory and binding for federal agencies that have determined that certain
information be protected via cryptographic means. As currently defined, the security of neither 802.11 nor
Bluetooth meets the FIPS 140-2 standard.
In the above-mentioned instances, it will be necessary to employ higher level cryptographic protocols and
applications such as secure shell (SSH), Transport-Level Security (TLS) or Internet Protocol Security
(IPsec) with FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic modules and associated algorithms to protect that
information, regardless of whether the nonvalidated data link security protocols are used.
NIST expects that future 802.11 (and possibly other wireless technologies) products will offer Advanced
Encryption Standard (AES)-based data link level cryptographic services that are validated under FIPS
140-2. As these will mitigate most concerns about wireless eavesdropping or active wireless attacks, their
use is strongly recommended when they become available. However, it must be recognized that a data
link level wireless protocol protects only the wireless subnetwork. Where traffic traverses other network
segments, including wired segments or the agency or Internet backbone, higher-level FIPS-validated, endto-
end cryptographic protection may also be required.
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Finally, even when federally approved cryptography is used, additional countermeasures such as
strategically locating access points, ensuring firewall filtering, and blocking and installation of antivirus
software are typically necessary. Agencies must be fully aware of the residual risk following the
application of cryptography and all security countermeasures in the wireless deployment.
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1. Introduction
Wireless technologies have become increasingly popular in our everyday business and personal lives.
Personal digital assistants (PDA) allow individuals to access calendars, e-mail, address and phone number
lists, and the Internet. Some technologies even offer global positioning system (GPS) capabilities that can
pinpoint the location of the device anywhere in the world. Wireless technologies promise to offer even
more features and functions in the next few years.
An increasing number of government agencies, businesses, and home users are using, or considering
using, wireless technologies in their environments. Agencies should be aware of the security risks
associated with wireless technologies. Agencies need to develop strategies that will mitigate risks as they
integrate wireless technologies into their computing environments. This document discusses certain
wireless technologies, outlines the associated risks, and offers guidance for mitigating those risks.
1.1 Authority
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed this document in furtherance of its
statutory responsibilities under the Computer Security Act of 1987 and the Information Technology
Management Reform Act of 1996 (specifically 15 United States Code [U.S.C.] 278 g-3 (a)(5)). This is not
a guideline within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. 278 g-3 (a)(3).
Guidelines in this document are for federal agencies that process sensitive information. They are
consistent with the requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130.
This document may be used by nongovernmental organizations on a voluntary basis. It is not subject to
copyright.
Nothing in this document should be taken to contradict standards and guidelines made mandatory and
binding upon federal agencies by the Secretary of Commerce under statutory authority. Nor should these
guidelines be interpreted as altering or superseding the existing authorities of the Secretary of Commerce,
the Director of the OMB, or any other federal official.
1.2 Document Purpose and Scope
The purpose of this document is to provide agencies with guidance for establishing secure wireless
networks.1 Agencies are encouraged to tailor the recommended guidelines and solutions to meet their
specific security or business requirements.
The document addresses two wireless technologies that government agencies are most likely to employ:
wireless local area networks (WLAN) and ad hoc or—more specifically—Bluetooth networks. The
document also addresses the use of wireless handheld devices. The document does not address
technologies such as wireless radio and other WLAN standards that are not designed to the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 standard. These technologies are out of the scope of
this document.
Wireless technologies are changing rapidly. New products and features are being introduced
continuously. Many of these products now offer security features designed to resolve long-standing
weaknesses or address newly discovered ones. Yet with each new capability, a new threat or vulnerability
is likely to arise. Wireless technologies are evolving swiftly. Therefore, it is essential to remain abreast of
1 See also NIST Special Publication 800-46, Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications.
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the current and emerging trends in the technologies and in the security or insecurities of these
technologies. Again, this guideline does not cover security of other types of wireless or emerging wireless
technologies such as third-generation (3G) wireless telephony.
1.3 Audience and Assumptions
This document covers details specific to wireless technologies and solutions. The document is technical in
nature; however, it provides the necessary background to fully understand the topics that are discussed.
Hence, the following list highlights how people with differing backgrounds might use this document. The
intended audience is varied and includes the following:
! Government managers who are planning to employ wireless networked computing devices in their
agencies (chief information officers, senior managers, etc.)
! Systems engineers and architects when designing and implementing networks
! System administrators when administering, patching, securing, or upgrading wireless networks
! Security consultants when performing security assessments to determine security postures of wireless
environments
! Researchers and analysts who are trying to understand the underlying wireless technologies.
This document assumes that the readers have some minimal operating system, networking, and security
expertise. Because of the constantly changing nature of the wireless security industry and the threats and
vulnerabilities to these technologies, readers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of other resources
(including those listed in this document) for more current and detailed information.
1.4 Document Organization
The document is divided into five sections followed by six appendices. This subsection is a roadmap
describing the document structure.
! Section 1 is composed of an authority, purpose, scope, audience, assumptions, and document
structure.
! Section 2 provides an overview of wireless technology.
! Section 3 examines 802.11 WLAN technology, including the benefits and security risks of 802.11 and
provides guidelines for mitigating those risks.
! Section 4 examines Bluetooth ad hoc network technology, including its benefits and security risks and
provides guidelines for mitigating those risks.
! Section 5 discusses the benefits and security risks of handheld wireless devices and provides
guidelines for mitigating those risks.
! Appendix A shows the frequency ranges of common wireless devices.
! Appendix B provides a glossary of terms used in this document.
! Appendix C lists the acronyms and abbreviations used in this document.
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! Appendix D describes the differences between the various 802.11 standards.
! Appendix E provides a list of useful Universal Resource Locators (URL).
! Appendix F provides a list of useful wireless networking tools and URLs.
! Appendix G contains the references used in the development of the document.
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2. Overview of Wireless Technology
Wireless technologies, in the simplest sense, enable one or more devices to communicate without physical
connections—without requiring network or peripheral cabling. Wireless technologies use radio frequency
transmissions as the means for transmitting data, whereas wired technologies use cables. Wireless
technologies range from complex systems, such as Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) and cell
phones to simple devices such as wireless headphones, microphones, and other devices that do not
process or store information. They also include infrared (IR) devices such as remote controls, some
cordless computer keyboards and mice, and wireless hi-fi stereo headsets, all of which require a direct
line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver to close the link. A brief overview of wireless
networks, devices, standards, and security issues is presented in this section.
2.1 Wireless Networks
Wireless networks serve as the transport mechanism between devices and among devices and the
traditional wired networks (enterprise networks and the Internet). Wireless networks are many and diverse
but are frequently categorized into three groups based on their coverage range: Wireless Wide Area
Networks (WWAN), WLANs, and Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPAN). WWAN includes wide
coverage area technologies such as 2G cellular, Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD), Global System for
Mobile Communications (GSM), and Mobitex. WLAN, representing wireless local area networks,
includes 802.11, HiperLAN, and several others. WPAN, represents wireless personal area network
technologies such as Bluetooth and IR. All of these technologies are “tetherless”—they receive and
transmit information using electromagnetic (EM) waves. Wireless technologies use wavelengths ranging
from the radio frequency (RF) band up to and above the IR band.2 The frequencies in the RF band cover a
significant portion of the EM radiation spectrum, extending from 9 kilohertz (kHz), the lowest allocated
wireless communications frequency, to thousands of gigahertz (GHz). As the frequency is increased
beyond the RF spectrum, EM energy moves into the IR and then the visible spectrum. (See Appendix A
for a list of common wireless frequencies.) This document focuses on WLAN and WPAN technologies.
2.1.1 Wireless LANs
WLANs allow greater flexibility and portability than do traditional wired local area networks (LAN).
Unlike a traditional LAN, which requires a wire to connect a user’s computer to the network, a WLAN
connects computers and other components to the network using an access point device. An access point
communicates with devices equipped with wireless network adaptors; it connects to a wired Ethernet
LAN via an RJ-45 port. Access point devices typically have coverage areas of up to 300 feet
(approximately 100 meters). This coverage area is called a cell or range. Users move freely within the cell
with their laptop or other network device. Access point cells can be linked together to allow users to even
“roam” within a building or between buildings.
2.1.2 Ad Hoc Networks
Ad hoc networks such as Bluetooth are networks designed to dynamically connect remote devices such as
cell phones, laptops, and PDAs. These networks are termed “ad hoc” because of their shifting network
topologies. Whereas WLANs use a fixed network infrastructure, ad hoc networks maintain random
network configurations, relying on a master-slave system connected by wireless links to enable devices to
communicate. In a Bluetooth network, the master of the piconet controls the changing network topologies
of these networks. It also controls the flow of data between devices that are capable of supporting direct
links to each other. As devices move about in an unpredictable fashion, these networks must be
2 Appendix A provides an overview of wireless frequencies and their use.
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reconfigured on the fly to handle the dynamic topology. The routing that protocol Bluetooth employs
allows the master to establish and maintain these shifting networks.
Figure 2-1 illustrates an example of a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone connecting to a mobile phone
network, synchronizing with a PDA address book, and downloading e-mail on an IEEE 802.11 WLAN.
Laptop
Bluetooth Network
Mobile Phone Network
IEEE 802.11 Network
Mobile Phone
PDA
Figure 2-1. Notional Ad Hoc Network
2.2 Wireless Devices
A wide range of devices use wireless technologies, with handheld devices being the most prevalent form
today. This document discusses the most commonly used wireless handheld devices such as textmessaging
devices, PDAs, and smart phones.3
2.2.1 Personal Digital Assistants
PDAs are data organizers that are small enough to fit into a shirt pocket or a purse. PDAs offer
applications such as office productivity, database applications, address books, schedulers, and to-do lists,
and they allow users to synchronize data between two PDAs and between a PDA and a personal
computer. Newer versions allow users to download their e-mail and to connect to the Internet. Security
administrators may also encounter one-way and two-way text-messaging devices. These devices operate
on a proprietary networking standard that disseminates e-mail to remote devices by accessing the
corporate network. Text-messaging technology is designed to monitor a user’s inbox for new e-mail and
relay the mail to the user’s wireless handheld device via the Internet and wireless network.
3 It should be noted, however, that the lines between these devices are rapidly blurring as manufacturers incorporate and
integrate increased capabilities and features.
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2.2.2 Smart Phones
Mobile wireless telephones, or cell phones, are telephones that have shortwave analog or digital
transmission capabilities that allow users to establish wireless connections to nearby transmitters. As with
WLANs, the transmitter’s span of coverage is called a “cell.” As the cell phone user moves from one cell
to the next, the telephone connection is effectively passed from one local cell transmitter to the next.
Today’s cell phone is rapidly evolving to integration with PDAs, thus providing users with increased
wireless e-mail and Internet access. Mobile phones with information-processing and data networking
capabilities are called “smart phones.” This document addresses the risks introduced by the informationprocessing
and networking capabilities of smart phones.
2.3 Wireless Standards
Wireless technologies conform to a variety of standards and offer varying levels of security features. The
principal advantages of standards are to encourage mass production and to allow products from multiple
vendors to interoperate. For this document, the discussion of wireless standards is limited to the IEEE
802.11 and the Bluetooth standard. WLANs follow the IEEE 802.11 standards. Ad hoc networks follow
proprietary techniques or are based on the Bluetooth standard, which was developed by a consortium of
commercial companies making up the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). These standards are
described below.
2.3.1 IEEE 802.11
WLANs are based on the IEEE 802.11 standard, which the IEEE first developed in 1997. The IEEE
designed 802.11 to support medium-range, higher data rate applications, such as Ethernet networks, and
to address mobile and portable stations.
802.11 is the original WLAN standard, designed for 1 Mbps to 2 Mbps wireless transmissions. It was
followed in 1999 by 802.11a, which established a high-speed WLAN standard for the 5 GHz band and
supported 54 Mbps. Also completed in 1999 was the 802.11b standard, which operates in the 2.4 – 2.48
GHz band and supports 11 Mbps. The 802.11b standard is currently the dominant standard for WLANs,
providing sufficient speeds for most of today’s applications. Because the 802.11b standard has been so
widely adopted, the security weaknesses in the standard have been exposed. These weaknesses will be
discussed in Section 3.3.2. Another standard, 802.11g, still in draft, operates in the 2.4 GHz waveband,
where current WLAN products based on the 802.11b standard operate.4
Two other important and related standards for WLANs are 802.1X and 802.11i. The 802.1X, a port-level
access control protocol, provides a security framework for IEEE networks, including Ethernet and
wireless networks. The 802.11i standard, also still in draft, was created for wireless-specific security
functions that operate with IEEE 802.1X. The 802.11i standard is discussed further in Section 3.5.
2.3.2 Bluetooth
Bluetooth has emerged as a very popular ad hoc network standard today. The Bluetooth standard is a
computing and telecommunications industry specification that describes how mobile phones, computers,
and PDAs should interconnect with each other, with home and business phones, and with computers
using short-range wireless connections. Bluetooth network applications include wireless synchronization,
e-mail/Internet/intranet access using local personal computer connections, hidden computing through
automated applications and networking, and applications that can be used for such devices as hands-free
4 See http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/11/Reports/tgg_update.htm.
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headsets and car kits. The Bluetooth standard specifies wireless operation in the 2.45 GHz radio band and
supports data rates up to 720 kbps.5 It further supports up to three simultaneous voice channels and
employs frequency-hopping schemes and power reduction to reduce interference with other devices
operating in the same frequency band. The IEEE 802.15 organization has derived a wireless personal area
networking technology based on Bluetooth specifications v1.1.
2.4 Wireless Security Threats and Risk Mitigation
The NIST handbook An Introduction to Computer Security generically classifies security threats in nine
categories ranging from errors and omissions to threats to personal privacy. 6 All of these represent
potential threats in wireless networks as well. However, the more immediate concerns for wireless
communications are device theft, denial of service, malicious hackers, malicious code, theft of service,
and industrial and foreign espionage. Theft is likely to occur with wireless devices because of their
portability. Authorized and unauthorized users of the system may commit fraud and theft; however,
authorized users are more likely to carry out such acts. Since users of a system may know what resources
a system has and the system’s security flaws, it is easier for them to commit fraud and theft. Malicious
hackers, sometimes called crackers, are individuals who break into a system without authorization,
usually for personal gain or to do harm. Malicious hackers are generally individuals from outside of an
agency or organization (although users within an agency or organization can be a threat as well). Such
hackers may gain access to the wireless network access point by eavesdropping on wireless device
communications. Malicious code involves viruses, worms, Trojan horses, logic bombs, or other unwanted
software that is designed to damage files or bring down a system. Theft of service occurs when an
unauthorized user gains access to the network and consumes network resources. Industrial and foreign
espionage involves gathering proprietary data from corporations or intelligence information from
governments through eavesdropping. In wireless networks, the espionage threat stems from the relative
ease with which eavesdropping can occur on radio transmissions.
Attacks resulting from these threats, if successful, place an agency’s systems—and, more importantly, its
data—at risk. Ensuring confidentiality, integrity, authenticity, and availability are the prime objectives of
all government security policies and practices. NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-26, Security Self-
Assessment Guide for Information Technology Systems, states that information must be protected from
unauthorized, unanticipated, or unintentional modification. Security requirements include the following:
! Authenticity—A third party must be able to verify that the content of a message has not been
changed in transit.
! Nonrepudiation—The origin or the receipt of a specific message must be verifiable by a third party.
! Accountability—The actions of an entity must be traceable uniquely to that entity.
Network availability is “the property of being accessible and usable upon demand by an authorized
entity.”
5 Next generation of Bluetooth will have a theoretical throughput of up to 2 Mbps.
6 The NIST Handbook, Special Publication 800-12, An Introduction to Computer Security.
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The information technology resource (system or data) must be available on a timely basis to meet
mission requirements or to avoid substantial losses. Availability also includes ensuring that
resources are used only for intended purposes.7
Risks in wireless networks are equal to the sum of the risk of operating a wired network (as in operating a
network in general) plus the new risks introduced by weaknesses in wireless protocols. To mitigate these
risks, agencies need to adopt security measures and practices that help bring their risks to a manageable
level. They need, for example, to perform security assessments prior to implementation to determine the
specific threats and vulnerabilities that wireless networks will introduce in their environments. In
performing the assessment, they should consider existing security policies, known threats and
vulnerabilities, legislation and regulations, safety, reliability, system performance, the life-cycle costs of
security measures, and technical requirements. Once the risk assessment is complete, the agency can
begin planning and implementing the measures that it will put in place to safeguard its systems and lower
its security risks to a manageable level. The agency should periodically reassess the policies and measures
that it puts in place because computer technologies and malicious threats are continually changing. (For
more detailed information on the risk mitigation and safeguard selection process, refer to NIST SP 800-
12, An Introduction to Computer Security, and 800-30, Risk Management Guide for IT Systems.) To date,
the list below includes some of the more salient threats and vulnerabilities of wireless systems:
! All the vulnerabilities that exist in a conventional wired network apply to wireless technologies.
! Malicious entities may gain unauthorized access to an agency’s computer or voice (IP telephony)
network through wireless connections, potentially bypassing any firewall protections.
! Sensitive information that is not encrypted (or that is encrypted with poor cryptographic techniques)
and that is transmitted between two wireless devices may be intercepted and disclosed.
! Denial of service (DoS) attacks may be directed at wireless connections or devices.
! Malicious entities may steal the identity of legitimate users and masquerade as them on internal or
external corporate networks.
! Sensitive data may be corrupted during improper synchronization.
! Malicious entities may be able to violate the privacy of legitimate users and be able to track their
physical movements.
! Malicious entities may deploy unauthorized equipment (e.g., client devices and access points) to
surreptitiously gain access to sensitive information.
! Handheld devices are easily stolen and can reveal sensitive information.
! Data may be extracted without detection from improperly configured devices.
! Viruses or other malicious code may corrupt data on a wireless device and be subsequently
introduced to a wired network connection.
! Malicious entities may, through wireless connections, connect to other agencies for the purposes of
launching attacks and concealing their activity.
! Interlopers, from inside or out, may be able to gain connectivity to network management controls and
thereby disable or disrupt operations.
7 ISO/IEC 7498-2.
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! Malicious entities may use a third party, untrusted wireless network services to gain access to an
agency’s network resources.
! Internal attacks may be possible via ad hoc transmissions.
As with wired networks, agency officials need to be aware of liability issues for the loss of sensitive
information or for any attacks launched from a compromised network.
2.5 Emerging Wireless Technologies
Originally, handheld devices had limited functionality because of size and power requirements. However,
the technology is improving, and handheld devices are becoming more feature-rich and portable. More
significantly, the various wireless devices and their respective technologies are merging. The mobile
phone, for instance, has increased functionality that now allows it to serve as a PDA as well as a phone.
Smart phones are merging mobile phone and PDA technologies to provide normal voice service and email,
text messaging, paging, Web access, and voice recognition. Next-generation mobile phones, already
on the market, are quickly incorporating PDA, IR, wireless Internet, e-mail, and global positioning system
(GPS) capabilities.
Manufacturers are combining standards as well, with the goal to provide a device capable of delivering
multiple services. Other developments that will soon be on the market include global system for mobile
communications-based (GSM-based) technologies such as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Local
Multipoint Distribution Services (LMDS), Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE), and Universal
Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS). These technologies will provide high data transmission
rates and greater networking capabilities. However, each new development will present its own security
risks, and government agencies must address these risks to ensure that critical assets remain protected.
2.6 Federal Information Processing Standards
FIPS 140-2 defines a framework and methodology for NIST’s current and future cryptographic standards.
The standard provides users with the following:
! A specification of security features that are required at each of four security levels
! Flexibility in choosing security requirements
! A guide to ensuring that the cryptographic modules incorporate necessary security features
! The assurance that the modules are compliant with cryptography-based standards.
The Secretary of Commerce has made FIPS 140-2 mandatory and binding for U.S. federal agencies. The
standard is specifically applicable when a federal agency determines that cryptography is necessary for
protecting sensitive information. The standard is used in designing and implementing cryptographic
modules that federal departments and agencies operate or have operated for them. FIPS 140-2 is
applicable if the module is incorporated in a product or application or if it functions as a standalone
device. As currently defined, the security of neither 802.11 nor Bluetooth meets the FIPS 140-2 standard.
Federal agencies, industry, and the public rely on cryptography to protect information and
communications used in critical infrastructures, electronic commerce, and other application areas.
Cryptographic modules are implemented in these products and systems to provide cryptographic services
such as confidentiality, integrity, nonrepudiation, identification, and authentication. Adequate testing and
validation of the cryptographic module against established standards is essential for security assurance.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Both federal agencies and the public benefit from the use of tested and validated products. Without
adequate testing, weaknesses such as poor design, weak algorithms, or incorrect implementation of the
cryptographic module can result in insecure products.
In 1995, NIST, established the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP) that validates
cryptographic modules to FIPS 140-2, Security Requirements for Cryptographic Modules, and other FIPS
cryptography-based standards. The CMVP is a joint effort between NIST and the Communications
Security Establishment (CSE) of the Government of Canada. Products validated as conforming to FIPS
140-2 are accepted by the federal agencies of both countries for the protection of sensitive information.
Vendors of cryptographic modules use independent, accredited testing laboratories to test their modules.
NIST’s Computer Security Division and CSE jointly serve as the validation authorities for the program,
validating the test results. Currently, there are six National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program
(NVLAP) accredited laboratories that perform FIPS 140-2 compliance testing.8
8 These labs are listed on the following Web site: http://csrc.nist.gov/cryptval/140-1/1401labs.htm.
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3. Wireless LANs
This section provides a detailed overview of 802.11 WLAN technology. The section includes
introductory material on the history of 802.11 and provides other technical information, including 802.11
frequency ranges and data rates, network topologies, transmission ranges, and applications. It examines
the security threats and vulnerabilities associated with WLANs and offers various means for reducing
risks and securing WLAN environments.
3.1 Wireless LAN Overview
WLAN technology and the WLAN industry date back to the mid-1980s when the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) first made the RF spectrum available to industry. During the 1980s
and early 1990s, growth was relatively slow. Today, however, WLAN technology is experiencing
tremendous growth. The key reason for this growth is the increased bandwidth made possible by the IEEE
802.11 standard. As an introduction to the 802.11 and WLAN technology, Table 3-1 provides some key
characteristics at a glance.
Table 3-1. Key Characteristics of 802.11 Wireless LANs
Characteristic Description
Physical Layer
Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS), Frequency Hopping Spread
Spectrum (FHSS), Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM),
infrared (IR).
Frequency Band 2.4 GHz (ISM band) and 5 GHz.
Data Rates 1 Mbps, 2 Mbps, 5.5 Mbps (11b), 11 Mbps (11b), 54 Mbps (11a)
Data and Network
Security
RC4-based stream encryption algorithm for confidentiality, authentication,
and integrity. Limited key management. (AES is being considered for
802.11i.)
Operating Range Up to 150 feet indoors and 1500 feet outdoors.9
Positive Aspects
Ethernet speeds without wires; many different products from many
different companies. Wireless client cards and access point costs are
decreasing.
Negative Aspects Poor security in native mode; throughput decrease with distance and load.
3.1.1 Brief History
Motorola developed one of the first commercial WLAN systems with its Altair product. However, early
WLAN technologies had several problems that prohibited its pervasive use. These LANs were expensive,
provided low data rates, were prone to radio interference, and were designed mostly to proprietary RF
technologies. The IEEE initiated the 802.11 project in 1990 with a scope “to develop a Medium Access
Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specification for wireless connectivity for fixed, portable, and
moving stations within an area.” In 1997, IEEE first approved the 802.11 international interoperability
standard. Then, in 1999, the IEEE ratified the 802.11a and the 802.11b wireless networking
communication standards. The goal was to create a standards-based technology that could span multiple
physical encoding types, frequencies, and applications. The 802.11a standard uses orthogonal frequency
division multiplexing (OFDM) to reduce interference. This technology uses the 5 GHz frequency
spectrum and can process data at up to 54 Mbps.
9 These numbers will vary immensely depending on the operating environment (obstacles and material construction) and the
equipment used. Outdoor ranges, with high gain directional antennas, can exceed 20 miles.
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Although this section of the document focuses on the IEEE 802.11 WLAN standard, it is important to
note that several other WLAN technologies and standards are available from which consumers may
choose, including HiperLAN and HomeRF. For information on the European Telecommunications
Standards Institute (ETSI) developed HiperLAN, visit the HiperLAN Alliance site.10 For more
information on HomeRF, visit the HomeRF Working Group site.11 This document does not address those
technologies.
3.1.2 Frequency and Data Rates
IEEE developed the 802.11 standards to provide wireless networking technology like the wired Ethernet
that has been available for many years. The IEEE 802.11a standard is the most widely adopted member of
the 802.11 WLAN family. It operates in the licensed 5 GHz band using OFDM technology. The popular
802.11b standard operates in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz–2.5 GHz Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM)
frequency band using a direct sequence spread-spectrum technology. The ISM band has become popular
for wireless communications because it is available worldwide. The 802.11b WLAN technology permits
transmission speeds of up to 11 Mbits per second. This makes it considerably faster than the original
IEEE 802.11 standard (that sends data at up to 2 Mbps) and slightly faster than standard Ethernet. A
summary of the various 802.11 standards is provided in Appendix D.
3.1.3 802.11 Architecture
The IEEE 802.11 standard permits devices to establish either peer-to-peer (P2P) networks or networks
based on fixed access points (AP) with which mobile nodes can communicate. Hence, the standard
defines two basic network topologies: the infrastructure network and the ad hoc network. The
infrastructure network is meant to extend the range of the wired LAN to wireless cells. A laptop or other
mobile device may move from cell to cell (from AP to AP) while maintaining access to the resources of
the LAN. A cell is the area covered by an AP and is called a “basic service set” (BSS). The collection of
all cells of an infrastructure network is called an extended service set (ESS). This first topology is useful
for providing wireless coverage of building or campus areas. By deploying multiple APs with overlapping
coverage areas, organizations can achieve broad network coverage. WLAN technology can be used to
replace wired LANs totally and to extend LAN infrastructure.
A WLAN environment has wireless client stations that use radio modems to communicate to an AP. The
client stations are generally equipped with a wireless network interface card (NIC) that consists of the
radio transceiver and the logic to interact with the client machine and software. An AP comprises
essentially a radio transceiver on one side and a bridge to the wired backbone on the other. The AP, a
stationary device that is part of the wired infrastructure, is analogous to a cell-site (base station) in cellular
communications. All communications between the client stations and between clients and the wired
network go through the AP. The basic topology of a WLAN is depicted in Figure 3-1.
10 For more information see the HiperLAN Alliance site http:///www.hiperlan.com.
11 For more information see the HomeRF Working Group site http://www.homeRF.org.
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Access Point
Access Point
Station
Station
To Other Network
Segments / Internet
Router
Hub
Figure 3-1. Fundamental 802.11 Wireless LAN Topology
Although most WLANs operate in the “infrastructure” mode and architecture described above, another
topology is also possible. This second topology, the ad hoc network, is meant to easily interconnect
mobile devices that are in the same area (e.g., in the same room). In this architecture, client stations are
grouped into a single geographic area and can be Internet-worked without access to the wired LAN
(infrastructure network). The interconnected devices in the ad hoc mode are referred to as an independent
basic service set (IBSS). The ad hoc topology is depicted in Figure 3-2 below.
Laptop
Figure 3-2. 802.11 Wireless LAN Ad Hoc Topology
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The ad hoc configuration is similar to a peer-to-peer office network in which no node is required to
function as a server. As an ad hoc WLAN, laptops, desktops and other 802.11 devices can share files
without the use of an AP.
3.1.4 Wireless LAN Components
A WLAN comprises two types of equipment: a wireless station and an access point. A station, or client, is
typically a laptop or notebook personal computer (PC) with a wireless NIC.12 A WLAN client may also
be a desktop or handheld device (e.g., PDA, or custom device such as a barcode scanner) or equipment
within a kiosk on a manufacturing floor or other publicly accessed area. Wireless laptops and
notebooks—“wireless enabled”—are identical to laptops and notebooks except that they use wireless
NICs to connect to access points in the network. The wireless NIC is commonly inserted in the client’s
Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) slot or Universal Serial Bus
(USB) port. The NICs use radio signals to establish connections to the WLAN. The AP, which acts as a
bridge between the wireless and wired networks, typically comprises a radio, a wired network interface
such as 802.3, and bridging software. The AP functions as a base station for the wireless network,
aggregating multiple wireless stations onto the wired network.
3.1.5 Range
The reliable coverage range for 802.11 WLANs depends on several factors, including data rate required
and capacity, sources of RF interference, physical area and characteristics, power, connectivity, and
antenna usage. Theoretical ranges are from 29 meters (for 11 Mbps) in a closed office area to 485 meters
(for 1 Mbps) in an open area. However, through empirical analysis, the typical range for connectivity of
802.11 equipment is approximately 50 meters (about 163 ft.) indoors. A range of 400 meters, nearly ¼
mile, makes WLAN the ideal technology for many campus applications. It is important to recognize that
special high-gain antennas can increase the range to several miles.
Open-space
400-meter range
In-building
50-meter
Application Space
• Small Office
• Home
Application Space
• Healthcare and Hospital
• University Campus
• Business
• Retail Mall
• Other campus use
Figure 3-3. Typical Range of 802.11 WLAN
APs may also provide a “bridging” function. Bridging connects two or more networks together and
allows them to communicate—to exchange network traffic. Bridging involves either a point-to-point or a
multipoint configuration. In a point-to-point architecture, two LANs are connected to each other via the
12 Notebook computers are basically the same as laptop computers, except that they are generally lighter in weight and smaller
in size.
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LANs’ respective APs. In multipoint bridging, one subnet on a LAN is connected to several other subnets
on another LAN via each subnet AP. For example, if a computer on Subnet A needed to connect to
computers on Subnets B, C, and D, Subnet A’s AP would connect to B’s, C’s, and D’s respective APs.
Enterprises may use bridging to connect LANs between different buildings on corporate campuses.
Bridging AP devices are typically placed on top of buildings to achieve greater antenna reception. The
typical distance over which one AP can be connected wirelessly to another by means of bridging is
approximately 2 miles. This distance may vary depending on several factors including the specific
receiver or transceiver being used.13 Figure 3-4 illustrates point-to-point bridging between two LANs. In
the example, wireless data is being transmitted from Laptop A to Laptop B, from one building to the next,
using each building’s appropriately positioned AP. Laptop A connects to the closest AP within the
building A. The receiving AP in building A then transmits the data (over the wired LAN) to the AP
bridge located on the building’s roof. That AP bridge then transmits the data to the bridge on nearby
building B. The building’s AP bridge then sends the data over its wired LAN to Laptop B.
Wireless transmissions
Laptop A Laptop B
A
B
Figure 3-4. Access Point Bridging
3.2 Benefits
WLANs offer four primary benefits:
! User Mobility—Users can access files, network resources, and the Internet without having to
physically connect to the network with wires. Users can be mobile yet retain high-speed, real-time
access to the enterprise LAN.
! Rapid Installation—The time required for installation is reduced because network connections can
be made without moving or adding wires, or pulling them through walls or ceilings, or making
modifications to the infrastructure cable plant. For example, WLANs are often cited as making LAN
installations possible in buildings that are subject to historic preservation rules.
! Flexibility—Enterprises can also enjoy the flexibility of installing and taking down WLANs in
locations as necessary. Users can quickly install a small WLAN for temporary needs such as a
conference, trade show, or standards meeting.
! Scalability—WLAN network topologies can easily be configured to meet specific application and
installation needs and to scale from small peer-to-peer networks to very large enterprise networks that
enable roaming over a broad area.
13 See Bridging at ftp://download.intel.com/support/network/Wireless/pro201lb/accesspoint/bridging.pdf for more information
on access point bridging.
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Because of these fundamental benefits, the WLAN market has been increasing steadily over the past
several years, and WLANs are still gaining in popularity. WLANs are now becoming a viable alternative
to traditional wired solutions. For example, hospitals, universities, airports, hotels, and retail shops are
already using wireless technologies to conduct their daily business operations.
3.3 Security of 802.11 Wireless LANs
This section discusses the built-in security features of 802.11. It provides an overview of the inherent
security features to better illustrate its limitations and provide a motivation for some of the
recommendations for enhanced security. The IEEE 802.11 specification identified several services to
provide a secure operating environment. The security services are provided largely by the Wired
Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol to protect link-level data during wireless transmission between clients
and access points. WEP does not provide end-to-end security, but only for the wireless portion of the
connection as shown in Figure 3-5.
Router Hub
AP
Wired LAN
No Security or security is provided through other means 802.11 Security
Figure 3-5. Wireless Security of 802.11 in Typical Network
3.3.1 Security Features of 802.11 Wireless LANs per the Standard
The three basic security services defined by IEEE for the WLAN environment are as follows:
! Authentication—A primary goal of WEP was to provide a security service to verify the identity of
communicating client stations. This provides access control to the network by denying access to client
stations that cannot authenticate properly. This service addresses the question, “Are only authorized
persons allowed to gain access to my network?”
! Confidentiality—Confidentiality, or privacy, was a second goal of WEP. It was developed to provide
“privacy achieved by a wired network.” The intent was to prevent information compromise from
casual eavesdropping (passive attack). This service, in general, addresses the question, “Are only
authorized persons allowed to view my data?”
! Integrity—Another goal of WEP was a security service developed to ensure that messages are not
modified in transit between the wireless clients and the access point in an active attack. This service
addresses the question, “Is the data coming into or exiting the network trustworthy—has it been
tampered with?”
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It is important to note that the standard did not address other security services such as audit, authorization,
and nonrepudiation. The security services offered by 802.11 are described in greater detail below.
3.3.1.1 Authentication
The IEEE 802.11 specification defines two means to “validate” wireless users attempting to gain access to
a wired network: open-system authentication and shared-key authentication. One means, shared-key
authentication, is based on cryptography, and the other is not. The open-system authentication technique
is not truly authentication; the access point accepts the mobile station without verifying the identity of the
station. It should be noted also that the authentication is only one-way: only the mobile station is
authenticated. The mobile station must trust that it is communicating to a real AP. A taxonomy of the
techniques for 802.11 is depicted in Figure 3-6.
802.11 Authentication
Non-cryptographic
Does not use RC4
Cryptographic
Uses RC4
Open System Authentication Shared-key Authentication
A station is allowed to join
a network without any identity
verification.
A station is allowed to join network if
it proves WEP key is shared.
(Fundamental security based on
knowledge of secret key)
2-stage Challenge-Response
(Required)
1-stage Challenge-Response
(Not required)
Figure 3-6. Taxonomy of 802.11 Authentication Techniques
With Open System authentication, a client is authenticated if it simply responds with a MAC address
during the two-message exchange with an access point. During the exchange, the client is not truly
validated but simply responds with the correct fields in the message exchange. Obviously, with out
cryptographic validatedation, open-system authentication is highly vulnerable to attack and practically
invites unauthorized access. Open-system authentication is the only required form of authentication by the
802.11 specification.
Shared key authentication is a cryptographic technique for authentication. It is a simple “challengeresponse”
scheme based on whether a client has knowledge of a shared secret. In this scheme, as depicted
conceptually in Figure 3-7, a random challenge is generated by the access point and sent to the wireless
client. The client, using a cryptographic key that is shared with the AP, encrypts the challenge (or
“nonce,” as it is called in security vernacular) and returns the result to the AP. The AP decrypts the result
computed by the client and allows access only if the decrypted value is the same as the random challenge
transmitted. The algorithm used in the cryptographic computation and for the generation of the 128-bit
challenge text is the RC4 stream cipher developed by Ron Rivest of MIT. It should be noted that the
authentication method just described is a rudimentary cryptographic technique, and it does not provide
mutual authentication. That is, the client does not authenticate the AP, and therefore there is no assurance
that a client is communicating with a legitimate AP and wireless network. It is also worth noting that
simple unilateral challenge-response schemes have long been known to be weak. They suffer from
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numerous attacks including the infamous “man-in-the-middle” attack. Lastly, the IEEE 802.11
specification does not require shared-key authentication.
Authentication request
Wireless station
Challenge
Response
Confirm success
Generate random number to challenge station
Decrypt response to recover challenge
Verify that challenges equate
Encrypt challenge using RC4 algorithm
AP
Figure 3-7. Shared-key Authentication Message Flow
3.3.1.2 Privacy
The 802.11 standard supports privacy (confidentiality) through the use of cryptographic techniques for the
wireless interface. The WEP cryptographic technique for confidentiality also uses the RC4 symmetrickey,
stream cipher algorithm to generate a pseudo-random data sequence. This “key stream” is simply
added modulo 2 (exclusive-OR-ed) to the data to be transmitted. Through the WEP technique, data can be
protected from disclosure during transmission over the wireless link. WEP is applied to all data above the
802.11 WLAN layers to protect traffic such as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP),
Internet Packet Exchange (IPX), and Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
As defined in the 802.11 standard, WEP supports only a 40-bit cryptographic keys size for the shared key.
However, numerous vendors offer nonstandard extensions of WEP that support key lengths from 40 bits
to 104 bits. At least one vendor supports a keysize of 128 bits. The 104-bit WEP key, for instance, with a
24-bit Initialization Vector (IV) becomes a 128-bit RC4 key. In general, all other things being equal,
increasing the key size increases the security of a cryptographic technique. However, it is always possible
for flawed implementations or flawed designs to prevent long keys from increasing security. Research has
shown that key sizes of greater than 80-bits, for robust designs and implementations, make brute-force
cryptanalysis (code breaking) an impossible task. For 80-bit keys, the number of possible keys—a
keyspace of more than 1026—exceeds contemporary computing power. In practice, most WLAN
deployments rely on 40-bit keys. Moreover, recent attacks have shown that the WEP approach for privacy
is, unfortunately, vulnerable to certain attacks regardless of keysize. However, the cryptographic,
standards, and vendor WLAN communities have developed enhanced WEP, which is available as a
prestandard vendor-specific implementations. The attacks mentioned above are described later in the
following sections.
The WEP privacy is illustrated conceptually in Figure 3-8.
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Radio
Interface
Plaintext Input
Payload bits
XOR with
keystream
Keystream
Shared
Key
RC4
Algorithm
IV
Generation
Algorithm
Payload
CRC
Generation
Algorithm
24-bits
Keystream
Concatenate
IV and key
Shared
Key
Per packet
Key
IV
Plaintext Output
IV
RC4
Algorithm
CRC Payload
Per packet
key
Wireless station AP
Ciphertext
Concatenate
IV and key
CRC Payload
Packet Packet
Figure 3-8. WEP Privacy Using RC4 Algorithm
3.3.1.3 Integrity
The IEEE 802.11 specification also outlines a means to provide data integrity for messages transmitted
between wireless clients and access points. This security service was designed to reject any messages that
had been changed by an active adversary “in the middle.” This technique uses a simple encrypted Cyclic
Redundancy Check (CRC) approach. As depicted in the diagram above, a CRC-32, or frame check
sequence, is computed on each payload prior to transmission. The integrity-sealed packet is then
encrypted using the RC4 key stream to provide the cipher-text message. On the receiving end, decryption
is performed and the CRC is recomputed on the message that is received. The CRC computed at the
receiving end is compared with the one computed with the original message. If the CRCs do not equal,
that is, “received in error,” this would indicate an integrity violation (an active message spoofer), and the
packet would be discarded. As with the privacy service, unfortunately, the 802.11 integrity is vulnerable
to certain attacks regardless of key size. In summary, the fundamental flaw in the WEP integrity scheme
is that the simple CRC is not a “cryptographically secure” mechanism such as a hash or message
authentication code.
The IEEE 802.11 specification does not, unfortunately, identify any means for key management (life
cycle handling of cryptographic keys and related material). Therefore, generating, distributing, storing,
loading, escrowing, archiving, auditing, and destroying the material is left to those deploying WLANs.
Key management (probably the most critical aspect of a cryptographic system) for 802.11 is left largely
as an exercise for the users of the 802.11 network. As a result, many vulnerabilities could be introduced
into the WLAN environment. These vulnerabilities include WEP keys that are non-unique, never
changing, factory-defaults, or weak keys (all zeros, all ones, based on easily guessed passwords, or other
similar trivial patterns). Additionally, because key management was not part of the original 802.11
specification, with the key distribution unresolved, WEP-secured WLANs do not scale well. If an
enterprise recognizes the need to change keys often and to make them random, the task is formidable in a
large WLAN environment. For example, a large campus may have as many as 15,000 APs. Generating,
distributing, loading, and managing keys for an environment of this size is a significant challenge. It is
has been suggested that the only practical way to distribute keys in a large dynamic environment is to
publish it. However, a fundamental tenet of cryptography is that cryptographic keys remain secret. Hence
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we have a major dichotomy. This dichotomy exists for any technology that neglects to elegantly address
the key distribution problem.
3.3.2 Problems With the IEEE 802.11 Standard Security
This section discusses some known vulnerabilities in the standardized security of the 802.11 WLAN
standard. As mentioned above, the WEP protocol is used in 802.11-based WLANs. WEP in turn uses a
RC4 cryptographic algorithm with a variable length key to protect traffic. Again, the 802.11 standard
supports WEP cryptographic keys of 40-bits. However, some vendors have implemented products with
keys 104-bit keys and even 128-bit keys. With the addition of the 24-bit IV, the actual key used in the
RC4 algorithm is 152 bits for the 128 bits WEP key. It is worthy to note that some vendors generate keys
after a keystroke from a user, which, if done properly, using the proper random processes, can result in a
strong WEP key. Other vendors, however, have based WEP keys on passwords that are chosen by users;
this typically reduces the effective key size.
Several groups of computer security specialists have discovered security problems that let malicious users
compromise the security of WLANs. These include passive attacks to decrypt traffic based on statistical
analysis, active attacks to inject new traffic from unauthorized mobile stations (i.e., based on known plain
text), active attacks to decrypt traffic (i.e., based on tricking the access point), and dictionary-building
attacks. The dictionary building attack is possible after analyzing enough traffic on a busy network.14
Security problems with WEP include the following:
1. The use of static WEP keys—many users in a wireless network potentially sharing the identical
key for long periods of time, is a well-known security vulnerability. This is in part due to the lack
of any key management provisions in the WEP protocol. If a computer such as a laptop were to
be lost or stolen, the key could become compromised along with all the other computers sharing
that key. Moreover, if every station uses the same key, a large amount of traffic may be rapidly
available to an eavesdropper for analytic attacks, such as 2 and 3 below.
2. The IV in WEP, as shown in Figure 3-8, is a 24-bit field sent in the clear text portion of a
message. This 24-bit string, used to initialize the key stream generated by the RC4 algorithm, is a
relatively small field when used for cryptographic purposes. Reuse of the same IV produces
identical key streams for the protection of data, and the short IV guarantees that they will repeat
after a relatively short time in a busy network. Moreover, the 802.11 standard does not specify
how the IVs are set or changed, and individual wireless NICs from the same vendor may all
generate the same IV sequences, or some wireless NICs may possibly use a constant IV. As a
result, hackers can record network traffic, determine the key stream, and use it to decrypt the
cipher-text.
3. The IV is a part of the RC4 encryption key. The fact that an eavesdropper knows 24-bits of
every packet key, combined with a weakness in the RC4 key schedule, leads to a successful
analytic attack, that recovers the key, after intercepting and analyzing only a relatively small
amount of traffic. This attack is publicly available as an attack script and open source code.
4. WEP provides no cryptographic integrity protection. However, the 802.11 MAC protocol uses
a noncryptographic Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) to check the integrity of packets, and
acknowledge packets with the correct checksum. The combination of noncryptographic
checksums with stream ciphers is dangerous and often introduces vulnerablities, as is the case for
14 Borisov, N., Goldberg, I., and D. Wagner, http://www.isaac.cs.berkley.edu/isaac/wep-faq.html.
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WEP. There is an active attack that permits the attacker to decrypt any packet by systematically
modifying the packet and CRC sending it to the AP and noting whether the packet is
acknowledged. These kinds of attacks are often subtle, and it is now considered risky to design
encryption protocols that do not include cryptographic integrity protection, because of the
possibility of interactions with other protocol levels that can give away information about cipher
text.
Note that only one of the four problems listed above depends on a weakness in the cryptographic
algorithm. Therefore, these problems would not be improved by substituting a stronger stream cipher. For
example, the third problem listed above is a consequence of a weakness in the implementation of the RC4
stream cipher that is exposed by a poorly designed protocol.
Some of the problems associated with WEP and 802.11 WLAN security are summarized in Table 3-2.
Table 3-2. Key Problems with Existing 802.11 Wireless LAN Security
Security Issue or Vulnerability Remarks
1. Security features in vendor
products are frequently not
enabled.
Security features, albeit poor in some cases, are not enabled when
shipped, and users do not enable when installed. Bad security is
generally better than no security.
2. IVs are short (or static). 24-bit IVs cause the generated key stream to repeat. Repetition
allows easy decryption of data for a moderately sophisticated
adversary.
3. Cryptographic keys are
short.
40-bit keys are inadequate for any system. It is generally accepted
that key sizes should be greater than 80 bits in length. The longer
the key, the less likely a comprise is possible from a brute-force
attack.
4. Cryptographic keys are
shared.
Keys that are shared can compromise a system. As the number of
people sharing the key grows, the security risks also grow. A
fundamental tenant of cryptography is that the security of a system
is largely dependent on the secrecy of the keys.
5. Cryptographic keys cannot
be updated automatically
and frequently.
Cryptographic keys should be changed often to prevent brute-force
attacks.
6. RC4 has a weak key
schedule and is
inappropriately used in
WEP.
The combination of revealing 24 key bits in the IV and a weakness
in the initial few bytes of the RC4 key stream leads to an efficient
attack that recovers the key. Most other applications of RC4 do not
expose the weaknesses of RC4 because they do not reveal key bits
and do not restart the key schedule for every packet. This attack is
available to moderately sophisticated adversaries.
7. Packet integrity is poor. CRC32 and other linear block codes are inadequate for providing
cryptographic integrity. Message modification is possible. Linear
codes are inadequate for the protection against advertent attacks on
data integrity. Cryptographic protection is required to prevent
deliberate attacks. Use of noncryptographic protocols often
facilitates attacks against the cryptography.
8. No user authentication
occurs.
Only the device is authenticated. A device that is stolen can access
the network.
9. Authentication is not
enabled; only simple SSID
identification occurs.
Identity-based systems are highly vulnerable particularly in a
wireless system because signals can be more easily intercepted.
10. Device authentication is
simple shared-key
challenge-response.
One-way challenge-response authentication is subject to “man-inthe-
middle” attacks. Mutual authentication is required to provide
verification that users and the network are legitimate.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Security Issue or Vulnerability Remarks
11.The client does not
authenticate the AP.
The client needs to authenticate the AP to ensure that it is legitimate
and prevent the introduction of rogue APs.
3.4 Security Requirements and Threats
As discussed above, the 802.11 WLAN—or WiFi—industry is burgeoning and currently has significant
momentum. All indications suggest that in the coming years numerous organizations will deploy 802.11
WLAN technology. Many organizations—including retail stores, hospitals, airports, and business
enterprises—plan to capitalize on the benefits of “going wireless.” However, although there has been
tremendous growth and success, everything relative to 802.11 WLANs has not been positive. There have
been numerous published reports and papers describing attacks on 802.11 wireless networks that expose
organizations to security risks. This subsection will briefly cover the risks to security—i.e., attacks on
confidentiality, integrity, and network availability.
Figure 3-9 provides a general taxonomy of security attacks to help organizations and users understand
some of the attacks against WLANs.
Passive Attacks Active Attacks
Eavesdropping Traffic
Analysis
Masquerade Replay Message
Modification
Denial-of-
Service
Attacks
Figure 3-9. Taxonomy of Security Attacks
Network security attacks are typically divided into passive and active attacks. These two broad classes are
then subdivided into other types of attacks. All are defined below.
! Passive Attack—An attack in which an unauthorized party gains access to an asset and does not
modify its content (i.e., eavesdropping). Passive attacks can be either eavesdropping or traffic
analysis (sometimes called traffic flow analysis). These two passive attacks are described below.
– Eavesdropping—The attacker monitors transmissions for message content. An example of this
attack is a person listening into the transmissions on a LAN between two workstations or tuning
into transmissions between a wireless handset and a base station.
– Traffic analysis—The attacker, in a more subtle way, gains intelligence by monitoring the
transmissions for patterns of communication. A considerable amount of information is contained
in the flow of messages between communicating parties.
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! Active Attack—An attack whereby an unauthorized party makes modifications to a message, data
stream, or file. It is possible to detect this type of attack but it may not be preventable. Active attacks
may take the form of one of four types (or combination thereof): masquerading, replay, message
modification, and denial-of-service (DoS). These attacks are defined below.
– Masquerading—The attacker impersonates an authorized user and thereby gains certain
unauthorized privileges.
– Replay—The attacker monitors transmissions (passive attack) and retransmits messages as the
legitimate user.
– Message modification—The attacker alters a legitimate message by deleting, adding to,
changing, or reordering it.
– Denial-of-service—The attacker prevents or prohibits the normal use or management of
communications facilities.
The risks associated with 802.11 are the result of one or more of these attacks. The consequences of these
attacks include, but are not limited to, loss of proprietary information, legal and recovery costs, tarnished
image, and loss of network service.
3.4.1 Loss of Confidentiality
Confidentiality is the property with which information is not made available or disclosed to unauthorized
individuals, entities, or processes. This is, in general, a fundamental security requirement for most
organizations. Due to the broadcast and radio nature of wireless technology, confidentiality is a more
difficult security requirement to meet in a wireless network. Adversaries do not have to tap into a network
cable to access network resources. Moreover, it may not be possible to control the distance over which the
transmission occurs. This makes traditional physical security countermeasures less effective.
Passive eavesdropping of native 802.11 wireless communications may cause significant risk to an
organization. An adversary may be able to listen in and obtain sensitive information including proprietary
information, network IDs and passwords, and configuration data. This risk is present because the 802.11
signals may travel outside the building perimeter or because there may be an “insider.” Because of the
extended range of 802.11 broadcasts, adversaries can potentially detect transmission from a parking lot or
nearby roads. This kind of attack, performed through the use of a wireless network analyzer tool or
sniffer, is particularly easy for two reasons: 1) frequently confidentiality features of WLAN technology
are not even enabled, and 2) because of the numerous vulnerabilities in the 802.11 technology security, as
discussed above, determined adversaries can compromise the system.
Wireless packet analyzers, such as AirSnort and WEPcrack, are tools that are readily available on the
Internet today. AirSnort is one of the first tools created to automate the process of analyzing networks.
Unfortunately, it is also commonly used for breaking into wireless networks. AirSnort can take advantage
of flaws in the key-scheduling algorithm that was provided for implementation of RC4, which forms part
of the original WEP standard. To accomplish this, AirSnort requires only a computer running the Linux
operating system and a wireless network card. The software passively monitors the WLAN data
transmissions and computes the encryption keys after at least 100 MB of network packets have been
sniffed.15 On a highly saturated network, collecting this amount of data may only take three or four hours;
if traffic volume is low, it may take a few days. For example, a busy data access point transmitting 3,000
15 See “Tools Dumb Down Wireless Hacking,” The Register, August 2001 (www.theregister.co.uk).
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bytes at 11 Mbps will exhaust the 24-bit IV space after approximately 10 hours.16 If after ten hours the
attacker recovers two cipher texts that have been using the same key stream, both data integrity and
confidentiality may be easily compromised. After the network packets have been received, the
fundamental keys may be guessed in less than one second.17 Once the malicious user knows the WEP key,
that person can read any packet traveling over the WLAN. Such sniffing tools’ wide availability, ease of
use, and ability to compute keys makes it essential for security administrators to implement secure
wireless solutions. Airsnort may not be able to take advantage of the enhanced key-scheduling algorithm
of RC4 in a pre-standard implementation.
Another risk to loss of confidentiality through simple eavesdropping is broadcast monitoring. An
adversary can monitor traffic, using a laptop in promiscuous mode, when an access point is connected to a
hub instead of a switch. Hubs generally broadcast all network traffic to all connected devices, which
leaves the traffic vulnerable to unauthorized monitoring. Switches, on the other hand, can be configured
to prohibit certain attached devices from intercepting broadcast traffic from other specified devices. For
example, if a wireless access point were connected to an Ethernet hub, a wireless device that is
monitoring broadcast traffic could intercept data intended for wired and wireless clients. Consequently,
agencies should consider using switches instead of hubs for connections to wireless access points.18
WLANs risk loss of confidentiality following an active attack as well. Sniffing software as described
above can obtain user names and passwords (as well as any other data traversing the network) as they are
sent over a wireless connection. An adversary may be able to masquerade as a legitimate user and gain
access to the wired network from an AP. Once “on the network,” the intruder can scan the network using
purchased or publicly and readily available tools. The malicious eavesdropper then uses the user name,
password, and IP address information to gain access to network resources and sensitive corporate data.
Lastly, rogue APs pose a security risk. A malicious or irresponsible user could, physically and
surreptitiously, insert a rogue AP into a closet, under a conference room table, or any other hidden area
within a building. The rogue AP could then be used to allow unauthorized individuals to gain access to
the network. As long as its location is in close proximity to the users of the WLAN, and it is configured
so as to appear as a legitimate AP to wireless clients, then the rogue AP can successfully convince
wireless clients of its legitimacy and cause them to send traffic through it. The rogue AP can intercept the
wireless traffic between an authorized AP and wireless clients. It need only be configured with a stronger
signal than the existing AP to intercept the client traffic. A malicious user can also gain access to the
wireless network through APs that are configured to allow access without authorization.19 It is also
important to note that rogue access points need not always be deployed by malicious users. In many
cases, rogue APs are often deployed by users who want to take advantage of wireless technology without
the approval of the IT department. Additionally, since rogue APs are frequently deployed without the
knowledge of the security administrator, they are often deployed without proper security configurations.
3.4.2 Loss of Integrity
Data integrity issues in wireless networks are similar to those in wired networks. Because organizations
frequently implement wireless and wired communications without adequate cryptographic protection of
data, integrity can be difficult to achieve. A hacker, for example, can compromise data integrity by
deleting or modifying the data in an e-mail from an account on the wireless system. This can be
detrimental to an organization if important e-mail is widely distributed among e-mail recipients. Because
the existing security features of the 802.11 standard do not provide for strong message integrity, other
16 10 hours = (3,000 bytes x ((8 bits/byte)/(11 x 106 bits/sec)) x 24) = 36,600 seconds.)
17 For more information from AirSnort, visit their Web page at http://airsnort.shmoo.com.
18 See Internet Security Systems, “Wireless LAN Security: 802.11b and Corporate Networks.”
19 See http://iss.net.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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kinds of active attacks that compromise system integrity are possible. As discussed before, the WEPbased
integrity mechanism is simply a linear CRC. Message modification attacks are possible when
cryptographic checking mechanisms such as message authentication codes and hashes are not used.
3.4.3 Loss of Network Availability
A denial of network availability involves some form of DoS attack, such as jamming. Jamming occurs
when a malicious user deliberately emanates a signal from a wireless device in order to overwhelm
legitimate wireless signals. Jamming may also be inadvertently caused by cordless phone or microwave
oven emissions. Jamming results in a breakdown in communications because legitimate wireless signals
are unable to communicate on the network. Nonmalicious users can also cause a DoS. A user, for
instance, may unintentionally monopolize a wireless signal by downloading large files, effectively
denying other users access to the network. As a result, agency security policies should limit the types and
amounts of data that users are able to download on wireless networks.
3.4.4 Other Security Risks
With the prevalence of wireless devices, more users are seeking ways to connect remotely to their own
organization’s networks. One such method is the use of untrusted, third-party networks. Conference
centers, for example, commonly provide wireless networks for users to connect to the Internet and
subsequently to their own organizations while at the conference. Airports, hotels, and even some coffee
franchises are beginning to deploy 802.11 based publicly accessible wireless networks for their
customers, even offering VPN capabilities for added security.
These untrusted public networks introduce three primary risks: 1) because they are public, they are
accessible by anyone, even malicious users; 2) they serve as a bridge to a user’s own network, thus
potentially allowing anyone on the public network to attack or gain access to the bridged network; and 3)
they use high-gain antennas to improve reception and increase coverage area, thus allowing malicious
users to eavesdrop more readily on their signals.
By connecting to their own networks via an untrusted network, users may create vulnerabilities for their
company networks and systems unless their organizations take steps to protect their users and themselves.
Users typically need to access resources that their organizations deem as either public or private.
Agencies may want to consider protecting their public resources using an application layer security
protocol such as Transport Layer Security (TLS), the Internet Engineering Task Force standardized
version of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). However, in most agencies, this is unnecessary since the
information is indeed public already. For private resources, agencies should consider using a VPN
solution to secure their connections because this will help prevent eavesdropping and unauthorized access
to private resources.
Lastly, as with any network, social engineering and dumpster diving are also concerns. An enterprise
should consider all aspects of network security when planning to deploy the wireless network.
3.5 Risk Mitigation
Government agencies can mitigate risks to their WLANs by applying countermeasures to address specific
threats and vulnerabilities. Management countermeasures combined with operational and technical
countermeasures can be effective in reducing the risks associated with WLANs. The following guidelines
will not prevent all adversary penetrations, nor will these countermeasures necessarily guarantee a secure
wireless networking environment. This section describes risk-mitigating steps for an agency, recognizing
that it is impossible to remove all risks. Additionally, it should be clear that there is no “one size fits all
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solution” when it comes to security. Some agencies may be able or willing to tolerate more risk than
others. Also, security comes at a cost: either in money spent on security equipment, in inconvenience and
maintenance, or in operating expenses. Some agencies may be willing to accept risk because applying
various countermeasures may exceed financial or other constraints.
3.5.1 Management Countermeasures
Management countermeasures for securing wireless networks begin with a comprehensive security
policy. A security policy, and compliance therewith, is the foundation on which other countermeasures—
the operational and technical—are rationalized and implemented. A WLAN security policy should be able
to do the following:
! Identify who may use WLAN technology in an agency
! Identify whether Internet access is required
! Describe who can install access points and other wireless equipment
! Provide limitations on the location of and physical security for access points
! Describe the type of information that may be sent over wireless links
! Describe conditions under which wireless devices are allowed
! Define standard security settings for access points
! Describe limitations on how the wireless device may be used, such as location
! Describe the hardware and software configuration of all wireless devices
! Provide guidelines on reporting losses of wireless devices and security incidents
! Provide guidelines for the protection of wireless clients to minimize/reduce theft
! Provide guidelines on the use of encryption and key management
! Define the frequency and scope of security assessments to include access point discovery.
Agencies should ensure that all critical personnel are properly trained on the use of wireless technology.
Network administrators need to be fully aware of the security risks that WLANs and devices pose. They
must work to ensure security policy compliance and to know what steps to take in the event of an attack.
Finally, the most important countermeasures are trained and aware users.
3.5.2 Operational Countermeasures
Physical security is the most fundamental step for ensuring that only authorized users have access to
wireless computer equipment. Physical security combines such measures as access controls, personnel
identification, and external boundary protection. As with facilities housing wired networks, facilities
supporting wireless networks need physical access controls. For example, photo identification, card badge
readers, or biometric devices can be used to minimize the risk of improper penetration of facilities.
Biometric systems for physical access control include palm scans, hand geometry, iris scans, retina scans,
fingerprint, voice pattern, signature dynamics, or facial recognition. External boundary protection can
include locking doors and installing video cameras for surveillance around the perimeter of a site to
discourage unauthorized access to wireless networking components such as wireless APs.
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It is important to consider the range of the AP when deciding where to place an AP in a WLAN
environment. If the range extends beyond the physical boundaries of the office building walls, the
extension creates a security vulnerability. An individual outside of the building, perhaps “war driving,”
could eavesdrop on network communications by using a wireless device that picks up the RF emanations.
A similar consideration applies to the implementation of building-to-building bridges. Ideally, the APs
should be placed strategically within a building so that the range does not exceed the physical perimeter
of the building and allow unauthorized personnel to eavesdrop near the perimeter. Agencies should use
site survey tools (see next paragraph) to measure the range of AP devices, both inside and outside of the
building where the wireless network is located. In addition, agencies should use wireless security
assessment tools (e.g., vulnerability assessment) and regularly conduct scheduled security audits.
Site survey tools are available to measure and secure AP coverage. The tools, which some vendors
include with their products, measure the received signal strength from the APs. These measurements can
be used to map out the coverage area. However, security administrators should use caution when
interpreting the results because each vendor interprets the received signal strength differently. Some AP
vendors also have special features that allow control of power levels and therefore the range of the AP.
This is useful if the required coverage range is not broad because, for example, the building or room in
which access to the wireless network is needed happens to be small. Controlling the coverage range for
this smaller building or room may help prevent the wireless signals from extending beyond the intended
coverage area. Agencies could additionally use directional antennas to control emanations. However,
directional antennas do not protect network links; they merely help control coverage range by limiting
signal dispersion.
Although mapping the coverage area may yield some advantage relative to security, it should not be seen
as an absolute solution. There is always the possibility that an individual might use a high-gain antenna to
eavesdrop on the wireless network traffic. It should be recognized that only through the use of strong
cryptographic means can a user gain any assurance against true eavesdropping adversaries. The following
paragraphs discuss how cryptography (Internet Protocol Security [IPsec] and VPNs) can be used to thwart
many attacks.
3.5.3 Technical Countermeasures
Technical countermeasures involve the use of hardware and software solutions to help secure the wireless
environment.20 Software countermeasures include proper AP configurations (i.e., the operational and
security settings on an AP), software patches and upgrades, authentication, intrusion detection systems
(IDS), and encryption. Hardware solutions include smart cards, VPNs, public key infrastructure (PKI),
and biometrics.21 It should be noted that hardware solutions, which generally have software components,
are listed simply as hardware solutions.
3.5.3.1 Software Solutions
Technical countermeasures involving software include properly configuring access points, regularly
updating software, implementing authentication and IDS solutions, performing security audits, and
adopting effective encryption. These are described in the paragraphs below.
20 The classification of a countermeasure into one of the two categories is, in some instances, arbitrary, since the two may
actually overlap.
21 It should be noted that the software and hardware countermeasures identified in this document could arguably fit into either
category.
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3.5.3.1.1 Access Point Configuration
Network administrators need to configure APs in accordance with established security policies and
requirements. Properly configuring administrative passwords, encryption settings, reset function,
automatic network connection function, Ethernet MAC Access Control Lists (ACL), shared keys, and
Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) agents will help eliminate many of the vulnerabilities
inherent in a vendor’s software default configuration.
Updating default passwords. Each WLAN device comes with its own default settings, some of which
inherently contain security vulnerabilities. The administrator password is a prime example. On some APs,
the factory default configuration does not require a password (i.e., the password field is blank).
Unauthorized users can easily gain access to the device if there is no password protection. Administrators
should change default settings to reflect the agency’s security policy, which should include the
requirement for strong (i.e., an alphanumeric and special character string at least eight characters in
length) administrative passwords. If the security requirement is sufficiently high, an agency should
consider using an automated password generator. An alternative to password authentication is two-factor
authentication. One form of two-factor authentication uses a symmetric key algorithm to generate a new
code every minute. This code is a one-time use code that is paired with the user’s personal identification
number (PIN) for authentication. Another example of two-factor authentication is pairing the user’s smart
card with the user’s PIN. This type of authentication requires a hardware device reader for the smart card
or an authentication server for the PIN. Several commercial products provide this capability. However,
use of an automated password generator or two-factor authentication mechanism may not be worth the
investment, depending on the agency’s security requirements, number of users, and budget constraints.
Given the need to ensure good password authentication and policies, it is important to note the critical
importance of ensuring that the management interface has the proper cryptographic protection to prevent
the unauthorized disclosure of the passwords over the management interface. Numerous mechanisms
exist that can be exploited to ensure that encrypted access protects those critical “secrets” in transit.
Secure Shell (SSH) and SSL are two such mechanisms.
Establishing proper encryption settings. Encryption settings should be set for the strongest encryption
available in the product, depending on the security requirements of the agency. Typically, APs have only
a few encryption settings available: none, 40-bit shared key, and 104-bit shared key (with 104-bit shared
key being the strongest). Encryption as used in WEP, simple stream cipher generation, and exclusive-OR
processing does not pose an additional burden on the computer processors performing the function.
Consequently, agencies do not need to worry about computer processor power when planning to use
encryption with the longer keys. However, it should be noted that some attacks against WEP yield
deleterious results regardless of the key size. It is important to note that products using 128-bit keys will
not interoperate with products that use 104-bit keys.
Controlling the reset function. The reset function poses a particular problem because it allows an
individual to negate any security settings that administrators have configured in the AP. It does this by
returning the AP to its default factory settings. The default settings generally do not require an
administrative password, for example, and may disable encryption. An individual can reset the
configuration to the default settings simply by inserting a pointed object such as a pen into the reset hole
and pressing. If a malicious user gains physical access to the device, that individual can exploit the reset
feature and cancel out any security settings on the device. The reset function, if configured to erase basic
operational information such as IP address or keys, can further result in a network DoS, because APs may
not operate without these settings. Having physical access controls in place to prevent unauthorized users
from resetting APs can mitigate the threats. Agencies can detect threats by performing regular security
audits. Additionally, reset can be invoked remotely over the management interface on some products. For
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
3-26
this reason, there is a greater need to have proper password administration and encryption on the
management interface.
Using MAC ACL functionality. A MAC address is a hardware address that uniquely identifies each
computer (or attached device) on a network. Networks use the MAC address to help regulate
communications between different computer NICs on the same network subnet. Many 802.11 product
vendors provide capabilities for restricting access to the WLAN based on MAC ACLs that are stored and
distributed across many APs.22 The MAC ACL grants or denies access to a computer using a list of
permissions designated by MAC address. However, the Ethernet MAC ACL does not represent a strong
defense mechanism by itself. Because MAC addresses are transmitted in the clear from a wireless NIC to
an AP, the MAC can be easily captured. Malicious users can spoof a MAC address by changing the actual
MAC address on their computer to a MAC address that has access to the wireless network. This
countermeasure may provide some level of security; however, users should use this with caution. This
may be effective against casual eavesdropping but will not be effective against determined adversaries.
Users may want to consider this as part of an overall defense-in-depth strategy—adding levels of security
to reduce the likelihood of problems. However, users should weigh the administrative burden of enabling
the MAC ACL (assuming they are using MAC ACLs) against the true security provided. In a medium-tolarge
network, the burden of establishing and maintaining MAC ACLs may exceed the value of the
security countermeasure. Additionally, most products only support a limited number of MAC addresses in
the MAC ACL. The size of the access control list may be insufficient for medium-to-large networks.
Changing the SSID. The SSID of the AP must be changed from the factory default. The default values of
SSID used by many 802.11 wireless LAN vendors have been published and are well-known to would-be
adversaries. The default values should be changed (always a good security practice) to prevent easy
access. Although an equipped adversary can capture this identity parameter over the wireless interface, it
should be changed to prevent unsophisticated adversary attempts to connect to the wireless network.
Maximize the Beacon Interval. The 802.11 standard specifies the use of “Beacon frames” to announce
the existence of a wireless network. These beacons are transmitted from APs at regular intervals and
allow a client station to identify and match configuration parameters in order to join a wireless network.
APs may not be configured to suppress the transmission of the Beacon frames and its mandatory SSID
field. However, the interval length may be set to its highest value that results in approximately a 67
second interval. While the security improvement is marginal, it does make it somewhat more difficult to
passively “find a network” because the AP is quieter and the SSID is not transmitted as frequently. Using
a longer Beacon interval forces an adversary to perform what is referred to as “active scanning” using
Probe messages with a specific SSID. Hence, where possible, wireless networks should be configured
with the longest beacon interval.
Disable broadcast SSID feature. The SSID is an identifier that is sometimes referred to as the “network
name” and is often a simple ASCII character string. The SSID is used to assign an identifier to the
wireless network (service set). Clients that wish to join a network scan an area for available networks and
join by providing the correct SSID. The SSID, typically a null-terminated ASCII string, has a range from
0 to 32 bytes. The zero-byte case is a special case called the “broadcast” SSID. A wireless client can
determine all the networks in an area by actively scanning for APs with the use of broadcast Probe
Request messages with a zero SSID. The broadcast SSID probe triggers a Probe Response from all
802.11 networks in the area. Disabling the broadcast SSID feature in the APs causes the AP to ignore the
message from the client and forces it to perform active scanning (probing with a specific SSID).
22 Dave Molta, “WLAN Security On the Rise,” http://www.networkcomputing.com.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Changing default cryptographic keys. The manufacturer may provide one or more keys to enable
shared-key authentication between the device trying to gain access to the network and the AP. Using a
default shared-key setting forms a security vulnerability because many vendors use identical shared keys
in their factory settings. A malicious user may know the default shared key and use it to gain access to the
network. Changing the default shared-key setting to another key will mitigate the risk. For example, the
shared key could be changed to “954617” instead of using a factory default shared key of “111111.” No
matter what their security level, agencies should change the shared key from the default setting because it
is easily exploited. In general, agencies should opt for the longest key lengths (e.g., 104 bits). Finally, a
generally accepted principle for proper key management is to change cryptographic keys often and when
there are personnel changes.
Using SNMP. Some wireless APs use SNMP agents, which allow network management software tools to
monitor the status of wireless APs and clients. The first two versions of SNMP, SNMPv1 and SMPv2
support only trivial authentication based on plain-text community strings and, as a result, are
fundamentally insecure. SNMPv3, which includes mechanisms to provide strong security are highly
recommended. If SNMP is not required on the network, the agency should simply disable SNMP
altogether. If an agency must use a version of SNMP besides version 3, they must recognize and accept
the risks. It is common knowledge that the default SNMP community string that SNMP agents commonly
use is the word “public” with assigned “read” or “read and write” privileges. Using this well-known
default string leaves devices vulnerable to attack. If an unauthorized user were to gain access and had
read/write privileges, that user could write data to the AP, resulting in a data integrity breach. Agencies
that require SNMP should change the default community string, as often as needed, to a strong
community string. Privileges should be set to “read only” if that is the only access a user requires.
SNMPv1 and SNMPv2 message wrappers support only trivial authentication based on plain-text
community strings and, as a result, are fundamentally insecure and are not recommended. Agencies
should use SNMPv3.23
Changing default channel. One other consideration that is not directly exploitable is the default channel.
Vendors commonly use default channels in their APs. If two or more APs are located near each other but
are on different networks, a DoS can result from radio interference between the two APs. Agencies that
incur radio interference need to determine if one or more nearby AP(s) are using the same channel or a
channel within five channels of their own and then choose a channel that is in a different range.24 For
example, channels 1, 6, and 11 can be used simultaneously by APs that are close to each other without
mutual interference. Agencies must perform a site survey to discover any sources of radio interference.
The site survey should result in a report that proposes AP locations, determines coverage areas, and
assigns radio channels to each AP.
Using DHCP. Automatic network connections involve the use of a Dynamic Host Control Protocol
(DHCP) server. The DHCP server automatically assigns IP addresses to devices that associate with an AP
when traversing a subnet. For example, a DHCP server is used to manage a range of TCP/IP addresses for
client laptops or workstations. After the range of IP addresses is established, the DHCP server
dynamically assigns addresses to workstations as needed. The server assigns the device a dynamic IP
address as long as the encryption settings are compatible with the WLAN. The threat with DHCP is that a
malicious user could easily gain unauthorized access on the network through the use of a laptop with a
wireless NIC. Since a DHCP server will not necessarily know which wireless devices have access, the
server will automatically assign the laptop a valid IP address. Risk mitigation involves disabling DHCP
and using static IP addresses on the wireless network, if feasible.
23 See http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-snmpv3-rfc2570bis-03.txt for an explanation on why using SNMPv3
instead of SNMPv1 or SNMPv2 is strongly recommended.
24 See Tyson Macaulay, “Hardening IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks.”
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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This alternative, like the MAC ACL countermeasure, may only be practical for relatively small networks,
given the administrative overhead involved with assigning static IP addresses and the possible shortage of
addresses. Statically assigning IP addresses would also negate some of the key advantages of wireless
networks, such as roaming or establishing ad hoc networks. Another possible solution is to implement a
DHCP server inside the wired network’s firewall that grants access to a wireless network located outside
of the wired network’s firewall. Still another solution is to use APs with integrated firewalls. This last
solution will add an additional layer of protection to the entire network. All users should evaluate the need
for DHCP taking into consideration the size of their network.
3.5.3.1.2 Software Patches and Upgrades
Vendors generally try to correct known software (and hardware) security vulnerabilities when they have
been identified. These corrections come in the form of security patches and upgrades. Network
administrators need to regularly check with the vendor to see whether security patches and upgrades are
available and apply them as needed. Also, many vendors have “security alert” e-mail lists to advise
customers of new security vulnerabilities and attacks. Administrators should sign up for these critical
alerts. Lastly, administrators can check with the NIST ICAT25 vulnerability database for a listing of all
known vulnerabilities in the software or hardware being implemented. For specific guidance on
implementing security patches, see NIST Special Publication 800-40, Applying Security Patches.
An example of a software or firmware patch is the RSA Security WEP security enhancement. In
November 2001, RSA Security, Inc., developed a technique for the security holes found in WEP. This
enhancement, referred to as “fast packet keying,” generates a unique key to encrypt each network packet
on the WLAN. The Fast Packet Keying Solution uses a hashing technique that rapidly generates the per
packet keys. The IEEE has approved the fast packet keying technology as one fix to the 802.11 protocol.
Vendors have started applying the fix to new wireless products and have developed software patches for
many existing products. Agencies should check with their individual vendors to see if patches are
available for the products they have already purchased.
Another example of a software or firmware patch that will be available as early as late 2002 is WiFi
Protected Access (WPA). 26 WPA, which is being promoted by the WiFi Alliance, is an interim security
solution that does not require a hardware upgrade in existing 802.11 equipment. WPA is not a perfect
solution but is an attempt to quickly and proactively deliver enhanced protection–to address some of the
problems with WEP– prior to the full-blown security techniques of IEEE 802.11 TGi. WiFi Protected
Access, a subset of the TGi solution, includes two main features:
! 802.1X
! Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP)
The 802.1X port-based access control provides a framework to allow the use of robust upper layer
authentication protocols. It also facilitates the use of session keys–since cryptographic keys should change
often. TKIP includes four new algorithms to enhance the security of 802.11. TKIP extends the IV space,
allows for per-packet key construction, provides cryptographic integrity, and provides key derivation and
distribution. TKIP, through these algorithms, provides protection against various security attacks
discussed earlier, including replay attacks and attacks on data integrity. Additionally, it addresses the
critical need to change keys. Again, the objective of WPA is to bring a standards-based security solution
to the marketplace to replace WEP while giving the IEEE 802.11 Task Group i enough time to complete
25 See http://icat.nist.gov/icat.cfm.
26 WiFi means “wireless fidelity” and is a synonym for 802.11b.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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and finalize the full 802.11i Robust Security Network (RSN), an amendment to the existing wireless LAN
standard. RSN, to be available in the 4th quarter of 2003, will also include the Advanced Encryption
Standard (AES) for confidentiaility and integrity. The RSN solution will require hardware replacements.
For additional information, refer to Section 3.6.
3.5.3.1.3 Authentication
In general, effective authentication solutions are a reliable way of permitting only authorized users to
access a network. Authentication solutions include the use of usernames and passwords; smart cards,
biometrics, or PKI; or a combination of solutions (e.g., smart cards with PKI).27 When relying on
usernames and passwords for authentication, it is important to have policies specifying minimum
password length, required password characters, and password expiration. Smart cards, biometrics, and
PKI have their own individual requirements and will be addressed in greater detail later in this document.
All agencies should implement a strong password policy, regardless of the security level of their
operations. Strong passwords are simply a fundamental measure in any environment. Agencies should
also consider other types of authentication mechanisms (e.g., smart cards with PKI) if their security levels
warrant additional authentication. These mechanisms may be integrated into a WLAN solution to enhance
the security of the system. However, users should be careful to fully understand the security provided by
enhanced authentication. This does not in and of itself solve all problems. For example, a strong password
scheme used for accessing parameters on a NIC card does nothing to address the problems with WEP
cryptography.
3.5.3.1.4 Personal Firewalls
Resources on public wireless networks have a higher risk of attack since they generally do not have the
same degree of protection as internal resources. Personal firewalls offer some protection against certain
attacks.28 Personal firewalls are software-based solutions that reside on a client’s machine and are either
client-managed or centrally managed. Client-managed versions are best suited to low-end users because
individual users are able to configure the firewall themselves and may not follow any specific security
guidelines. Centrally managed solutions provide a greater degree of protection because IT departments
configure and remotely manage them. Centrally managed solutions allow organizations to modify client
firewalls to protect against known vulnerabilities and to maintain a consistent security policy for all
remote users. Some of these high-end products also have VPN and audit capabilities. Although personal
firewalls offer some measure of protection, they do not protect against advanced forms of attack.
Depending on the security requirement, agencies may still need additional layers of protection. Users that
access public wireless networks in airports or conference centers, for example, should use a personal
firewall. Personal firewalls also provide additional protection against rogue access points that can be
easily installed in public places.
3.5.3.1.5 Intrusion Detection System (IDS)
An intrusion detection system (IDS) is an effective tool for determining whether unauthorized users are
attempting to access, have already accessed, or have compromised the network. IDS for WLANs can be
host-based, network-based, or hybrid, the hybrid combining features of host- and network-based IDS. A
host-based IDS adds a targeted layer of security to particularly vulnerable or essential systems. A hostbased
agent is installed on an individual system (for example, a database server) and monitors audit trails
27 See Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 196, Entity Authentication Using Public Key Cryptography at
http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/index.html.
28 See case study on the use of firewalls on laptops for telecommuters at
http://www.techrepublic.com/article.jhtml?id=r00520010328law01.htm.
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and system logs for suspicious behavior, such as repeated failed login attempts or changes to file
permissions. The agent may also employ a checksum at regular intervals to look for changes to system
files. In some cases, an agent can halt an attack on a system, although a host agent’s primary function is to
log and analyze events and send alerts. A network-based IDS monitors the LAN (or a LAN segment)
network traffic, packet by packet, in real time (or as near to real time as possible) to determine whether
traffic conforms to predetermined attack signatures (activities that match known attack patterns). For
example, the TearDrop DoS attack sends packets that are fragmented in such a way as to crash the target
system. The network monitor will recognize packets that conform to this pattern and take action such as
killing the network session, sending an e-mail alert to the administrator, or other action specified. Hostbased
systems have an advantage over network-based IDS when encrypted connections—e.g., SSL Web
sessions or On-VPN connections—are involved. Because the agent resides on the component itself, the
host-based system is able to examine the data after it has been decrypted. In contrast, a network-based
IDS is not able to decrypt data; therefore, encrypted network traffic is passed through without
investigation. (For more information about IDS, see NIST Special Publication 800-21, Intrusion
Detection Systems.)
IDS technology on wired networks can have the following limitations if used to protect wireless
networks:
! Network-based IDS sensors that have been placed on the wired network behind the wireless access
point will not detect attacks directed from one wireless client to another wireless client (i.e., peer to
peer) on the same subnet. The wireless access point switches traffic directly between wireless clients.
The traffic does not enter the wired network, it is WEP encrypted, and wired-network IDS sensors do
not have an opportunity to capture clear-text packets for analysis. As a result, an adversary that
successfully connects an unauthorized wireless client to the network can perform discovery and attack
against other wireless hosts without detection by the network-based IDS sensor. In this scenario, the
data on the other wireless clients is at risk and information gathered from the other clients may be
used to form an attack on the wired network.
! IDS sensors on the wired network usually will not detect attempts to “deassociate” (to end an
association relationship with) a legitimate client from the wireless network and will not detect the
association of an unauthorized wireless client with the wireless network. Flooding, jamming, and
other DoS attacks against wireless devices use physical and data-link layer techniques that are not
visible to the IDS sensor at a packet level and generally would not be routed onto the wired network.
! IDS technology for wired networks generally only detects attacks once packets are directed at hosts
on the wired network from a compromised wireless client. At that point, the wireless network has
already been compromised, and risk to the wired network is imminent. An important goal is to detect
and send an alarm on unauthorized wireless activity before it affects the wired network.
! IDS technology on wired networks will not identify the physical location of rogue access points
within the building. These rogue access points can act as entry points for unauthorized wireless access
from remote locations.
! IDS technology will not detect an authorized wireless device communicating peer-to-peer with an
unauthorized wireless device. This scenario can create a bridge into the wired network by allowing an
adversary to connect to a wireless device that is operating in “ad hoc” mode. The ad hoc mode allows
a wireless device to be used to relay traffic to the network and creates a number of potential attack
scenarios.
Expansion of a wired network by connecting one or more wireless networks significantly expands the
network’s security perimeter and introduces risk that may not be addressed by existing intrusion detection
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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devices on the wired network. Agencies that want to expand network functionality by adding a wireless
capability should examine the existing IDS architecture and consider additional solutions to address the
above-mentioned risks. Agencies should consider implementing a wireless IDS solution that provides the
following capabilities:
! Identification of the physical location of wireless devices within the building and surrounding
grounds
! Detection of unauthorized peer-to-peer communications within the wireless network that are not
visible to the wired network
! Analysis of wireless communications and monitoring of the 802.11 RF space and generation of an
alarm upon detection of unauthorized configuration changes to wireless devices that violate security
policy
! Detection of and alarming for when a rogue access point goes live within the agency’s security
perimeter
! Detection of flooding and deassociation attempts before they successfully compromise the wireless
network
! Provision of centralized monitoring and management features with potential for integration into
existing IDS monitoring and reporting software to produce a consolidated view of wireless and wired
network security status.
Agencies that require high levels of security should consider deploying an IDS because it provides an
added layer of security. Agencies that currently employ IDSs should consider the addition of the
capabilities above to supplement their existing capabilities. The deployment of IDS obviously comes at a
cost and should be considered if financially feasible. In addition to the cost of the system itself, an IDS
requires experienced personnel to monitor and react to IDS events and to provide general administration
to the IDS database and components. Agencies should also consider using a correlation engine, which
receives standard real-time security events from a variety of sensors, such as IDS, firewall, and virus
systems. Correlation engines combine in real-time and analyze a wide variety of threats. These threats can
include several classes of attacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
3.5.3.1.6 Encryption
As mentioned earlier, APs generally have only three encryption settings available: none, 40-bit shared
key, and 104-bit setting. The setting of none represents the most serious risk since unencrypted data
traversing the network can easily be intercepted, read, and altered. A 40-bit shared key will encrypt the
network communications data, but there is still a risk of compromise.29 The 40-bit encryption has been
broken by brute force cryptanalysis using a high-end graphics computer and even low-end computers;
consequently, it is of questionable value.30 In general, 104-bit encryption is more secure than 40-bit
encryption because of the significant difference in the size of the cryptographic keyspace. Although this is
not true for 802.11 WEP because of poor cryptographic design using IVs, it is recommended nonetheless
as a good practice. Again, users of 802.11 APs and wireless clients should be vigilant about checking
with the vendor regarding upgrades to firmware and software as they may overcome some of the WEP
problems.
29 This is also a threat for 128-bit encryption but just harder to break.
30 See Basgall, M., “Experimental Break-Ins Reveal Vulnerability in Internet, Unix Computer Security,” (January 1999) at
http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/research/encrypt.html.
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3.5.3.1.7 Security Assessments
Security assessments, or audits, are an essential tool for checking the security posture of a WLAN and for
determining corrective action to make sure it remains secure. It is important for agencies to perform
regular audits using wireless network analyzers and other tools. An analyzer, again, sometimes called a
“sniffer,” is an effective tool to conduct security auditing and troubleshoot wireless network issues.
Security administrators or security auditors can use network analyzers, to determine if wireless products
are transmitting correctly and on the correct channels. Administrators should periodically check within
the office building space (and campus) for rogue APs and against other unauthorized access. Agencies
may also consider using an independent third party to conduct the security audits. Independent third-party
security consultants are often more up-to-date on security vulnerabilities, better trained on security
solutions, and equipped to assess the security of a wireless network. An independent third-party audit,
which may include penetration testing, will help an agency ensure that its WLAN is compliant with
established security procedures and policies and that the system is up-to-date with the latest software
patches and upgrades.31 For more information on network security, see NIST Draft Special Publication
800-42, Guideline on Network Security Testing.32 It is worth noting that agencies should take a holistic
approach to the assessment process. It is important to ensure that the wireless portion of the network is
secure, but it is also important for the wired portion to be secure.
3.5.3.2 Hardware Solutions
Hardware countermeasures for mitigating WLAN risks include implementing smart cards, VPNs, PKI,
biometrics, and other hardware solutions.
3.5.3.2.1 Smart Cards
Smart cards may add another level of protection, although they also add another layer of complexity.
Agencies can use smart cards in conjunction with username or password or by themselves. They can use
smart cards in two-factor authentication (see above). Agencies can also combine smart cards with
biometrics.
In wireless networks, smart cards provide the added feature of authentication. Smart cards are beneficial
in environments requiring authentication beyond simple username and password. User certificate and
other information are stored on the cards themselves and generally require the user only to remember a
PIN number. Smart cards are also portable; consequently users can securely access their networks from
various locations. As with an authentication software solution, these tamper-resistant devices may be
integrated into a WLAN solution to enhance the security of the system. Again, users should be careful to
fully understand the security provided by the smart card solution.
3.5.3.2.2 Virtual Private Networks
VPN technology is a rapidly growing technology that provides secure data transmission across public
network infrastructures. VPNs have in recent years allowed corporations to harness the power of the
Internet for remote access. Today, VPNs are typically used in three different scenarios: for remote user
access, for LAN-to-LAN (site-to-site) connectivity, and for extranets. VPNs employ cryptographic
techniques to protect IP information as it passes from one network to the next or from one location to the
next. Data that is inside the VPN “tunnel”—the encapsulation of one protocol packet inside another—is
encrypted and isolated from other network traffic. A VPN for site-to-site connectivity is illustrated in
31 See “Clinic: What are the biggest security risks associated with Wireless technology? What do I need to consider if my
organization wants to introduce this kind of technology to my corporate LAN?”, 2001, at http://www.itsecurity.com.
32 See http://csrc.nist.gov.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Figure 3-10. In this scenario, traffic communicated from Site A to Site B is protected as it moves across
the Internet. Confidentiality, integrity, and other security services are provided as discussed below.
Internet
Site B
Site A
IPsec Protection
Provided
VPN device
Figure 3-10. Typical Use of VPN for Secure Internet Communications From Site-to-Site
Most VPNs in use today make use of the IPsec protocol suite. IPsec, developed by the Internet
Engineering Task Force (IETF), is a framework of open standards for ensuring private communications
over IP networks. It provides the following types of robust protection:
! Confidentiality
! Integrity
! Data origin authentication
! Traffic analysis protection.
Connectionless integrity guarantees that a received message has not changed from the original message.
Data origin authentication guarantees that the received message was sent by the originator and not by a
person masquerading as the originator. Replay protection provides assurance that the same message is not
delivered multiple times and that messages are not out of order when delivered. Confidentiality ensures
that others cannot read the information in the message. Traffic analysis protection provides assurance that
an eavesdropper cannot determine who is communicating or the frequency or volume of communications.
The Encapsulating Security Protocol (ESP) header provides privacy and protects against malicious
modification, and the Authentication header (AH) protects against modification without providing
privacy. The Internet Key Exchange (IKE) Protocol allow for secret keys and other protection-related
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
3-34
parameters to be exchanged prior to a communication without the intervention of a user.33 IKEv1 is in the
process of being replaced by IKEv2.34
The use of IPsec with WLANs is depicted in Figure 3-11. As shown, the IPsec tunnel is provided from
the wireless client through the AP to the VPN device on the enterprise network edge. With IPsec, security
services are provided at the network layer of the protocol stack. This means all applications and protocols
operating above that layer (i.e., above layer 3) are IPsec protected. The IPsec security services are
independent of the security that is occurring at layer 2, the WEP security. As a defense-in-depth strategy,
if a VPN is in place, an agency can consider having both IPsec and WEP applied. With a configuration as
in Figure 3-11, the VPN encrypts (and otherwise protects) the transmitted data to and from the wired
network.35
Internet Protocol Security (IPsec)
WEP Security
VPN Device Wireless client
AP
Figure 3-11. VPN Security in Addition to WEP
Figure 3-12 illustrates another example of a wireless network with the “VPN overlay.” As shown, with
wireless devices with VPNs, clients can connect securely to the enterprise network through a VPN
gateway on the enterprise edge. Wireless clients establish IPsec connections to the wireless VPN
gateway—in addition to or instead of WEP. Note that the wireless client does not need special hardware;
it just needs to be provided with IPsec/VPN client software. The VPN gateway can use preshared
cryptographic keys or digital (public-key based) certificates for wireless client device authentication. The
reader should recognize that an organization that uses preshared keys for a VPN solution will encounter
the same scalability and key distribution problems present in WEP. Additionally, user authentication to
the VPN gateway can occur using remote authentication dial-in user service (RADIUS) or one-timepasswords
(OTP). The VPN gateway may or may not have an integral firewall to restrict traffic to certain
locations within the enterprise network. Today, most VPN devices have integrated firewalls that work
together to protect both the network from unauthorized access and the user data going over the network.
Integrated VPNs and firewalls save costs and reduce administrative burden. Additionally, the VPN
gateway may or may not have the ability to create an audit journal of all activities. An audit trail is a
chronological record of system activities that is sufficient to enable the reconstruction and examination of
the sequence of environments and activities. A security manager may be able to use an audit trail on the
VPN gateway to monitor compliance with security policy and to gain an understanding of whether only
authorized persons have gained access to the wireless network.
33 For more information on IPsec protocol security—including discussion of the IPsec authentication header, Encapsulating
Security Payload (ESP) header, and Internet Key Exchange (IKE)—refer to the NIST ITL Bulletin “An Introduction to
IPsec (Internet Protocol Security),” March 2001.
34 For more information on IKEv2, see http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-ipsec-ikev2-02.txt.
35 See “Identifying the Weakest Link,” Wireless Internet Magazine, November/December 2001, at
http://www.wirelessinternetmag.com.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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It should be noted that although the VPN approach enhances the air-interface security significantly, this
approach does not completely address security on the enterprise network. For example, authentication and
authorization to enterprise applications are not always addressed with this security solution. Some VPN
devices can use user-specific policies to require authentication before accessing enterprise applications.
Agencies may want to seek assistance in developing a comprehensive enterprise security strategy.
VPN Gateway
RADIUS
Server
Corporate
Users
Enterprise Network
Figure 3-12. Simplified Diagram of VPN WLAN
3.5.3.2.3 Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
PKI provides the framework and services for the generation, production, distribution, control, and
accounting of public key certificates. It provides applications with secure encryption and authentication of
network transactions as well as data integrity and nonrepudiation, using public key certificates to do so.
WLANs can integrate PKI for authentication and secure network transactions. Third-party manufacturers,
for instance, provide wireless PKI, handsets, and smart cards that integrate with WLANs.
Users requiring high levels of security should strongly consider PKI. It provides strong authentication
through user certificates, which can be used with application-level security, to sign and encrypt messages.
Smart cards provide even greater utility since the certificates are integrated into the card. Smart cards
serve both as a token and a secure (tamper-resistant) means for storing cryptographic credentials. Users
requiring lower levels of security, on the other hand, need to consider carefully the complexity and cost of
implementing and administering a PKI before adopting this solution.
3.5.3.2.4 Biometrics
Biometric devices include fingerprint/palm-print scanners, optical scanners (including retina and iris
scanners), facial recognition scanners, and voice recognition scanners. Biometrics provide an added layer
of protection when used either alone or along with another security solution. For example, for agencies
needing higher levels of security, biometrics can be integrated with wireless smart cards or wireless
laptops or other wireless devices and used in lieu of username and password to access the wireless
network. Additionally, biometrics can combine with VPN solutions to provide authentication and data
confidentiality.
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3.6 Emerging Security Standards and Technologies
Like the security industry, standards organizations have responded to the flurry over insecurities in 802.11
WLANs. Activity is occurring in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the IEEE. The IEEE is
currently working on three separate initiatives for improving WLAN security. The first involves the IEEE
802.11 Task Group i (TGi) which has proposed significant modifications to the existing IEEE 802.11
standard as a long-term solution for security. The TGi is defining additional ciphers based on the newly
released Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). The AES-based solution will provide a highly robust
solution for the future but will require new hardware and protocol changes. TGi currently has design
requirements to address many of the known problems with WEP including the prevention of forgeries and
detection of replay attacks.
The second initiative for improving WLAN security is the TGi’s short-term solution—WiFi Protected
Access (WPA)—to address the problems of WEP. The group is defining the Temporal Key Integrity
Protocol (TKIP) to address the problems without requiring hardware changes—that is, requiring only
changes to firmware and software drivers. The third initiative from IEEE is the introduction of a new
standard, IEEE 802.1X-2001, a generic framework for port-based network access control and key
distribution, approved in June 2001. By defining the encapsulation of EAP (defined in RFC 2284) over
IEEE 802 media, IEEE 802.1X enables an AP and station to mutually authenticate one another. See also
Section 3.5.3.1.2 for a brief discussion on WPA and TKIP.
Since IEEE 802.1X was developed primarily for use with IEEE 802 LANs, not for use with WLANS, the
IEEE 802.11i draft standard defines additional capabilities required for secure implementation of IEEE
802.1X on 802.11 networks. These include a requirement for use of an EAP method supporting mutual
authentication, key management, and dictionary attack resistance. In addition, 802.11i defines the
hierarchy for use with the TKIP and AES ciphers and a “four way” key management handshake used to
ensure that the station is authenticated to the AP and a back-end authentication server, if present. As a
result, to provide adequate security, it is important that IEEE 802.1X implementations on 802.11
implement the IEEE 802.11i enhancements, as well as the basic IEEE 802.1X standard.
IEEE 802.1X can be implemented entirely on the AP (by providing support for one or more EAP methods
within the AP), or it can utilize a backend authentication server. The IEEE 802.1X standard supports
authentication protocols such as RADIUS, Diameter, and Kerberos. RADIUS, described in RFC 2865-
2869, and RFC 3162, enables authentication, authorization, and accounting for Network Access Server
(NAS) devices, including dial-up, xDSL, and 802.11.
The 802.1X standard can be implemented with different EAP types, including EAP-MD5 (defined in
RFC 2284 and supporting only one-way authentication without key exchange) for Ethernet LANs and
EAP-TLS (defined in RFC 2716, supporting fast reconnect, mutual authentication and key management
via certificate authentication). Currently a new generation of EAP methods are being developed within
the IETF, focused on addressing wireless authentication and key management issues. These methods
support additional security features such as cryptographic protection of the EAP conversation, identity
protection, secure ciphersuite negotiation, tunneling of other EAP methods, etc. For the latest
developments on the status of each specification, the reader is encouraged to refer to the IEEE 802.11
standards web site.36
36 See http://standards.ieee.org/getieee802 for the latest developments on the IEEE 802.11 standards.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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3.7 Case Study: Implementing a Wireless LAN in the Work Environment
Agency A is considering implementing a WLAN so that employees may use their laptop computers
anywhere within the boundaries of their office building. Before deciding, however, Agency A has its
computer security department perform a risk assessment in accordance with NIST Special Publication
800-30.37 The security department first identifies WLAN vulnerabilities and threats. The department,
assuming that threat sources will try to exploit WLAN vulnerabilities, determines the overall risk of
operating a WLAN and the impact a successful attack would have on Agency A. The manager reads the
risk assessment and decides that the residual risk exceeds the benefit the WLAN provides. The manager
directs the computer security department to identify additional countermeasures to mitigate residual risk
before the system can be implemented.
Using the risk assessment as its basis, the computer security department concentrates on four areas for
risk mitigation: physical security, AP location, AP configuration, and security policy. Analysis of
physical security reveals that nonemployees are able to gain access to the building after checking in at the
main desk. To ensure that only authorized employees and guests may access the building, the security
department recommends that Agency A adopt the use of photo identification, card badges, or biometric
devices. The security team will physically secure the APs by installing them within the secured building
facility, which requires users to have proper identification to enter. Additionally, only network
administrators have access to the network devices.
The computer security department wants to minimize the possibility that unauthorized users will access
the WLAN from outside the building. The security department evaluates each AP to determine the
network vulnerabilities such as eavesdropping. Network engineers conduct a site survey to determine the
best physical location for the APs, to reduce the threat of eavesdropping. This involves physically
mapping where users have wireless access to the network. The security department realizes that with a
high-gain antenna, attackers will still be able to eavesdrop on wireless network traffic. To offset this risk,
the department proposes placing the WLAN outside the firewall and passing traffic through a VPN that
supports high-level encryption. This configuration will greatly reduce the risks associated with
eavesdropping.
Next, the computer security department focuses on vulnerabilities related to AP configuration. Because
many APs retain the original default factory password setting, the computer security department chooses
a robust password to ensure a higher level of assurance. In conjunction with management and network
administrators, the security department develops a security policy that requires passwords to be regularly
updated and have a minimum length of eight alphanumeric characters. The policy includes the provision
to change the encryption setting from “no encryption” to 104-bit encryption. The policy further deals with
MAC ACL usage. To provide an additional level of access security, the department allows the use of
MAC ACLs whenever possible. The policy also addresses the use of SNMP. The computer security
department decides to disable remote SNMP because of the related threat and only allows it from internal
hosts. Finally, since many vendors use default shared authentication keys, unauthorized devices can gain
access to the network if they know the default key. Consequently, the security department stipulates the
use of username and password as supplemental authentication to APs.
The security department adds additional policies to address software upgrades and use of the network.
The policy requires system administrators to test and update security patches and upgrades, as soon as the
vendor makes them available. Frequent patches and upgrades will help reduce the possibility of attack on
the older, faulty version of the software. The NIST ICAT Vulnerability Database or an equivalent source
for a comprehensive list of known vulnerabilities in major software packages and hardware products is
37 See NIST SP 800-30, Risk Management Guide for Information Technology Systems, at http://csrc.nist.gov.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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checked. The policy also strongly discourages users from processing proprietary or employee personal
data when connected from their laptops to the WLAN, thus helping to reduce the risk of personnel data
exploitation. Also, the policy states that if a laptop is lost or stolen, the employee to whom the laptop
belongs will promptly notify the security department. This will ensure that the security department can
quickly identify the IP address assigned to the laptop and prevent that IP address from accessing the
network.
As an additional security measure, the security department recommends that Agency A incorporate the
use of an IDS. The IDS would help determine whether unauthorized users are attempting to access, have
already accessed, or have compromised the network. The department views an IDS as a useful tool in
protecting Agency A’s network and, more importantly, the data that traverses it. The IDS is aprt of an
overall defense-in-depth strategy and is not relied on to detect all attacksagainst or misuse of the network.
The security department presents the manager with the risk assessment, which includes the
countermeasures described above (and listed below) and a diagram (see Figure 3-13) of the proposed
WLAN. The risk assessment also includes an update of the residual risk with the proposed measures in
place. Realizing that the benefits of system operation now outweigh the residual risks, the manager agrees
to implement the WLAN. However, the security department warns that although the risk assessment is
thorough, WLAN technology is continually changing along with the security vulnerabilities that
malicious users expose. They offer encryption algorithms as an example. As encryption-breaking
programs become more sophisticated, malicious users may expose more software flaws in vendor
programs or weaknesses in encryption algorithms. They also point out that users always represent the
weakest link in a security chain. The agency must continue to educate the user community about the risks
that wireless technologies pose, reiterating, for example, how important it is not to give others their
usernames and passwords and not to execute programs that come from unknown sources. In conclusion,
the security department conveys that the strategy is one of defense-in-depth. They cite, for example, that
WEP encryption will be enabled with random keys, MAC ACLs will be used, and an IPsec-based VPN
overlay will be deployed. They also note that they will monitor the appropriate standards organizations
and the availability of products such that the optimal security solution, the solution that is most secure and
cost-effective, for the enterprise can be determined.
Agency A’s proposed countermeasures follow:
! Adopt personal identification system for physical access control.
! Disable file and directory sharing on PCs.
! Ensure that sensitive files are password protected and encrypted.
! Turn off all unnecessary services on the AP.
! If practical, power off the AP(s) when not in use.
! If the AP supports logging, turn it on and review the logs regularly.
! Secure AP configuration as follows:
– Choose robust password to ensure a higher level of security.
– Use 128-bit encryption.
– Create MAC ACLs and enable checking in APs.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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– Change SSID from default setting and suppress its broadcast.
– Change WEP keys from default settings.
– Disable remote SNMP.
! Conduct site survey and strategically place wireless APs.
! Deploy VPN overlay (gateway and client) with integral firewall.
! Establish comprehensive security policies regarding use of wireless devices.
! Deploy personal firewalls and antivirus software on the wireless clients.
! Investigate 802.11 products with best long-term wireless security strategy and longevity in
marketplace.
! Select products with SNMPv3 (or other encrypted management capabilities) on the APs and the
integrated firewall-VPN device.
! Seek expert assistance in conducting a security assessment after deployment.
Router
Hub
AP
Wired LAN
Authenticate users and terminate IPsec
Authenticate gateway
and terminate IPsec
VPN Gateway
RADIUS
Server Server
Figure 3-13. Agency A WLAN Architecture
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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3.8 Wireless LAN Security Checklist
Table 3-3 provides a WLAN security checklist. The table presents guidelines and recommendations for
creating and maintaining a secure 802.11 wireless network. For each recommendation or guideline, three
columns are provided. The first column, the Best Practice column, if checked, means this is recommended
for all agencies. The second column, the “Should Consider” column, if checked, means the
recommendation is something that an agency should carefully consider for three reasons. First,
implementing the recommendation may provide a higher level of security for the wireless environment by
offering some sort of additional protection. Second, the recommendation supports a defense-in-depth
strategy. Third, it may have significant performance, operational, or cost impacts. In summary, if the
“Should Consider” column is checked, agencies need to carefully consider the option and weigh the costs
versus the benefits. The last column, the “Status” column, is intentionally left blank and allows an agency
to use this table as a true checklist. For instance, an individual performing a wireless security audit in an
802.11 environment can quickly check off each recommendation for the agency, asking “Have I done
this?”
Table 3-3. Wireless LAN Security Checklist
Checklist
Security Recommendation Best
Practice
Should
Consider
Status
Management Recommendations
1. Develop an agency security policy that addresses the use of wireless
technology, including 802.11.
!
2. Ensure that users on the network are fully trained in computer security
awareness and the risks associated with wireless technology.
!
3. Perform a risk assessment to understand the value of the assets in the
agency that need protection.
!
4. Ensure that the client NIC and AP support firmware upgrade so that
security patches may be deployed as they become available (prior to
purchase).
!
5. Perform comprehensive security assessments at regular and random
intervals (including validating that rogue APs do not exist in the 802.11
WLAN) to fully understand the wireless network security posture.
!
6. Ensure that external boundary protection is in place around the perimeter
of the building or buildings of the agency.
!
7. Deploy physical access controls to the building and other secure areas
(e.g., photo ID, card badge readers).
!
8. Complete a site survey to measure and establish the AP coverage for the
agency.
!
9. Take a complete inventory of all APs and 802.11 wireless devices. !
10. Ensure that wireless networks are not used until they comply with the
agency’s security policy.
!
11. Locate APs on the interior of buildings instead of near exterior walls and
windows as appropriate.
!
12. Place APs in secured areas to prevent unauthorized physical access and
user manipulation.
!
Technical Recommendations
13. Empirically test AP range boundaries to determine the precise extent of the
wireless coverage.
!
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Checklist
Security Recommendation Best
Practice
Should
Consider
Status
14. Make sure that APs are turned off during when they are not used (e.g.,
after hours and on weekends).
!
15. Make sure that the reset function on APs is being used only when needed
and is only invoked by an authorized group of people.
!
16. Restore the APs to the latest security settings when the reset functions are
used.
!
17. Change the default SSID in the APs. !
18. Disable the broadcast SSID feature so that the client SSID must match that
of the AP.
!
19. Validate that the SSID character string does not reflect the agency’s name
(division, department, street, etc.) or products.
!
20. Ensure that AP channels are at least five channels different from any other
nearby wireless networks to prevent interference.
!
21. Understand and make sure that all default parameters are changed. !
22. Disable all insecure and nonessential management protocols on the APs. !
23. Enable all security features of the WLAN product, including the
cryptographic authentication and WEP privacy feature.
!
24. Ensure that encryption key sizes are at least 128-bits or as large as
possible.
!
25. Make sure that default shared keys are periodically replaced by more
secure unique keys.
!
26. Install a properly configured firewall between the wired infrastructure and
the wireless network (AP or hub to APs).
!
27. Install antivirus software on all wireless clients. !
28. Install personal firewall software on all wireless clients. !
29. Disable file sharing on wireless clients (especially in untrusted
environments).
!
30. Deploy MAC access control lists. !
31. Consider installation of Layer 2 switches in lieu of hubs for AP connectivity. !
32. Deploy IPsec-based Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology for wireless
communications.
!
33. Ensure that encryption being used is sufficient given the sensitivity of the
data on the network and the processor speeds of the computers.
!
34. Fully test and deploy software patches and upgrades on a regular basis. !
35. Ensure that all APs have strong administrative passwords. !
36. Ensure that all passwords are being changed regularly. !
37. Deploy user authentication such as biometrics, smart cards, two-factor
authentication, and PKI.
!
38. Ensure that the “ad hoc mode” for 802.11 has been disabled unless the
environment is such that the risk is tolerable. Note: some products do not
allow disabling this feature; use with caution or use different vendor.
!
39. Use static IP addressing on the network. !
40. Disable DHCP. !
41. Enable user authentication mechanisms for the management interfaces of
the AP.
!
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Checklist
Security Recommendation Best
Practice
Should
Consider
Status
42. Ensure that management traffic destined for APs is on a dedicated wired
subnet.
!
43. Use SNMPv3 and/or SSL/TLS for Web-based management of APs. !
Operational Recommendations
44. Configure SNMP settings on APs for least privilege (i.e., read only).
Disable SNMP if it is not used. SNMPv1 and SNMPv2 are not
recommended.
!
45. Enhance AP management traffic security by using SNMPv3 or equivalent
cryptographically protected protocol.
!
46. Use a local serial port interface for AP configuration to minimize the
exposure of sensitive management information.
!
47. Consider other forms of authentication for the wireless network such as
RADIUS and Kerberos.
!
48. Deploy intrusion detection agents on the wireless part of the network to
detect suspicious behavior or unauthorized access and activity.
!
49. Deploy auditing technology to analyze the records produced by RADIUS
for suspicious activity.
!
50. Deploy an 802.11 security product that offers other security features such
as enhanced cryptographic protection or user authorization features.
!
51. Enable utilization of key-mapping keys (802.1X) rather than default keys so
that sessions use distinct WEP keys.
!
52. Fully understand the impacts of deploying any security feature or product
prior to deployment.
!
53. Designate an individual to track the progress of 802.11 security products
and standards (IETF, IEEE, etc.) and the threats and vulnerabilities with
the technology.
!
54. Wait until future releases of 802.11 WLAN technologies incorporate fixes to
the security features or provide enhanced security features.
!
55. When disposing access points that will no longer be used by the agency,
clear access point configuration to prevent disclosure of network
configuration, keys, passwords, etc.
!
56. If the access point supports logging, turn it on and review the logs on a
regular basis.
!
3.9 Wireless LAN Risk and Security Summary
Table 3-4 lists security recommendations for 802.11 wireless LANs. For each recommendation, narrative
is provided that addresses the security need, requirements or justification for that rcommendation.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Table 3-4. Wireless LAN Security Summary
Security Recommendation Security Needs, Requirements, or Justification
1. Develop an agency security policy that
addresses the use of wireless technology,
including 802.11.
A security policy is the foundation on which other
countermeasures—the operational and technical
ones—are rationalized and implemented. A
documented security policy allows an organization to
define acceptable architecture, implementation, and
uses for 802.11 wireless technologies.
2. Ensure that users on the network are fully
trained in computer security awareness and
the risks associated with wireless technology
(e.g., 802.11).
A security awareness program helps users to establish
good security practices to prevent inadvertent or
malicious intrusions into an organization’s information
systems.
3. Perform a risk assessment to understand the
value of the assets in the agency that need
protection.
Understanding the value of organizational assets and
the level of protection required is likely to enable more
cost-effective wireless solutions that provide an
appropriate level of security.
4. Ensure that the client NIC and AP support
firmware upgrades so that security patches
may be deployed as they become available
(prior to purchase).
Wireless products should support upgrade and patching
of firmware to be able to take advantage of wireless
security enhancements and fixes.
5. Perform comprehensive security assessments
at regular and random intervals (including
validating that rogue APs do not exist in the
802.11 WLAN) to fully understand the wireless
network security posture.
Security assessments, or audits, are an essential tool
for checking the security posture of a WLAN and for
determining corrective action to make sure it stays
secure. Random checks ensure that the security
posture is maintained beyond periods of assessment.
6. Ensure that external boundary protection is in
place around the perimeter of the building or
buildings of the agency.
The external boundaries should be secured to prevent
malicious physical access to an organization’s
information system infrastructure such as a fence or
locked doors.
7. Deploy physical access controls to the building
and other secure areas (e.g., using photo IDs
or card badge readers).
Identification badges or physical access cards help to
ensure that only authorized personnel have access to
gain entry to a facility.
8. Complete a site survey to measure and
establish the AP coverage for the agency.
Proper placement of Access Points will help ensure that
there is adequate wireless coverage of the environment
while minimizing exposure to external attack. The site
survey should result in a report that proposes AP
locations, determines coverage areas, and assigns
radio channels to each AP and that ensures that the
coverage range does not expose APs to potential
malicious activities.
9. Take a complete inventory of all APs and
802.11 wireless devices.
A complete inventory list of APs and 802.11 wireless
devices can be referenced when conducting an audit for
unauthorized use of wireless technologies.
10. Ensure that wireless networks are not used
until they comply with the agency’s security
policy.
Security policy enforcement is vital for ensuring that
only authorized APs and 802.11 wireless devices are
operating in compliance with the organization’s wireless
security policy.
11. Locate APs on the interior of buildings instead
of near exterior walls and windows.
Locating APs near exterior walls and windows provides
a better range of access to potential external malicious
users. Choosing the location wisely to balance security
and coverage should be considered.
12. Place APs in secured areas to prevent
unauthorized physical access and user
manipulation.
Physically securing the APs, putting them “out of
reach,” prevents unauthorized access by potential
malicious users.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Security Recommendation Security Needs, Requirements, or Justification
13. Empirically test AP range boundaries to
determine the precise extent of the wireless
coverage.
By empirically testing the AP coverage range for an
agency, a level of risk associated with the access range
by potential malicious users can be better understood.
14. Make sure that APs are turned off while they
are not being used (e.g., after hours,
weekends).
Shutting down APs when not in use minimizes potential
exposure to malicious activity.
15. Make sure that the reset function on APs is
being used only when needed and is only
invoked by an authorized group of people.
The reset function allows an individual to negate any
security settings administrators have configured on an
access point.
16. Restore the APs to the latest security settings
when the reset functions are used.
Security settings are lost after a reset function.
Therefore, the appropriate personnel should restore the
latest security settings after a reset.
17. Change the default SSID in the APs. Many default SSIDs used by vendors are published and
well known. Malicious users often try to connect to
802.11 networks using the default SSID.
18. Disable the broadcast SSID feature so that the
client SSID must match that of the AP.
Malicious users can more easily detect and exploit APs
that are broadcasting the SSID. Disabling the broadcast
SSID feature minimizes exposure of the AP to malicious
users.
19. Validate that the SSID character string does
not reflect the agency’s name (division,
department, street, etc.) or products.
The SSID should be somewhat difficult for malicious
users to use to determine the organization or agency
that owns the AP. The SSID should also be long and
difficult to guess.
20. Ensure that AP channels are at least five
channels different from any other nearby
wireless networks to prevent interference.
Radio interference between APs can result in a denial
of service. So, using channels in a different range
ensures service availability.
21. Understand and make sure that all default
parameters are changed.
Because default settings are generally known and not
secure, these settings should be changed and should
comply with organizational security policy.
22. Disable all insecure and nonessential
management protocols on the APs.
Management protocols that are enabled on APs but not
used present a potential avenue of attack. Disabling all
insecure and nonessential management protocols
minimizes potential methods that a hostile entity can
use when attempting to compromise an access point.
23. Enable all security features of the WLAN
product, including the cryptographic
authentication and WEP privacy features.
Enabling built-in security features provides greater
security than the default settings.
24. Ensure that encryption key sizes are at least
128 bits or as large as possible.
Brute force attacks on encryption key sizes become
more difficult as the key sizes increase. The addition of
a single bit doubles the key space. A 128-bit provides
an “intractable” key space against cryptanalysis, if the
algorithm and implementation are sound.
25. Make sure that default shared keys are
periodically replaced by more secure unique
keys.
Changing default shared keys periodically decreases
the likelihood that a malicious user can exploit a
compromised key. A changed key increases the
adversary’s difficulty.
26. Install a properly configured firewall between
the wired infrastructure and the wireless
network (AP or hub to APs).
A firewall can enforce a security policy on the
information flow between the wired network and the
wireless network.
27. Install antivirus software on all wireless clients. Antivirus software helps ensure that the wireless client
does not introduce known worms and viruses to the
wired network while protecting the wireless client from
viruses that originate on the wired network.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Security Recommendation Security Needs, Requirements, or Justification
28. Install personal firewall software on all wireless
clients.
Personal firewalls help to protect against wireless
network attacks.
29. Disable file sharing on wireless clients
(especially in untrusted environments).
Malicious users can potentially exploit wireless clients
enabled for file sharing.
30. Deploy MAC access control lists. The use of access control lists based on MAC hardware
addresses provides a layer of security that ensures that
only authorized wireless devices are allowed to connect
to the wired network.
31. Consider installation of Layer 2 switches in lieu
of hubs for AP connectivity.
The use of layer 2 switches segments network traffic
and minimizes potential for a hostile user to monitor
traffic by connecting to a hub.
32. Deploy IPsec-based Virtual Private Network
(VPN) technology for wireless
communications.
The use of IPsec-based VPN provides an overlay
protection to the standard link encryption (e.g., WEP)
provided by the wireless connecting hosts.
33. Ensure that encryption being used is sufficient
with the sensitivity of the data on the network
and the processor speeds of the computers.
Sensitive data transmission should be encrypted. The
level of encryption provided must be balanced between
data security requirement and overhead cost related to
processor capability.
34. Fully test and deploy software patches and
upgrades regularly.
Newly discovered security vulnerabilities of vendor
products should be patched to prevent malicious and
inadvertent exploits. Patches should also be fully tested
before implementation to ensure that they work.
35. Ensure that all APs have strong administrative
passwords.
Administrator passwords on APs should not be easy to
guess. This minimizes the risk of an unauthorized user
gaining access by guessing or cracking administrative
passwords.
36. Ensure that all passwords are being changed
regularly.
Passwords should changed regularly to reduce the risk
of a compromised password being exploited.
37. Deploy user authentication such as biometrics,
smart cards, two-factor authentication, or PKI.
Implementing strong or two-factor authentication
whenever possible minimizes the vulnerabilities
associated with simple username and password
authentication.
38. Ensure that the “ad hoc mode” for 802.11 has
been disabled unless the environment is such
that the risk is tolerable. Note: some products
do not allow disabling this feature; use with
caution or use a different vendor.
The “ad hoc mode” for 802.11 can be exploited. Users
of hosts with “ad hoc mode” enabled may
unintentionally allow users to inadvertently or
maliciously connect to those systems.
39. Use static IP addressing on the network. Using static IP addressing makes it more difficult for a
hostile user to connect to the network.
40. Disable DHCP. If DHCP is disabled, then hosts are forced to use a
static IP address.
41. Enable user authentication mechanisms for the
management interfaces of the AP.
User authentication mechanisms should be enabled to
ensure that only authenticated users are allowed
access to the management interfaces of an AP.
42. Ensure that management traffic that is
destined for APs is on a dedicated wired
subnet.
Passing management traffic over an “out of band’
network or management subnet protects management
traffic, interfaces, and passwords from organizational
and outside users.
43. Use SNMPv3 and/or SSL/TLS for Web-based
management of APs.
SNMPv3 has enhanced security features relative to its
predecessor SNMP protocol. SNMPv3 and SSL/TLS
provide for secure authentication and encryption for
Web-based management access of APs.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
3-46
Security Recommendation Security Needs, Requirements, or Justification
44. Configure SNMP settings on APs for least
privilege (i.e., read only). Disable SNMP if it is
not used. SNMPv1 and SNMPv2 are not
recommended.
Agencies that require SNMP should change the default
community string, as often as needed, to a strong
community string. Privileges should be set to “read
only” if that is the only access a user requires. SNMPv1
and SNMPv2 message wrappers support only trivial
authentication based on plain-text community strings
and so are fundamentally insecure and not
recommended. Agencies should use SNMPv3.
45. Enhance AP management traffic security by
using SNMPv3 or equivalent cryptographically
protected protocol.
AP management traffic should be cryptographically
protected. SNMPv3 provides cryptographic
mechanisms to provide strong security.
46. Use a local serial port interface for AP
configuration to minimize the exposure of
sensitive management information.
By using a local serial port interface for AP
configuration ensures that sensitive management
information do not traverse the network as well as
minimizing the risk of unauthorized users gaining
access via a network protocol used to manage the AP.
47. Consider other forms of authentication for the
wireless network such as RADIUS and
Kerberos.
Use of authentication mechanisms such as RADIUS
and Kerberos can improve the security and simplify
user management.
48. Deploy intrusion detection agents on the
wireless part of the network to detect
suspicious behavior or unauthorized access
and activity.
Intrusion detection agents (e.g., host-based or networkbased
agents) deployed on the wireless network can
detect and respond to potential malicious activities.
49. Deploy auditing technology to analyze the
records produced by RADIUS for suspicious
activity.
If RADIUS is used, the audit records should be
manually or automatically processed to determine if
malicious activity has been directed at the
authentication server.
50. Deploy an 802.11 security product that offers
other security features such as enhanced
cryptographic protection or user authorization
features.
During product selection, ensure that the product
provides enhanced cryptographic protection or user
authorization features.
51. Enable use key-mapping keys rather than
default keys so that sessions use distinct WEP
keys.
The use of distinct WEP keys provides more security
than default keys and reduces the risk of key
compromise.
52. Fully understand the impacts of deploying any
security feature or product prior to deployment.
To ensure a successful deployment, an organization
should fully understand the technical, security,
operational, and personnel requirements before
implementation.
53. Designate an individual to track the progress of
802.11 security products and standards (IETF,
IEEE, etc.) and the threats and vulnerabilities
with the technology.
An appointed individual designated to track the latest
technology enhancements, standards, and risks will
help to ensure the continued secure implementation of
wireless technology.
54. Wait for future releases of 802.11 WLAN
technologies that incorporate fixes to the
security features, or provide enhanced security
features.
Upgrade to the latest versions and avoid purchasing the
versions of the 802.11 products with major security
vulnerabilities that have not been fixed.
55. When disposing of access points that will no
longer be used by the agency, clear access
point configuration to prevent disclosure of
network configuration, keys, passwords, etc.
Sensitive or proprietary configuration settings should be
cleared from access points before removing them from
use or disposing to prevent inadvertent disclosure of the
information to potentially malicious users.
56. If the access point supports logging, turn it on
and review the logs on a regular basis.
Ensure that the APs are set to perform logging. Also,
review of audit and logging data helps to ensure user
accountability.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Security Recommendation Security Needs, Requirements, or Justification
57. If the access point supports logging, turn it on
and review the logs on a regular basis.
Access point logs should be enabled and regularly
reviewed for malicious activity.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-1
4. Wireless Personal Area Networks
This section provides a detailed overview of Bluetooth technology—an ad hoc networking technology. As
mentioned earlier, ad hoc networks are a relatively new paradigm of wireless communications in which
no fixed infrastructure exists such as base stations or access points. In ad hoc networks, devices maintain
random network configurations formed “on the fly,” relying on a system of mobile routers connected by
wireless links that enable devices to communicate with each other. Devices within an ad hoc network
control the network configuration, and they maintain and share resources. Ad hoc networks are similar to
peer-to-peer (P2P) networking in that they both use decentralized networking, in which the information is
maintained at the end user location rather than in a centralized database. However, ad hoc and P2P
networks differ in that P2P networks rely on a routing mechanism to direct information queries, whereas
ad hoc networks rely on the device hardware to request and share the information.
Ad hoc networks allow devices to access wireless applications, such as address book synchronization and
file sharing applications, within a wireless personal area network (PAN). When combined with other
technologies, these networks can be expanded to include network and Internet access. Bluetooth devices
that typically do not have access to network resources but that are connected in a Bluetooth network with
an 802.11 capable device can achieve connection within the corporate network as well as reach out to the
Internet.
4.1 Bluetooth Overview
Ad hoc networks today are based primarily on Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth is an open standard for
short-range digital radio. It is touted as a low-cost, low-power, and low-profile technology that provides a
mechanism for creating small wireless networks on an ad hoc basis. Bluetooth is considered a wireless
PAN technology that offers fast and reliable transmission for both voice and data. Untethered Bluetooth
devices will eliminate the need for cables and provide a bridge to existing networks.
Bluetooth can be used to connect almost any device to any other device. An example is the connection
between a PDA and a mobile phone. The goal of Bluetooth is to connect disparate devices (PDAs, cell
phones, printers, faxes, etc.) together wirelessly in a small environment such as an office or home.
According to the leading proponents of the technology, Bluetooth is a standard that will ultimately—
! Eliminate wires and cables between both stationary and mobile devices
! Facilitate both data and voice communications
! Offer the possibility of ad hoc networks and deliver synchronicity between personal devices.
Bluetooth is designed to operate in the unlicensed ISM (industrial, scientific, medical applications) band
that is available in most parts of the world, with variation in some locations. The characteristics of
Bluetooth are summarized in Table 4-1. Bluetooth-enabled devices will automatically locate each other,
but making connections with other devices and forming networks requires user action.
As with all ad hoc networks, Bluetooth network topologies are established on a temporary and random
basis. A distinguishing feature of Bluetooth networks is the master-slave relationship maintained between
the network devices. Up to eight Bluetooth devices may be networked together in a master-slave
relationship, called a “piconet.” In a piconet, one device is designated as the master of the network with
up to seven slaves connected directly to that network. The master device controls and sets up the network
(including defining the network’s hopping scheme). Devices in a Bluetooth piconet operate on the same
channel and follow the same frequency hopping sequence. Although only one device may perform as the
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-2
master for each network, a slave in one network can act as the master for other networks, thus creating a
chain of networks. This series of piconets, often referred to as scatter-nets, allows several devices to be
internetworked over an extended distance. This relationship also allows for a dynamic topology that may
change during any given session: as a device moves toward or away from the master device in the
network, the topology and therefore the relationships of the devices in the immediate network change.
Table 4-1. Key Characteristics of Bluetooth Technology
Characteristic Description
Physical Layer Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS).
Frequency Band 2.4 – 2.4835 GHz (ISM band).
Hop Frequency 1,600 hops/sec.
Data Rate 1 Mbps (raw). Higher bit rates are anticipated.
Data and Network Security
Three modes of security (none, link-level, and service level), two
levels of device trust, and three levels of service security. Stream
encryption for confidentiality, challenge-response for
authentication. PIN-derived keys and limited management.
Operating Range About 10 meters (30 feet); can be extended to 100 meters.
Throughput Up to approximately 720 kbps.
Positive Aspects
No wires and cables for many interfaces. Ability to penetrate walls
and other obstacles. Costs are decreasing with a $5 cost
projected. Low power and minimal hardware.
Negative Aspects Possibility for interference with other ISM band technologies.
Relatively low data rates. Signals leak outside desired boundaries.
Scenario 1 (Piconet 1): Laptops of separate users in a meeting
Sharing files and contact information (e.g., meeting attendee list).
User C’s PDA
Laptop
Bluetooth
Piconet 3
Laptop
User C’s Laptop
Master of Piconet 3
User B’s PDA
Bluetooth
Piconet 2
User B’s Laptop
Master of Piconet 2
User B’s
Mobile Phone
User A’s Laptop Laptop D
Master of Piconet 1
Laptop E
Bluetooth Piconet 1
Remote Laptop (Laptop E) is connected to
Piconet 1 through router (Laptop D).
Scenario 2 and 3 (Piconet 2 and 3): User’s B and C
share contact information with personal devices.
Figure 4-1. Typical Bluetooth Network—A Scatter-net
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-3
Mobile routers in a Bluetooth network control the changing network topologies of these networks. The
routers also control the flow of data between devices that are capable of supporting a direct link to each
other. As devices move about in a random fashion, these networks must be reconfigured on the fly to
handle the dynamic topology. The routing protocols it employs allow Bluetooth to establish and maintain
these shifting networks.
Bluetooth transceivers operate in the 2.4 GHz, ISM band, which is similar to the band WLAN devices and
other IEEE 802.11 compliant devices occupy. Bluetooth transceivers, which use Gaussian Frequency
Shift Keying (GFSK) modulation, employ a frequency hopping (FH) spread spectrum system with a
hopping pattern of 1,600 times per second over 79 frequencies in a quasi-random fashion. The theoretical
maximum bandwidth of a Bluetooth network is 1 Mbps. However, in reality the networks cannot support
such data rates because of communication overhead. The second generation of Bluetooth technology is
expected to provide a maximum bandwidth of 2 Mbps.
Bluetooth networks can support either one asynchronous data channel with up to three simultaneous
synchronous speech channels or one channel that transfers asynchronous data and synchronous speech
simultaneously.
Bluetooth uses a combination of packet-switching technology and circuit-switching technology. The
advantage of using packet switching in Bluetooth is that it allows devices to route multiple packets of
information by the same data path. Since this method does not consume all the resources on a data path, it
becomes easier for remote devices to maintain data flow throughout a scatter-net.
4.1.1 Brief History
The original architect for Bluetooth, named after the 10th century Danish king Harald Bluetooth, was
Ericsson Mobile Communication. In 1998, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and Toshiba formed the Bluetooth SIG,
which serves as the governing body of the specification. The SIG began as a means to monitor the
development of the radio technology and the creation of a global and open standard. Today more than
2,000 organizations are part of the Bluetooth SIG, comprising leaders in the telecommunications and
computing industries that are driving development and promotion of Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth was
originally designed primarily as a cable replacement protocol for wireless communications. However,
SIG members plan to develop a broad range of Bluetooth-enabled consumer devices to enhance wireless
connectivity. Among the array of devices that are anticipated are cellular phones, PDAs, notebook
computers, modems, cordless phones, pagers, laptop computers, cameras, PC cards, fax machines, and
printers. Bluetooth is now standardized within the IEEE 802.15 Personal Area Network (PAN) Working
Group that formed in early 1999. The Bluetooth SIG Web site provides numerous links to other Web sites
with additional information.38 The IEEE Web site provides updates on the IEEE 802.15 Working Group.39
This is the Working Group that develops Personal Area Networking consensus standards for short
distance wireless networks, or WPANs.
4.1.2 Frequency and Data Rates
The designers of Bluetooth like those of the 802.11 WLAN standard designed Bluetooth to operate in the
unlicensed 2.4 GHz–2.4835 GHz ISM frequency band. Because numerous other technologies also operate
in this band, Bluetooth uses a frequency-hopping spread-spectrum (FHSS) technology to solve
interference problems. The FHSS scheme uses 79 different radio channels by changing frequency about
1,600 times per second. One channel is used in 625 microseconds followed by a hop in a pseudo-random
38 For more information, see the Bluetooth Web site at http://www.bluetooth.com.
39 For more information, see the IEEE Web site at http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/15/.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-4
order to another channel for another 625 microsecond transmission; this process is repeated continuously.
As stated previously, the ISM band has become popular for wireless communications because it is
available worldwide and does not require a license.
In the ISM band, Bluetooth technology permits transmission speeds of up to 1 Mbps and achieves a
throughput of approximately 720 kbps. Although the data rates are low compared to those of 802.11
wireless LANs, it is still three to eight times the average speed of parallel and serial ports, respectively.
This rate is adequately fast for many of the applications for which Bluetooth was conceived. Moreover, it
is anticipated that even faster data rates will be available in the future.
4.1.3 Bluetooth Architecture and Components
As with the IEEE 802.11 standard, Bluetooth permits devices to establish either P2P networks or
networks based on fixed access points with which mobile nodes can communicate. In this document,
however, we only discuss the ad hoc network topology. This topology is meant to easily interconnect
mobile devices that are in the same area (e.g., in the same room). In this architecture, client stations are
grouped into a single geographic area and can be inter-networked without access to the wired LAN
(infrastructure network). The basic Bluetooth topology is depicted in Figure 4-2. As shown in this
piconet, one of the devices would be a master, and the other two devices would be slaves.
Laptop
Mobile Phone
PDA
Figure 4-2. Bluetooth Ad Hoc Topology
Unlike a WLAN that comprises both a wireless station and an access point, with Bluetooth, there are only
wireless stations or clients. A Bluetooth client is simply a device with a Bluetooth radio and Bluetooth
software module incorporating the Bluetooth protocol stack and interfaces.
4.1.4 Range
Bluetooth provides three different classes of power management. Class 1 devices, the highest power
devices, operate at 100 milliwatt (mW) and have an operating range of up to 100 meters (m). Class 2
devices operate at 2.5 mW and have an operating range of up to 10 m. Class 3, the lowest power devices,
operate at 1 mW and have an operating range of from 1/10 meter to 10 meters. These three levels of
operating power are summarized in Table 4-2.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-5
Table 4-2. Device Classes of Power Management
Type Power Power Level Operating Range
Class 1 Devices High 100 mW (20 dBm) Up to 100 meters (300 feet)
Class 2 Devices Medium 2.5 mW (4 dBm) Up to 10 meters (30 feet)
Class 3 Devices Low 1 mW (0 dBm) 0.1–10 meters (less than 30 feet)
The three ranges for Bluetooth are depicted in Figure 4-3. As shown, the shortest range may be good for
applications such as cable replacement (e.g., mouse or keyboard), file synchronization, or business card
exchange. The high-powered range can reach distances of 100 m, or about 300 ft. Additionally, as with
the data rates, it is anticipated that even greater distances will be achieved in the future.
Class 1
100-meter range
Class 3
0.1 to 10-meter
Class 2
10-meter
Figure 4-3. Bluetooth Operating Range
4.2 Benefits
Bluetooth offers five primary benefits to users. This ad hoc method of untethered communication makes
Bluetooth very attractive today and can result in increased efficiency and reduced costs. The efficiencies
and cost savings are attractive for the home user and the enterprise business user.
Benefits of Bluetooth include—
! Cable replacement—Bluetooth technology replaces cables for a variety of interconnections. These
include those of peripheral devices (i.e., mouse and keyboard computer connections), USB at 12
Mbps (USB 1.1) up to 480 Mbps (USB 2.0); printers and modems, usually at 4 Mbps; and wireless
headsets and microphones that interface with PCs or mobile phones.
! Ease of file sharing—Bluetooth enables file sharing between Bluetooth-enabled devices. For
example, participants of a meeting with Bluetooth-compatible laptops can share files with each other.
In another example, a Bluetooth-compatible mobile phone acts as a wireless modem for laptops.
Using Bluetooth, the laptop interfaces with the cell phone, which in turn connects to a network, thus
giving the laptop a full range of networking capabilities without the need of an electrical interface for
the laptop–to–mobile phone connection.40
! Wireless synchronization—Bluetooth provides automatic wireless synchronization with other
Bluetooth-enabled devices. For example, personal information contained in address books and date
books can be synchronized between PDAs, laptops, mobile phones, and other devices.
40 See An Overview of Bluetooth Security, February 22, 2001, at http://www.sans.org.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-6
! Automated wireless applications—Bluetooth supports automatic wireless application functions.
Unlike synchronization, which typically occurs locally, automatic wireless applications interface with
the LAN and Internet. For example, an individual working offline on e-mails might be outside of their
regular service area—on a flight, for instance. To e-mail the files queued in the inbox of the laptop,
the individual, once back in a service area (i.e., having landed), would activate a mobile phone or any
other device capable of connecting to a network. The laptop would then automatically initiate a
network join by using the phone as a modem and automatically send the e-mails after the individual
logs on.
! Internet connectivity—Bluetooth is supported by a variety of devices and applications. Some of
these devices include mobile phones, PDAs, laptops, desktops, and fixed telephones. Internet
connectivity is possible when these devices and technologies join together to use each other’s
capabilities. For example, a laptop, using a Bluetooth connection, can request a mobile phone to
establish a dial-up connection; the laptop can then access the Internet through that connection.
Bluetooth is expected to be built into office appliances (e.g., PCs, faxes, printers, and laptops),
communication appliances (e.g., cell phones, handsets, pagers, and headsets), and home appliances (e.g.,
DVD players, cameras, refrigerators, and microwave ovens). Applications for Bluetooth also include
vending machines, banking, and other electronic payment systems; wireless office and conference rooms;
smart homes; and in-vehicle communications and parking.
4.3 Security of Bluetooth
This section helps the reader to understand the built-in security features of Bluetooth. It provides an
overview of the inherent security features to better illustrate its limitations and provide a motivation for
some of the recommendations for enhanced security. Security for the Bluetooth radio path is depicted in
Figure 4-4.
Router
Wired LAN
Bluetooth Security
Bluetooth Security
Bluetooth Security
Figure 4-4. Bluetooth Air-Interface Security
As shown in the illustration, security for Bluetooth is provided on the various wireless links—on the radio
paths only. In other words, link authentication and encryption may be provided, but true end-to-end
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-7
security is not possible without providing higher layer security solutions on top of Bluetooth. In the
example provided, security services are provided between the PDA and the printer, between the cell
phone and laptop, and between the laptop and the desktop.
Briefly, the three basic security services defined by the Bluetooth specifications are the following:
! Authentication—A goal of Bluetooth is the identity verification of communicating devices. This
security service addresses the question “Do I know with whom I’m communicating?” This service
provides an abort mechanism if a device cannot authenticate properly.
! Confidentiality—Confidentiality, or privacy, is another security goal of Bluetooth. The intent is to
prevent information compromise caused by eavesdropping (passive attack). This service, in general,
addresses the question “Are only authorized devices allowed to view my data?”
! Authorization—A third goal of Bluetooth is a security service developed to allow the control of
resources. This service addresses the question “Has this device been authorized to use this service?”
As with the 802.11 standard, Bluetooth does not address other security services such as audit and
nonrepudiation. If these other security services are desired or required, they must be provided through
other means. The three security services offered by Bluetooth and details about the modes of security are
described below.
Also worthwhile to note, Bluetooth provides a frequency-hopping scheme with 1,600 hops/second
combined with radio link power control (to limit transmit range). These characteristics provide Bluetooth
with some additional, albeit small, protection from eavesdropping and malicious access. The frequencyhopping
scheme, primarily a technique to avoid interference, makes it slightly more difficult for an
adversary to locate the Bluetooth transmission. Using the power control feature appropriately forces any
potential adversary to be in relatively close proximity to pose a threat to the Bluetooth network.
4.3.1 Security Features of Bluetooth per the Specifications
Bluetooth has three different modes of security. Each Bluetooth device can operate in one mode only at a
particular time. The three modes are the following:
! Security Mode 1—Nonsecure mode
! Security Mode 2—Service-level enforced security mode
! Security Mode 3—Link-level enforced security mode
In Security Mode 1, a device will not initiate any security procedures. In this nonsecure mode, the
security functionality (authentication and encryption) is completely bypassed. In effect, the Bluetooth
device in Mode 1 is in a “promiscuous” mode that allows other Bluetooth devices to connect to it. This
mode is provided for applications for which security is not required, such as exchanging business cards.
In Security Mode 2, the service-level security mode, security procedures are initiated after channel
establishment at the Logical Link Control and Adaptation Protocol (L2CAP) level. L2CAP resides in the
data link layer and provides connection-oriented and connectionless data services to upper layers. For this
security mode, a security manager (as specified in the Bluetooth architecture) controls access to services
and to devices. The centralized security manager maintains polices for access control and interfaces with
other protocols and device users. Varying security polices and “trust” levels to restrict access may be
defined for applications with different security requirements operating in parallel. Therefore, it is possible
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-8
to grant access to some services without providing access to other services. Obviously, in this mode, the
notion of authorization—that is the process of deciding if device A is allowed to have access to service
X—is introduced.
In Security Mode 3, the link-level security mode, a Bluetooth device initiates security procedures before
the channel is established. This is a built-in security mechanism, and it is not aware of any application
layer security that may exist. This mode supports authentication (unidirectional or mutual) and
encryption. These features are based on a secret link key that is shared by a pair of devices. To generate
this key, a pairing procedure is used when the two devices communicate for the first time.
The Bluetooth modes are depicted in Figure 4-5.
Security Modes
Security Mode 1
No security
– Insecure –
Security Mode 2
Service Level Security
– Flexible / Policy-based –
Security Mode 3
Link Level Security
– Fixed –
Authentication Confidentiality Authorization Authentication Confidentiality
Figure 4-5. Taxonomy of Bluetooth Security Modes
4.3.1.1 Link Key Generation—Bluetooth Bonding
The link key is generated during an initialization phase, while two Bluetooth devices that are
communicating are “associated” or “bonded.” Per the Bluetooth specification, two associated devices
simultaneously derive link keys during the initialization phase when a user enters an identical PIN into
both devices. The PIN entry, device association, and key derivation are depicted conceptually in Figure 4-
6. After initialization is complete, devices automatically and transparently authenticate and perform
encryption of the link. It is possible to create a link key using higher layer key exchange methods and then
import the link key into the Bluetooth modules. The PIN code used in Bluetooth devices can vary
between 1 and 16 bytes. The typical 4-digit PIN may be sufficient for some applications; however, longer
codes may be necessary.41
41 Bluetooth Security White Paper is available at http://www.bluetooth.com.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-9
PIN
E2
Link Key
Encryption Key
PIN
Link Key
Encryption Key
For Authentication
procedure
E2
E3 E3
For Encryption
procedure
Bluetooth Device 1 Bluetooth Device 2
Combination – pairwise key
Unit – unit-specific key
Initialization – used during initialization only
Master – used for broadcast
Semi-permanent
Figure 4-6. Bluetooth Key Generation from PIN
4.3.1.2 Authentication
The Bluetooth authentication procedure is in the form of a “challenge-response” scheme. Two devices
interacting in an authentication procedure are referred to as the claimant and the verifier. The verifier is
the Bluetooth device validating the identity of another device. The claimant is the device attempting to
prove its identity. The challenge-response protocol validates devices by verifying the knowledge of a
secret key—a Bluetooth link key. The challenge-response verification scheme is depicted conceptually in
Figure 4-7. As shown, one of the Bluetooth devices (the claimant) attempts to reach and connect to the
other (the verifier).
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
4-10
Radio
Interface
(Claimant) (Verifier)
E1
Algorithm
Link Key E1
Algorithm
Random Number
Generator
(RNG)
AU_RAND
ACO
Address
Link Key
ACO
=?
Yes
No Abort
Connection
Allow
Connection
Bluetooth Device 1 Bluetooth Device 2
BD_ADDR
SRES
Figure 4-7. Bluetooth Authentication
The steps in the authentication process are the following:
Step 1. The claimant transmits its 48-bit address (BD_ADDR) to the verifier.
Step 2. The verifier transmits a 128-bit random challenge (AU_RAND) to the claimant.
Step 3. The verifier uses the E1 algorithm to compute an authentication response using the
address, link key, and random challenge as inputs. The claimant performs the same computation.
Step 4. The claimant returns the computed response, SRES, to the verifier.
Step 5. The verifier compares the SRES from the claimant with the SRES that it computes.
Step 6. If the two 32-bit SRES values are equal, the verifier will continue connection
establishment.
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If authentication fails, a Bluetooth device will wait an interval of time before a new attempt can be made.
This time interval will increase exponentially to prevent an adversary from repeated attempts to gain
access by defeating the authentication scheme through trial-and-error with different keys. However, it is
important to note that this “suspend” technique does not provide security against sophisticated adversaries
performing offline attacks to exhaustively search PINs.
Again, the Bluetooth standard allows both uni-directional and mutual authentication to be performed. The
E1 authentication function used for the validation is based on the SAFER+ algorithm.42
The Bluetooth address is a public parameter that is unique to each device. This address can be obtained
through a device inquiry process. The private key, or link key, is a secret entity. The link key is derived
during initialization, is never disclosed outside the Bluetooth device, and is never transmitted over the airinterface.
The random challenge, obviously a public parameter, is designed to be different on every
transaction. The random number is derived from a pseudo-random process within the Bluetooth device.
The cryptographic response is public as well. With knowledge of the challenge and response parameters,
it should be impossible to predict the next challenge or derive the link key.
The parameters used in the authentication procedure are summarized in Table 4-3.
Table 4-3. Summary of Authentication Parameters
Parameter Length Secrecy Characteristic
Device address 48 bits Public
Random challenge 128 bits Public, unpredictable
Authentication (SRES) response 32 bits Public
Link key 128 bits Secret
4.3.1.3 Confidentiality
In addition to the authentication scheme, Bluetooth provides for a confidentiality security service to
thwart eavesdropping attempts on the air-interface. Bluetooth encryption is provided to protect the
payloads of the packets exchanged between two Bluetooth devices. The encryption scheme for this
service is depicted conceptually in Figure 4-7.
As shown in Figure 4-8, the Bluetooth encryption procedure is based on a stream cipher, E0. A key stream
output is exclusive-OR-ed with the payload bits and sent to the receiving device. This key stream is
produced using a cryptographic algorithm based on linear feedback shift registers (LFSR).43 The encrypt
function takes as inputs the master identity (BD_ADDR), the random number (EN_RAND), a slot
number, and an encryption key, which initialize the LFSRs before the transmission of each packet, if
encryption is enabled. Since the slot number used in the stream cipher changes with each packet, the
ciphering engine is also reinitialized with each packet although the other variables remain static.
As shown in Figure 4-8, the encryption key provided to the encryption algorithm is produced using an
internal key generator (KG). This key generator produces stream cipher keys based on the link key,
random number (EN_RAND again), and the ACO value. The ACO parameter, a 96-bit authenticated
42 A family of SAFER algorithms was developed by James Massey and used in Cylink Corporation products. SAFER stands
for Secure And Fast Encryption Routine. The SAFER algorithms are iterated block ciphers (IBC). In an IBC, the same
cryptographic function is applied for a specified number of rounds.
43 LFSRs are used in coding (error control coding) theory and cryptography. LFSR-based key stream generators (KSGs),
comprised of exclusive-OR gates and shift registers, are common in stream ciphers and are very fast in hardware.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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cipher offset, is another output produced during the authentication procedure shown in Figure 4-7. As
mentioned above, the link key is the 128-bit secret key that is held in the Bluetooth devices and is not
accessible to the user. Moreover, this critical security element is never transmitted outside the Bluetooth
device.
Radio
Interface
Plaintext Input
Keystream
Key Generator
(KG)
Packet
Slave Master
Ciphertext
E0
Algorithm
Link Key
Keystream
Key Generator
(KG)
E0
Algorithm
Random Number
Generator
(RNG)
ACO EN_RAND ACO
Master Identity
Slot
Number
Slot
Number
Link Key
Plaintext Output
Packet
Encryption Key, KC
Encryption Key, KC
Plaintext Output
Payload bits
XOR with
keystream
Packet
Ciphertext
Payload bits
XOR with
keystream
Plaintext Input
Packet
BD_ADDR
Bluetooth Device 1 Bluetooth Device 2
Figure 4-8. Bluetooth Encryption Procedure
The encryption key (KC) is generated from the current link key. The key size may vary from 8 bits to 128
bits and is negotiated. The negotiation process occurs between master devices and slave devices. During
negotiation, a master device makes a key size suggestion for the slave. In every application, a “minimum
acceptable” key size parameter can be set to prevent a malicious user from driving the key size down to
the minimum of 8 bits, making the link totally insecure.
The Bluetooth specification also allows three different encryption modes to support the confidentiality
service:
! Encryption Mode 1—No encryption is performed on any traffic.
! Encryption Mode 2—Broadcast traffic goes unprotected (not encrypted), but individually addressed
traffic is encrypted according to the individual link keys.
! Encryption Mode 3—All traffic is encrypted according to the master link key.
4.3.1.4 Trust Levels, Service Levels, and Authorization
In addition to the three security modes, Bluetooth allows two levels of trust and three levels of service
security. The two levels of trust are “trusted” and “untrusted.” Trusted devices are ones that have a fixed
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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relationship and therefore have full access to all services. Untrusted devices do not maintain a permanent
relationship; this results in a restricted service access. For services, three levels of security have been
defined. These levels are provided so that the requirements for authorization, authentication, and
encryption can be set independently.
The security levels can be described as follows:
! Service Level 1—Those that require authorization and authentication. Automatic access is granted
only to trusted devices. Untrusted devices need manual authorization.
! Service Level 2—Those that require authentication only. Access to an application is allowed only
after an authentication procedure. Authorization is not necessary.
! Service Level 3—Those that are open to all devices. Authentication is not required, and access is
granted automatically.
Associated with these levels are the following security controls to restrict access to services: authorization
required (this always includes authentication), authentication required, and encryption required (link must
be encrypted before the application can be accessed).
The Bluetooth architecture allows for defining security policies that can set trust relationships in such a
way that even trusted devices can get access only to specific services and not to others. It is important to
understand that Bluetooth core protocols can authenticate only devices and not users. This is not to say
that user-based access control is not possible. The Bluetooth security architecture (through the security
manager) allows applications to enforce their own security policies. The link layer, at which Bluetooth
specific security controls operate, is transparent to the security controls imposed by the application layers.
Thus it is possible to enforce user-based authentication and fine-grained access control within the
Bluetooth security framework.
4.3.2 Problems with the Bluetooth Standard Security
This section provides an overview of some of the known problems with Bluetooth at this writing. The
Bluetooth security checklist addresses these vulnerabilities.
Table 4-4. Key Problems with Existing (Native) Bluetooth Security
Security Issue or Vulnerability Remarks
1 Strength of the challenge-response pseudorandom
generator is not known.
The Random Number Generator (RNG) may produce
static number or periodic numbers that may reduce
the effectiveness of the authentication scheme.
2 Short PINS are allowed. Weak PINs, which are used for the generation of link
and encryption keys, can be easily guessed.
Increasing the PIN length in general increases the
security. People have a tendency to select short
PINs.
3 An elegant way to generate and distribute
PINs does not exist.
Establishing PINs in large Bluetooth networks with
many users may be difficult. Scalability problems
frequently yield security problems.
4 Encryption key length is negotiable. The Bluetooth SIG needs to develop a more robust
initialization key generation procedure.
5 Unit key is reusable and becomes public
once used.
Use a unit key as input to generate a random key.
Use a key set instead of only one unit key.
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Security Issue or Vulnerability Remarks
6 The master key is shared. The Bluetooth SIG needs to develop a better
broadcast keying scheme.
7 No user authentication exists. Device authentication only is provided. Applicationlevel
security and user authentication can be
employed.
8 Attempts for authentication are repeated. The Bluetooth SIG needs to develop a limit feature to
prevent unlimited requests. The Bluetooth
specification requires a time-out period between
repeated attempts that will increase exponentially.
9 E0 stream cipher algorithm is weak. The Bluetooth SIG needs to develop a more robust
encryption procedure.
10 Key length is negotiable. A global agreement must be established on minimum
key length.
11 Unit key sharing can lead to eavesdropping. A corrupt user may be able to compromise the
security between (gain unauthorized access to) two
other users if that corrupt user has communicated
with either of the other two users. This is because the
link key (unit key), derived from shared information, is
disclosed.
12 Privacy may be compromised if the
Bluetooth device address (BD_ADDR) is
captured and associated with a particular
user.
Once the BD_ADDR is associated with a particular
user, that user’s activities could be logged, resulting
in a loss of privacy.
13 Device authentication is simple shared-key
challenge-response.
One-way-only challenge-response authentication is
subject to man-in-the-middle attacks. Mutual
authentication is required to provide verification that
users and the network are legitimate.
14 End-to-end security is not performed. Only individual links are encrypted and authenticated.
Data is decrypted at intermediate points. Applications
software above the Bluetooth software can be
developed.
15 Security services are limited. Audit, nonrepudiation, and other services do not exist.
If needed, these can be developed at particular points
in a Bluetooth network.
4.4 Security Requirements and Threats
Bluetooth offers several benefits and advantages. However, agencies must not only address the security
threats associated with Bluetooth before they implement the technologies; they must also assess the
vulnerabilities of the devices they allow to participate in the Bluetooth networks. Specifically, agencies
need to address security concerns for confidentiality, data integrity, and network availability. Moreover,
since Bluetooth devices are more likely to be managed by users that are less security conscious than
administrators, they are more likely to contribute to involuntary security lapses. This subsection will
briefly cover some of the risks to security, i.e., attacks on confidentiality, integrity, and network
availability.
4.4.1 Loss of Confidentiality
See Figure 3.9 in the 802.11 wireless section for a general taxonomy of security attacks, to understand
some of the attacks against Bluetooth.
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Threats to confidentiality involve, first of all, compromised Bluetooth devices. When a Bluetooth device
that is part of a piconet becomes compromised (e.g., is in the possession of an unauthorized user), it may
still receive information that the malicious user should not access. Moreover, the compromised device
may still have network or information privileges, resulting in a compromise of the wider network as well.
In the latter case, the compromised device may not only receive normal proprietary traffic but may also
request that information as part of a targeted network attack. A trait of Bluetooth that makes this
compromise unique is that the Bluetooth network requires device—and not user—authentication to access
resources. Once the device is authenticated, it is automatically connected to resources without the need
for subsequent authentication.44
Bluetooth devices themselves have inherent security vulnerabilities. For example, malicious users can use
wireless microphones as bugging devices. Although such attacks have not been documented because
Bluetooth is not yet commercially prevalent, incidents have been recorded of successful attacks on PCs
using programs such as Back Orifice and Netbus. If a malicious user has a program such as Back Orifice
installed on a device in the Bluetooth network, that user could access other Bluetooth devices and
networks that have limited or no security. These same programs could be used against Bluetooth devices
and networks. Bluetooth devices are further vulnerable because the system authenticates the devices, not
the users. As a result, a compromised device can gain access to the network and compromise both the
network and devices on the network.
Authorized remote users pose a threat to Bluetooth networks. Remote users are not always subject to the
same security requirements as users onsite. They frequently use nonsecure links, whether at home or on
travel. In the process of connecting, they transmit user IDs and passwords, which a malicious user can
capture using a network sniffer. Without the secure perimeter typically provided in an office environment,
the malicious user does not have to be in close proximity to the user to intercept traffic. Once the device
or link is compromised, all devices in that Bluetooth network are vulnerable to attacks. For example, a
compromised link allows a malicious user to monitor data traffic, while a compromised device allows the
malicious user to request and receive sensitive data. If in addition the malicious user obtains knowledge
of the user IDs and password of the targeted network, then a compromised device can be used to gain
access to the network. This scenario requires a number of security lapses before a malicious user can gain
access to the network. Using Bluetooth secure links and additional layers of security on top of Bluetooth
would mitigate the risk of such an attack.
The man-in-the-middle attack poses an additional threat to Bluetooth devices that rely on unit keys,
typically the more simple “dumb” devices. In this attack, the man-in-the-middle (Device C) obtains the
security encryption key that a network device (Device A) uses to monitor traffic between itself and
another network device (Device B). All the attack requires is that Device A separately share its unit key (a
static key unique to each device) with Device C and Device B. The reasons for the connections between
Devices A and B and between Devices A and C may be completely unrelated, and the level of
confidentiality may even be different. However, once Device C knows the unit key, it can use a fake
device address to calculate the encryption key and monitor traffic between Devices A and B without their
knowledge. The man-in-the-middle attack does not require costly or special equipment. A knowledgeable
malicious user who has access to the unit key and who can mimic a Bluetooth address to generate the
encryption key can conduct the attack. Attacks such as these use a priori knowledge of the targeted
Bluetooth devices. Although this does not necessarily preclude malicious users from randomly attacking
44 Devices are authenticated through the Bluetooth chip at the link level. The Bluetooth authentication scheme is essentially a
challenge-response strategy, where a two-move protocol is used to check whether the other party knows a shared identical
secret key (a symmetric key). Basically the protocol checks that both devices have the same key, and if they do
authentication is successful. This process is sometimes invisible to the device user, since the devices can automatically
authenticate once they are within the transmission range. (See http://www.palowireless.com/bluearticles/cc1_security1.asp for
more information.)
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Bluetooth devices as they enter the transmission range, no instances of such attacks have been
documented.
Figure 4-9 illustrates the attack. A trusted PDA (Device A) shares proprietary information with a trusted
laptop (Device B). During the connection with Device B, Device A connects to an untrusted PDA (Device
C) to share personal contacts in A’s PDA address book. Once Device C makes the connection to A, C
now becomes the man-in-the-middle and can monitor the traffic between Devices A and B by using
Device A’s unit key and a fake address. The biggest danger in such monitoring is that the owner(s) of
Device A or B may never realize that the information is being compromised.
LAPTOP
“Untrusted Device”
Step 1a: Device A shares
Unit Key with Device C
Step1: Device A shares
Unit Key with Device B
PDA 1
PDA 2
Device A
Device B Device C
PDA 1 Shares “contact information” with PDA 2
(i.e. Non- Proprietary Address Book)
PDA 1 Shares “proprietary information”
with Laptop (trusted device)
Step 2: Device C fakes device
address to defeat encryption
Step 3: Device C monitors
traffic between Device A or B
“Trusted Device”
Figure 4-9. Man-in-the-Middle Attack Scenarios
To date, no software is available for monitoring such intrusions, and Bluetooth devices are invisible to
network administrators.45 Although different participants from different organizations may enforce
different security policies, in an ad hoc network this has little bearing. Every device participating in the ad
hoc network is susceptible to the security risks of every other device. Since Bluetooth devices are unlikely
to be administered by network administrators, users should be aware of the security implications of their
use in environments that process sensitive data. Although privacy violations are not directly a security
threat, agencies need to consider the potential for privacy violations when implementing Bluetooth
technologies. Each Bluetooth device is equipped with its own unique address (BD_ADDR), and this
address is used to log each device’s participation in the network. Secure logging ensures device
authentication (i.e., we have no proof who was operating the device, therefore, an individual can deny
participation in the network since the address that is logged belongs to the device and not an individual).
However, it also allows organizations to monitor and track what an individual does on the network.46
Nonrepudiation of individuals requires strong authentication, such as client digital signatures that can be
verified in a PKI (Public Key Infrastructure).
45 See “Security in a Mobile World—Is Bluetooth the Answer?” Computers and Security, Vol. 20 (2001).
46 See “Bluetooth Security: An Oxymoron?” November 28, 2000, at http://www.mcommercetimes.com.
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4.4.2 Loss of Integrity
Violations of integrity result from the corruption of an organization’s or user’s data. The immediate effect
is similar to that of a confidentiality, or disclosure, threat: a compromised network. However, integrity
threats extend beyond this, involving the alteration, addition, or deletion of information, which is then
passed through the network without the user’s or network administrator’s knowledge. Information that is
subject to corruption includes files on the network and data on user devices. For example, a malicious
user might employ an untrusted device, such as a PDA, to access the address book of another PDA or
laptop. However, instead of just monitoring the information, as would be the case with a disclosure threat,
the malicious user alters the contact information without the owner’s knowledge or may even delete the
information completely. If undetected, such attacks could result in the agency (or user) losing confidence
in its data and system. Users should verify that their Bluetooth product does not allow automatic data
synchronization to prevent the alteration of any information without the acknowledgement of the device
user.
4.4.3 Loss of Availability
DoS and DDoS attacks cause in the loss of network availability and “usability upon demand” for
authorized users and devices. DoS attacks block authorized user access to system resources and network
applications. Besides the typical DoS attacks (e.g., those involving flooding techniques) directed against
LANs and Internet services, Bluetooth devices are also susceptible to signal jamming. Bluetooth devices
share bandwidth with microwave ovens, cordless phones, and other wireless networks and thus are
vulnerable to interference. Malicious users can interfere with the flow of information (i.e., disrupt the
routing protocol by feeding the network inaccurate information) by using devices that transmit in the
2.4 GHz ISM band. Disrupting the routing protocol prevents ad hoc network devices from negotiating the
network’s dynamic topologies. Remote users may encounter jamming more frequently than on-site users.
Remote users must contend with the same interference that users experience in the office. Further, since
the remote environment is uncontrolled, remote devices are more likely to be in close proximity to
devices (e.g., other Bluetooth and ISM band devices) that are intentionally or unintentionally jamming
their signals.
Another threat associated with ad hoc devices is a battery exhaustion attack. This attack attempts to
disable a device by draining its battery. A malicious user continually sends requests to the device asking
for data transfers (assuming the user is part of the network topology) or asking the device to create a
network.47 Although this type of attack does not compromise network security, it ultimately prevents the
user from gaining access to the network, because the device cannot function.
4.5 Risk Mitigation
Bluetooth is a relatively new standard and has yet to become prevalent in the marketplace. However,
countermeasures are available to help secure Bluetooth networks. These measures include management
countermeasures, operational countermeasures, and technical countermeasures.
4.5.1 Management Countermeasures
The first line of defense is to provide an adequate level of knowledge and understanding for those who
will deal with Bluetooth-enabled devices. Agencies using Bluetooth technology need to establish and
document security policies that address the use of Bluetooth-enabled devices and the user’s
responsibilities. The policy document should include a list of approved uses for Bluetooth networks, the
47 See “Bluetooth Security,” May 2000, at http://www.niksula.cs.hut.fi/~jiitv/bluesec.html.
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type of information that may be transferred in the network, and any disciplinary actions that may result
from misuse. The security policy should also specify a proper password usage scheme.
4.5.2 Operational Countermeasures
Since Bluetooth devices do not register when they join a network, they are invisible to network
administrators. Consequently, it is difficult for administrators to apply traditional physical security
measures. However, there are some security approaches that can be applied, including establishing spatial
distance and securing the gateway Bluetooth devices that connect remote Bluetooth networks or devices.
Establishing spatial distance requires setting the power requirements low enough to prevent a device
operating on the agency’s premises from having sufficient power to be detected outside a physical area
(e.g., outside the office building). This spatial distance in effect creates a more secure perimeter.
Currently, Bluetooth devices have a useful range of approximately 30 feet (with a class 3 device).
Agencies that require both high levels of security and low levels of security should maintain a secure
perimeter so that on-site network users can maintain secure connections in their office spaces. Agencies
with requirements for high levels of security should also restrict unauthorized personnel from using
PDAs, laptops, and other electronic devices within the secure perimeter.
4.5.3 Technical Countermeasures
As with WLANs, Bluetooth technical countermeasures fall into one of two categories: software security
solutions and hardware security solutions. Bluetooth software solutions focus on PIN and private
authentications, while hardware solutions involve the use of the Bluetooth device address and link keys
that reside at the link level. Again, it should be noted that hardware solutions, which generally have
software components, are listed simply as hardware solutions.
4.5.3.1 Software Solutions
Software solutions inherent in Bluetooth technology include the Bluetooth PIN and private authentication.
Bluetooth enforces Bluetooth PINs at the link level. PINs may be 1 to 16 octets (8 bits to 128 bits) in
length, depending on the degree of security selected by the device user. Bluetooth devices use the PIN, in
effect, for device authentication: the PIN acts as a variable in the initialization key generation process. For
authentication between two devices, Bluetooth has the option of storing and retrieving the PIN
automatically and directly from memory or having a user enter the PIN into the device when the device is
initializing. To generate keys between two devices, the devices can use the PIN from a single device or
use the Bluetooth PIN of both devices. Because the PINs are necessary for authentication and for link
security, administrators should ensure that Bluetooth devices use PINs other than the default, or lowest,
setting (e.g., 0000).
According to the Bluetooth specification, the Bluetooth PIN is not a value that comes with a device,
except if fixed PINS are used. In this case, the fixed PIN must be used. This is a weak procedure, but it is
allowed for devices that do not have a user interface. Normally, when two devices pair, they use the same
PIN number, which is generated ad hoc and forgotten immediately afterwards and not used again. If two
devices have different fixed PINs, they cannot pair.
Since Bluetooth devices can store and automatically access link-level PINs from memory, a Bluetooth
device should employ device authentication as an extra layer of security. Incorporating application-level
software that requires password authentication to secure the device will add an extra layer of security.
Agencies with both high-end users and low-end users should incorporate application-level software that
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requires password authentication in Bluetooth devices. Again, passwords are fundamental measures,
adding an extra layer of security.
Additionally, some of the software solutions identified for 802.11 WLANs may be appropriate for
Bluetooth devices as well. These software solutions are outlined in Section 3. Because Bluetooth is a
relatively new wireless communications technology, supplemental software solutions (e.g., application
security tool kits, robust IPsec VPN overlay) have not appeared in the marketplace. Moreover, if
Bluetooth is intended for less critical and short-range applications, such as simple printer cable
replacements, the enhanced security may be expensive and unnecessary.
4.5.3.2 Hardware Solutions
Hardware security solutions for Bluetooth devices are inherent in the design of the standard itself. As
mentioned above, the link layer provides its own form of security. Bluetooth uses a device address that is
unique to each device. The device address, a 48-bit identifier—note that this is a 6-byte public
parameter—serves several purposes such as generating 128-bit link keys and encryption keys. For
example, a key-generating algorithm (defined by the Bluetooth standards) with a randomly generated
number and the Bluetooth device address creates the unit and combination keys.
Link keys, the 128-bit random numbers that form the basis of Bluetooth security, are in the form of a unit
key, a master link key, or a combination key. Only dumb devices use unit keys. More advanced devices
establish combination keys with peers. Master devices generate master link keys that are transported to
slaves protected by pair-wise link keys. A device in the network generates the unit key (a key that rarely
changes) when the new device first comes into operation. This unit key may then become the device’s
link key for the network. However, since the sharing of unit keys represents a vulnerability, agencies
should regulate the exchange of unit keys with untrusted devices. Combination keys, pair-wise unique
link keys, are derived from information from two communicating devices. The combination key,
however, becomes a unique link key for those devices only. Even if the unit key of one of the devices is
compromised, the link is still not compromised. The unit key and combination keys are functionally
indistinguishable; the difference is merely in the ways they are generated. Hence, a Bluetooth device may
have either a unit key or a combination key, but not both.
Another hardware solution, inherent in the Bluetooth design, is the use of frequency-hopping schemes.
Frequency-hopping schemes allow devices to communicate even in areas where a great deal of
electromagnetic interference occurs. Frequency-hopping schemes also offer protection from burst errors
by continually moving signals in and out of the interference band and by making bit error corrections
using FEC. Frequency-hopping schemes have been thought to protect authorized users from malicious
users by transmitting the signal with a pseudo-random sequence that moves the signal arbitrarily around
the bandwidth, making it very difficult to track. However, this technique provides only minimal
protection in reality and should not be relied upon solely.
A hardware solution for securing devices in the network (and indirectly providing more security for the
Bluetooth network) is biometrics, and more specifically, voice authentication. Biometrics can be a part of
a multi-factor authentication whereby the user is required to provide more than one form of
authentication. Some devices that have Bluetooth applications, especially mobile phones and PDAs,
already employ a form of voice authentication. Voice authentication can help agencies prevent malicious
users from compromising remote Bluetooth devices and networks. The hosting devices of Bluetooth
devices and networks should be secured in the same manner as PDAs, cell phones, and WLANs and
related devices. Information on securing WLANs and devices, PDAs, and cell phones can be found in
Sections 3 and 5.
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Bluetooth is still a relatively new standard. Given that a number of vulnerabilities have been discovered,
the standard is likely to continue to evolve and improve the built-in hardware security mechanisms. Many
of the problems cannot be simply fixed by the user. The security problems, or possible security problems
(security is not known fully), will exist until the Bluetooth SIG addresses them. Products that are released
into the market now may exhibit some vulnerabilities. Some of the hardware solutions outlined for 802.11
WLANs in Section 3 may also be appropriate for Bluetooth devices.
Because Bluetooth-enabled devices are not yet widely available, the market has not developed robust
security solutions. Trusted third-party (TTP) authentication should be considered when it becomes
available. TTP centralizes authentication, and as long as the TTP remains secure and trusted, the
trustworthiness of the devices is not a concern. Centralized key management authority, which is similar to
TTP authentication, is another possibility. Centralized key management, unlike TTP, maintains and
distributes keys, so that only trusted devices have access to the secure keys.
Jini is an emerging technology that allows for instant recognition of new devices in a network. It can be
viewed as the next step (after the Java programming language) toward making a network look like one
large computer. Jini promises to make devices capable of attaching to a network independent of an
operating system. Equipped with its own, special-purpose operating system, the device could connect to a
network and immediately be shared by devices with different operating systems (e.g., Windows,
Macintosh, and UNIX). Mobile devices could easily connect to a network so that others could use the
device.
In the Jini architecture, each new device that is added to the network immediately defines itself to the
network device registry. Thus, when users plug in devices such as printers, storage devices, and speakers,
every other computer, device, and user on the network immediately knows that a new device has been
added and is now available. In the future, Jini may serve as a form of TTP, operating on a host device
(e.g., a laptop computer or PDA) to authenticate devices on the network. Jini may also monitor device
usage by tracking device authentication and network access.
As Bluetooth technology matures over the next few years, the built-in security features will mature and
additional add-on solutions will appear in the market.
4.6 Bluetooth Security Checklist
Table 4-5 provides a Bluetooth security checklist. The table presents guidelines and recommendations for
creating and maintaining a secure Bluetooth wireless network. For each recommendation or guideline,
three columns are provided. The first column, the Best Practice column, if checked, means that this entry
represents something recommended for all agencies. The second column, the “Should Consider” column,
if checked, means that the entry’s recommendation is something that an agency should carefully consider
for three reasons. First, implementing the recommendation may provide a higher level of security for the
wireless environment by offering some additional protection. Second, the recommendation supports a
defense-in-depth strategy. Third, it may have significant performance, operational, or cost impacts. In
summary, if the “Should Consider” column is checked, agencies should carefully consider the option and
weigh the costs versus the benefits. The last column, the “Status” column, is intentionally left blank and
allows an agency to use this table as a true checklist. For instance, an individual performing a wireless
security audit in a Bluetooth environment can quickly check off each recommendation for the agency,
asking, “Have I done this?”
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Table 4-5. Bluetooth Security Checklist
Checklist
Security Recommendation Best
Practice
Should
Consider
Status
Management Recommendations
1 Develop an agency security policy that addresses the use of wireless
technology including Bluetooth technology.
!
2 Ensure that users on the network are fully trained in computer security
awareness and the risks associated with wireless technology (i.e.,
Bluetooth).
!
3 Perform a risk assessment to understand the value of the assets in the
agency that need protection.
!
4 Perform comprehensive security assessments at regular intervals to
fully understand the wireless network security posture.
!
5 Ensure that the wireless “network” is fully understood. With piconets
forming scatter-nets with possible connections to 802.11 networks and
connections to both wired and wireless wide area networks, an agency
must understand the overall connectivity. Note: a device may contain
various wireless technologies and interfaces.
!
6 Ensure external boundary protection is in place around the perimeter of
the building or buildings of the agency.
!
7 Deploy physical access controls to the building and other secure areas
(e.g., photo ID, card badge readers).
!
8 Ensure that handheld or small Bluetooth devices are protected from
theft.
!
9 Ensure that Bluetooth devices are turned off during all hours when they
are not used.
!
10 Take a complete inventory of all Bluetooth-enabled wireless devices. !
11 Study and understand all planned Bluetooth-enabled devices to
understand any security idiosyncrasies or inadequacies.
!
Technical Recommendations
12 Change the default settings of the Bluetooth device to reflect the
agency’s security policy.
!
13 Set Bluetooth devices to the lowest necessary and sufficient power
level so that transmissions remain within the secure perimeter of the
agency.
!
14 Ensure that the Bluetooth “bonding” environment is secure from
eavesdroppers (i.e., the environment has been visually inspected for
possible adversaries before the initialization procedures during which
key exchanges occur).
!
15 Choose PIN codes that are sufficiently random and avoid all weak
PINs.
!
16 Choose PIN codes that are sufficiently long (maximal length if possible). !
17 Ensure that no Bluetooth device is defaulting to the zero PIN. !
18 Configure Bluetooth devices to delete PINs after initialization to ensure
that PIN entry is required every time and that the PINs are not stored in
memory after power removal.
!
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Checklist
Security Recommendation Best
Practice
Should
Consider
Status
19 Use an alternative protocol for the exchange of PIN codes, e.g., the
Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange or Certificate-based key exchange
methods at the application layer. Use of such processes simplifies the
generation and distribution of longer PIN codes.
!
Operational Recommendations
20 Ensure that combination keys are used instead of unit keys. !
21 Invoke link encryption for all Bluetooth connections regardless of how
needless encryption may seem (i.e., no Security Mode 1).
!
22 Ensure that encryption is enabled on every link in the communication
chain.
!
23 Make use of Security Mode 2 in controlled and well-understood
environments.
!
24 Ensure device mutual authentication for all accesses. !
25 Enable encryption for all broadcast transmissions (Encryption Mode 3). !
26 Configure encryption key sizes to the maximum allowable. !
27 Establish a “minimum key size” for any key negotiation process. !
28 Ensure that portable devices with Bluetooth interfaces are configured
with a password to prevent unauthorized access if lost or stolen.
!
29 Use application-level (on top of the Bluetooth stack) encryption and
authentication for highly sensitive data communication. For example, an
IPsec-based Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology can be used for
highly sensitive transactions.
!
30 Use smart card technology in the Bluetooth network to provide key
management.
!
31 Install antivirus software on intelligent, Bluetooth-enabled hosts. !
32 Fully test and deploy software Bluetooth patches and upgrades
regularly.
!
33 Deploy user authentication such as biometrics, smart cards, two-factor
authentication, or PKI.
!
34 Deploy intrusion detection agents on the wireless part of the network to
detect suspicious behavior or unauthorized access and activity.
!
35 Fully understand the impacts of deploying any security feature or
product prior to deployment.
!
36 Designate an individual to track the progress of Bluetooth security
products and standards (perhaps via the Bluetooth SIG) and the threats
and vulnerabilities with the technology.
!
37 Wait until future releases of Bluetooth technology incorporate fixes to
the security features or offer enhanced security features.
!
4.7 Bluetooth Ad Hoc Network Risk and Security Summary
Table 4.6 lists areas of concern for Bluetooth devices, the security threats and vulnerabilities associated
with those areas, and the risk mitigations for securing the devices from these threats and vulnerabilities.
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Table 4-6. Bluetooth Security Summary
Security Recommendation Security Need, Requirement, or Justification
1. Develop an agency security policy that addresses
the use of wireless technology including Bluetooth
technology.
A security policy is the foundation on which other
countermeasures—the operational and technical
ones—are rationalized and implemented. A
documented security policy allows an organization
to define acceptable implementations and uses for
Bluetooth technology.
2. Ensure that users on the network are fully trained in
computer security awareness and the risks
associated with wireless technology (e.g.,
Bluetooth).
A security awareness program helps users to
establish good security practices in the interest of
preventing inadvertent or malicious intrusions into
an organization’s automated information system.
3. Perform a risk assessment to understand the value
of the assets in the agency that need protection.
Understanding the value of organizational assets
and the level of protection required enables the
engineering of a wireless solution that provides an
appropriate level of security.
4. Perform comprehensive security assessments at
regular intervals (including validating the secure
configuration of Bluetooth technology) to fully
understand the wireless network security posture.
Wireless products should support upgrade and
patching of firmware to be able to take advantage
of wireless security enhancements and fixes.
5. Make sure the wireless “network” is fully understood.
With piconets forming scatter-nets with possible
connections to 802.11 networks and connections to
both wired and wireless wide area networks, an
agency must understand the overall connectivity.
Note: a device may contain various wireless
technologies and interfaces.
A thorough understanding of the functionalities
and configurations of the deployed wireless
network technologies allows an organization to
identify possible risks and vulnerabilities. These
risks and vulnerabilities can then be addressed in
the wireless security policy and enforced
appropriately.
6. Ensure that external boundary protection is in place
around the perimeter of the building or buildings of
the agency.
To prevent malicious physical access to an
organization’s information system infrastructure,
the external boundaries should be secured
through means such as a fence or locked doors.
7. Deploy physical access controls to the building and
other secure areas (e.g., photo ID, card badge
readers).
Identification badges or physical access cards
should be deployed to ensure that only authorized
personnel have physical access to a facility.
8. Make sure that handheld and small Bluetooth
devices are protected from theft.
The organization and its employees should be
responsible for its wireless technology
components because theft of those components
could lead to malicious activities against the
organization’s information system resource.
9. Make sure that Bluetooth devices are turned off
during all hours when they are not used.
Shutting down Bluetooth devices when not in use
minimizes exposure to potential malicious
activities.
10. Take a complete inventory of all Bluetooth-enabled
wireless devices.
A complete inventory list of Bluetooth-enabled
wireless devices can be referenced when
conducting an audit that searches for
unauthorized use of wireless technologies.
11. Study and understand all planned Bluetooth-enabled
devices to understand the security implications.
An understanding of the security implications of
Bluetooth will help the organization better address
the associated risks.
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Security Recommendation Security Need, Requirement, or Justification
12. Change the default settings of the Bluetooth device
to reflect the agency’s security policy.
Because default settings are generally not secure,
a careful review of those settings should be
performed to ensure that they are in compliance
with the company security policy.
13. Set Bluetooth devices to the lowest necessary and
sufficient power level so that transmissions remain
within the secure perimeter of the agency.
Setting Bluetooth devices to the lowest necessary
and sufficient power level ensures a secure range
of access to authorized users.
14. Ensure that the Bluetooth “bonding” environment is
secure from eavesdroppers (i.e., the environment
has been visually inspected for possible adversaries
before the initialization procedures during which key
exchanges occur).
The key exchange is a vital security function and
requires that users maintain a security awareness
of possible eavesdroppers.
15. Choose PIN codes that are sufficiently random and
avoid all weak PINs.
PIN codes should be random so that it would not
be easily guessed by malicious users.
16. Choose PIN codes that are sufficiently long
(maximal length if possible).
PIN codes with maximum lengths of 16 bytes
make them more resistant to brute force attacks.
17. Ensure that no Bluetooth device is defaulting to the
zero PIN.
Bluetooth devices defaulting to the zero PIN (e.g.,
0000) essentially provide no security.
18. Configure Bluetooth devices to delete PINs after
initialization, to ensure that PIN entry is required
every time and that PINs are not stored in memory
after power removal.
Requiring PIN entry after re-initialization prevents
the possibility of a PIN being recovered from the
memory of a stolen device.
19. Use an alternative protocol for the exchange of PIN
codes, e.g., the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange or
Certificate-based key exchange methods at the
application layer. Use of such processes simplifies
the generation and distribution of longer PIN codes.
The overhead associated with key exchange can
be minimized by using an alternative protocol
such as the Diffie-Hellman or certificate-based key
exchange.
20. Ensure that combination keys are used instead of
unit keys.
The use of shared unit keys can lead to
successful man-in-the-middle attacks.
21. Invoke link encryption for all Bluetooth connections
regardless of how needless encryption may seem
(i.e., no Security Mode 1).
Link encryption should be used to secure all data
transmissions during a Bluetooth connection.
22. Make sure that encryption is enabled on every link in
the communication chain.
Every link should be secured because one
unsecured link results in compromising the entire
communication chain.
23. Use Security Mode 2 in controlled and wellunderstood
environments.
Security Mode 2 provides authorized access to
services.
24. Ensure device mutual authentication for all
accesses.
Mutual authentication is required to provide
verification that all users and the network are
legitimate.
25. Enable encryption for all broadcast transmissions
(Encryption Mode 3).
Broadcast transmissions secured by link
encryption provide a layer of security that protects
these transmissions from user interception for
malicious purposes.
26. Configure encryption key sizes to the maximum
allowable.
Using maximum allowable key sizes provides
protection from brute force attacks.
27. Establish a “minimum key size” for any key
negotiation process.
Establishing minimum key sizes ensures that all
keys are long enough to be resistant to brute force
attacks.
28. Ensure that portable devices with Bluetooth
interfaces are configured with passwords to prevent
unauthorized access if lost or stolen.
Authenticating users to a portable Bluetooth
device is a good security practice in the event the
device is stolen, which provides a layer of
protection for an organization’s Bluetooth network.
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Security Recommendation Security Need, Requirement, or Justification
29. Use application-level (on top of the Bluetooth stack)
encryption and authentication for highly sensitive
data communication. For example, an IPsec-based
Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology can be
used for highly sensitive transactions.
Application-level encryption and authentication
provide security on top of the Bluetooth link
encryption; the overlay increases the security of
communication.
30. Use smart card technology in the Bluetooth network
to provide key management.
The use of smart card technology can simplify the
distribution and management of keys while
maintaining strong security.
31. Install antivirus software on intelligent, Bluetoothenabled
hosts.
Antivirus software should be installed on a
Bluetooth-enabled host to insure that known
worms and viruses are not introduced to the
Bluetooth network.
32. Fully test and deploy software Bluetooth patches
and upgrades on a regular basis.
Newly discovered security vulnerabilities of vendor
products should be patched to prevent malicious
and inadvertent exploits. Patches should be fully
tested before implementation to ensure that they
work.
33. Deploy user authentication such as biometrics,
smart cards, two-factor authentication, or PKI.
Implementing strong authentication mechanisms
can minimize the vulnerabilities associated with
passwords and PINs.
34. Deploy intrusion detection agents on the wireless
part of the network to detect suspicious behavior or
unauthorized access and activity.
Intrusion detection agents (e.g., host-based or
network-based agents) deployed on the wireless
network can detect and respond to potential
malicious activities.
35. Fully understand the impacts of deploying any
security feature or product prior to deployment.
To ensure a successful deployment, an
organization should fully understand the technical,
security, operational, and personnel requirements
prior to implementation.
36. Designate an individual to track the progress of
Bluetooth security products and standards (perhaps
via Bluetooth SIG) and the threats and
vulnerabilities with the technology.
An appointed individual designated to track the
latest technology enhancements, standards
(perhaps via Bluetooth SIG), and risks will help to
ensure the continued secure use of Bluetooth.
37. Wait until future releases of Bluetooth technology
incorporate fixes to the security features or offer
enhanced security features.
Upgrade to the latest versions and avoid
purchasing the versions of the Bluetooth products
with major security vulnerabilities that have not
been fixed.
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5. Wireless Handheld Devices
Section 5 covers text-messaging devices, PDAs, and smart phone—PDA products because these are the
devices most commonly used by the mobile work force in a business environment. This section describes
the security threats and vulnerabilities associated with these devices and also recommends
countermeasures that help mitigate the risks they introduce. However, network administrators can apply
many of the security measures and recommendations discussed below to wireless handheld devices that
are not covered in this section.
5.1 Wireless Handheld Device Overview
Wireless handheld devices range from simple one- and two-way text messaging devices to Internetenabled
PDAs, tablets, and smart phones. These devices are no longer viewed as coveted gadgets for
early technology adopters. Instead they have become indispensable tools and competitive business
advantages for the mobile work force. The use of these devices introduces new security risks to an
agency’s existing network. Moreover, as these devices begin having their own IP addresses, the devices
themselves can become the targets of attacks. Handheld devices have different capabilities and different
uses from those of desktop and laptop computers. The differences between handheld devices and desktop
and laptop computers that affect the agency’s security are summarized below.
! The small size, relatively low cost, and constant mobility of handheld devices make them more likely
to be stolen, misplaced, or lost.
! Physical security controls that protect desktop computers do not offer the same protection for
handheld devices. Security guards are more likely to check the contents of a laptop carrying case or
check the laptop itself for proper identification than to physically search people for handheld devices.
A thief can more easily conceal a handheld device than a laptop or desktop computer.
! The devices themselves have limited computing power, memory, and peripherals that make existing
desktop security countermeasures impractical for handheld devices. Limited processing power, for
example, may render encryption with long key lengths too time-consuming.
! Synchronization software allows PCs to back up and mirror data stored on a handheld device and
allows the handheld device to mirror data stored on desktop applications. The PC and the handheld
device face different threats and require different security mechanisms to mitigate risk, but both must
provide the same level of security to protect sensitive information.
! Members of an organization often purchase and use handheld devices without consulting with or
notifying the organization’s network administrator. Wireless handheld devices are often used for both
personal and business data. Users that purchase these devices on their own often do not consider the
security implications of their use in the work environment.
! Handheld devices offer multiple APs such as the user interface, expansion modules, wireless
modems, Bluetooth, IR ports, and 802.11 connectivity. These access points present new risks that
must be addressed separately from an existing wired network.
! Many users have limited security awareness or training with the use of handheld devices and are not
familiar with the potential security risks introduced by these devices.
! Handheld device users can download a number of productivity programs, connectivity programs,
games, and utilities—including freeware and shareware programs—from untrusted sources. The
programs can be easily installed without network administrators being notified. These programs may
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contain Trojan horses or other “malware” that can affect the user’s handheld device, PC, or other
network resources.
! There are few, if any, auditing capabilities or security tools available for many of these devices. In
some cases, neither the user nor the administrator can audit security-relevant events related to the use
of these devices. However, as networked PDAs become more affordable and more popular, vendors
are beginning to offer more stand-alone and enterprise security solutions.
! Users often subscribe to third-party Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP) and access the
Internet through wireless modems. Users can download or upload data to and from other computers
without complying with the organization’s firewall policy.
! There are several new handheld operating systems and applications that have not been thoroughly
tested by the market to expose potential vulnerabilities.
! Handheld devices have a number of communication ports from which they can send and receive data,
but they have limited capabilities in authenticating the devices with which they exchange data.
5.2 Benefits
One- and two-way text messaging systems have become popular for keeping in touch with colleagues and
friends while traveling. They are light, inexpensive, easy to use, reliable, and text-messaging services are
widely available. The pager was the first, commercially successful one-way text messaging system. Twoway
text messaging systems, which have become a popular way to send and receive e-mail, excel at
providing a reliable and inexpensive way to communicate, but they do not support any other office
productivity applications. Many users prefer text-messaging to telephone calls because it allows for
asynchronous communication, provides an electronic copy of the communication, costs less, requires no
dial-up connection, fosters brevity, and allows users to communicate in public places without having their
conversations overheard.
PDAs were first introduced to the market in the 1980s as handheld or palm-size computers that served as
organizers for personal information and are gradually replacing the traditional leather-bound organizer.
PDAs provide users with office productivity tools for accessing e-mail, agency network resources, and the
Internet. These capabilities are quickly becoming a necessity in today’s business environment. In addition,
data that users have entered into their PDAs can be synchronized with a PC. Synchronization allows users
to easily back up the information on their PDA and transfer data from the PC to the PDA. PDAs can also
conveniently transfer data to other handheld devices by sending, or “beaming,” the information through
IR ports. The most common operating systems for PDAs are the Palm OS, PocketPC, Linux, and
Symbian EPOC. This section provides general recommendations for network administrators that can be
applied to all handheld devices using these or other operating systems.
Although text-messaging devices and PDAs can help improve the efficiency of a mobile workforce,
certain situations require a voice conversation between two or more parties to accurately and quickly
convey certain information in the right context. As the emerging mobile and networked workforce began
carrying laptops and fumbling with PDAs and cell phones at the same time, handheld device
manufacturers began responding by introducing devices that combine a PDA and a cell phone on the
same device. These devices are referred to as smart phones. Smart phones incorporate the capabilities of a
typical PDA and a digital cellular telephone that provides voice service as well as e-mail, text messaging,
Web access, and voice recognition. Many smart phones are available that can run programming languages
such as C or Java and offer telephony application programming interfaces (API) that allow third-party
developers to build new productivity tools to help the mobile work force. Cell phone security has
primarily focused on protecting carriers from fraudulent charges and users from eavesdropping. Typical
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cell phones use simplified operating systems that have no information-processing capabilities and
therefore present few information security risks. Smart phones, however, have more sophisticated
operating systems capable of running applications and supporting network connectivity with other
computing devices. This section focuses on the security risks introduced by the information-processing
and networking capabilities of smart phones. This section does not address the underlying security of
TDMA, CDMA, GSM, or GPRS protocols.
5.3 Security Requirements and Threats
Although handheld devices have not generally been viewed as posing security threats, their increased
computing power and the ease with which they can access networks and exchange data with other
handheld devices introduce new security risks to an agency’s computing environment. As handheld
devices begin supporting more networking capabilities, network administrators must carefully assess the
risks they introduce into their existing computing environment. This section describes how the security
requirements for confidentiality, integrity, authenticity, and availability for handheld device computing
environments can be threatened.
5.3.1 Loss of Confidentiality
Information stored on handheld devices and on handheld device storage modules and mirrored on a PC
must remain confidential and be protected from unauthorized disclosure. The confidentiality of
information can be compromised while on the handheld device, the storage module, or the PC or while
being sent over one of the Bluetooth, 802.11, IR, USB, or serial communication ports. Moreover, most
handheld devices are shipped with connectivity that is enabled by default. These default configurations
are typically not in the most secure setting and should be changed to match the agency’s security policy
before being used.
PDAs can beam information from an IR port to another PDA IR port to easily exchange contact
information such as telephone numbers and mailing addresses. This capability is a useful feature, but
some concerns might arise about the data being transmitted. The data is unencrypted, and any user who is
in close proximity to the handheld device and has the device pointed in the right direction can intercept
and read the data. This is known as data leakage. Users familiar with PDA beaming should recognize that
they often must have the PDA within a few inches of the other device and also make an effort to align the
ports properly. The probability of data leakage occurring without the victim’s knowledge is relatively low
because it requires the intercepting device to be within a few feet and often within a few inches.
Nonetheless, agencies should not overlook the threat because it could result in a compromise of sensitive
information. No attack has been documented of a malicious user being able to pull information out of an
IR port because the IR beaming protocol can only issue a request to send information that must be
approved by the device user before the information is sent. There is no equivalent request to receive
information. However, a Bluetooth device that is not configured properly is susceptible to having a user
with a Bluetooth-enabled device pull data from the device. An 802.11-enabled device with an insecure
P2P setting may also expose data to another 802.11-enabled device.
The ability of either the handheld device or the PC to initiate synchronization presents additional risks. A
rogue compromised handheld device may attempt to synchronize with a PC; alternatively, a compromised
PC may try to synchronize with a PDA. This type of attack is often referred to as “hijacking” and relies
on hijacking software that is available today.48 A malicious user could obtain personal or organizational
data, depending on what is stored on the PDA or PC. For this type of attack to be successful, either the PC
48 See “A Whole New World for the 21st Century,” March 2001, at http://www.sans.org.
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or the handheld device has been compromised, or a malicious user has been able to create a rogue
handheld device or PC and gain access to the user’s network.
PDAs can also remotely synchronize with a networked PC using dial-up connections, dialing either
directly to a corporate facility or through a WISP. The modems allow users to dial into an access server at
their office or use a third-party WISP. Dial-up capability, however, also introduces risks. Dialing into a
corporate facility requires a handheld device synchronization server; otherwise, the remote PDA must
derive synchronization service by connecting to a PC that is logged on using the remote client’s ID and
password. If the PC is not at least configured with a password-protected screensaver, it is left vulnerable
to anyone with physical access to the PC. Moreover, since the WISP is an untrusted network, establishing
a remote connection requires additional security mechanisms to ensure a secure connection. The PDA
would require a VPN client and a supporting corporate system to create a secure tunnel through the WISP
to the agency. Modem-enabled PDAs are still relatively new, and an agency may not have the security
services in place to support them. Agencies may want to restrict their use until they have either adapted
their existing VPN capabilities or put the required services in place.
Another means for synchronizing data is through an Ethernet connection. Users can synchronize data
from any networked work space. The data that crosses the network is as secure as the network itself and
may be susceptible to network traffic analyzers or sniffers. PDA users can also synchronize through their
agency’s wireless network. This entails accessing the agency’s 802.11-compliant APs to connect to the
agency’s wired network. Many PDA vendors support or are beginning to support VPN connections using
802.11 APs.
Analog phones using first generation (1G) technologies are more susceptible to eavesdropping than are
digital cell phones. Individuals or organizations can intercept unencrypted analog cell phone transmission
using simple radio scanners. In contrast, many digital phones have built-in security through spread
spectrum technologies that use pseudo-random code sequences and forms of encryption. However, when
digital phones are roaming (i.e., using other service providers), they frequently must connect to analog
networks for coverage. When this connection occurs, the digital device becomes as vulnerable as the
analog phone. Digital cellular telephones may also be vulnerable to eavesdropping, but the equipment
required to eavesdrop on a digital cellular telephone is much more expensive. TDMA and GSM offer
built-in encryption, but its use is at the discretion of the cellular service provider.
Smart phones can support wireless location services by using an on-board GPS integrated circuit or by
having service providers analyze the cell phone signal received at cellular antenna sites.49 GPS-enabled
phones can identify the phone’s location to within a few meters and also relay position information. Thus,
in the case of emergency, a user who may be injured or threatened can relay his location to the proper
authorities. These devices are subject to security threats associated with networked computing devices but
also have a new set of privacy concerns as the user’s location can be disclosed to third parties. Advertisers
and other service providers would like to access user location information through agreements with the
cellular telephone provider. Users should carefully read cellular phone companies’ privacy policies and
opt out of any unwanted wireless location services.
Security officers and administrators must also be aware of the threats posed by visitors carrying handheld
devices. Many wireless sniffing tools run on handheld devices that can be used by malicious users to help
them gather information that might be useful in a future attack. Moreover, many handheld devices come
equipped with audio and video recording capabilities that can be used to record sensitive conversations or
records images of people or facilities. As the handheld devices become smaller and more capable, some
49 GPS is a Department of Defense (DoD) system of 24 satellites that provides positioning for a receiving unit through
triangulation of three satellites’ signals.
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agencies should consider not allowing users to bring handheld devices into their facilities if they pose a
potential security risk.
5.3.2 Loss of Integrity
The integrity of the information on the handheld device and the integrity of the handheld device
hardware, applications, and underlying operating system are also security concerns. Information stored
on, and software and hardware used by, the handheld device must be protected from unauthorized,
unanticipated, or unintentional modification. Information integrity requires that a third party be able to
verify that the content of a message has not been changed in transit and that the origin or the receipt of a
specific message be verifiable by a third party. Moreover, users must be accountable and uniquely
identifiable. The integrity of the information can be compromised while in transit or while stored on the
handheld device or add-on storage modules. The integrity of the handheld hardware must be protected
against the insertion or replacement of critical read-only memory (ROM) or other integrated circuits or
upgradeable hardware. Handheld applications must be ensured to protect against the installation of
software from unauthorized sources that may contain malware. The integrity of add-on modules must be
ensured to protect the handheld device from rogue hardware add-on modules.
5.3.3 Loss of Availability
The purpose of a DoS attack is to make computational or network resources unavailable or to severely
limit their availability by consuming their resources with an inordinate amount of service requests. DoS
attacks are typically associated with networked devices with fixed IP addresses for attackers to target.
Most handheld devices access the Internet intermittently and do not have fixed IP addresses, but as
networking technologies become more widespread, “always-on” connectivity will be commonplace
within the next few years. As a result, many handheld devices already support the use of personal
firewalls to protect themselves against certain DoS attacks and other types of attacks.
Handheld devices can also be the targets of DoS attacks through other means. Trojan horses, worms,
viruses, and other malware can affect the availability of a network and, in many instances, also
compromise the network’s confidentiality and integrity.50 A virus that, for example, sends documents
from a user’s PC to e-mail addresses found in the user’s electronic address book can burden the network
with a flood of e-mails, send out confidential information, and even alter the information sent, all while
giving the appearance that it was intentionally sent from the user’s account. Viruses have not been widely
considered a security threat in PDAs because of the PDA’s limited memory and processing power.
Moreover, users typically synchronize their data with their PCs, and they can recover any lost or
corrupted data simply by synchronizing with their PCs. Consequently, even a virus such as the Liberty
Crack, which wipes out data on a PDA, has not been considered a serious threat.51 PDA antivirus
protection programs have only been on the market for a few years, and most PDAs do not have antivirus
protection either because they do not support networking or the software simply has not been installed.
However, a virus on a handheld device could contain a payload designed to compromise a desktop PC,
which in turn could directly affect the local network. As PDAs become more powerful, malicious users
will develop viruses designed to achieve more harmful results. PDAs that share the same operating
system as a PC may be particularly susceptible to a new strain of viruses. Although offering users
additional benefits of sharing documents developed using the same applications, the common operating
systems may invite new security threats. With both of the devices running the same applications, the
methods for the virus to launch its attack and spread to other parts of the network increase.
50 See SP 800-28, Guidelines on Active Content and Mobile Code, October 2001, for more information on malware.
51 See PDA/Wireless Communication Pains, November 17, 2000, at http://www.sans.org.
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Smart phones may lose network connectivity not only when they travel outside a cell coverage area but
also when cell phone jammers are used. Many restaurants and movie theaters, for example, now use
commercially available jammers to block cell phone communications often without notifying the cell
phone users. Users expecting important messages are not able to receive those messages because the
jammers block them from accessing network resources. Malicious users may also use cell phone jamming
devices. Jamming devices can carry out these attacks by broadcasting transmissions on cellular
frequencies that nullify the actual cellular tower transmissions. The jammed cell phone will not be able to
communicate unless other means of communications are available on the phone or in that region (e.g., a
dual-band cell phone that can operate at different frequencies and also operate on an analog signal).
Cell phones, smart phones, and text pagers are able to send text messages, from 110 to 160 characters in
length depending on the carrier, to other cell phones by using Short Message Service (SMS). To send and
receive SMS text messages, phone users usually have to pay a monthly fee to their service provider or a
small fee for each text message beyond a preset monthly limit. Text messages can also be sent from a
cellular service provider’s Web page, by visiting Web sites that allow users to send text messages free of
charge from e-mail applications. Text-messages rely on the service provider’s network and are not
encrypted, and no guarantees exist on quality of service. Cell phones and text-messaging devices can be
spammed with text messages until their mailbox is full, and the user is no longer able to receive new text
messages unless previously stored e-mails are deleted.
As 3G development progresses and 3G phones become more prevalent, agencies will need to be aware of
the security issues that arise. One potential security issue is that a 3G mobile device, when connected to
an IP network, is in the “always-on” mode. This mode alleviates the need for the device to authenticate
itself each time a network request is made. However, the continuous connection also makes the device
susceptible to attack. Moreover, because the device is always on, the opportunity exists to track users’
activities, and this may violate their privacy.
5.4 Risk Mitigation
As the use of handheld devices increases and technology improves, attacks can be expected to become
more sophisticated. To control and even reduce the security risks identified above, agencies need to
implement management, operational, and technical countermeasures to safeguard handheld devices and
the agency’s networks.
5.4.1 Management Countermeasures
Information security officers and network administrators should conduct a risk assessment before
handheld devices are introduced into the agency’s computing environment. The agency should educate
the users about the proper use of their handheld devices and the security risks introduced by their use by
providing short training courses or educational materials to help users use these devices more
productively and more securely. Moreover, network administrators should establish and document
security policies that address their use and the users’ responsibilities.52, The policy document should
include the approved uses, the type of information that the devices may store, software programs they can
install, how to store the devices and associated modules when not in use, proper password selection and
use, how to report a lost or stolen PDA, and any disciplinary actions that may result from misuse.
Agencies should also perform random audits to track whether devices have been lost or stolen.
52 See SP 800-30, Risk Management Guide for Information Technology Systems, January 2002, at
http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/index.html.
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5.4.2 Operational Countermeasures
Operational countermeasures require handheld device users to exercise due diligence in protecting the
handheld devices and the networks they access from unnecessary risks. Most operational countermeasures
are common sense procedures that require voluntary compliance by the users. Operational
countermeasures are intended to minimize the risk associated with the use of handheld devices by wellintentioned
users. Although a determined malicious user can find ways to intentionally disclose
information to unauthorized sources, the handheld security policy and the agency’s operational
countermeasures should make clear the user’s responsibilities.
The back of the PDA device should always be labeled with the owning agency’s name, address, and
phone number in case it is lost. Handheld device users should be provided with a secure area to store the
device when not in use. A desk with drawers that lock or a file cabinet with locks are available in most
offices and should provide sufficient physical security against theft from within the office environment.
Galvanized steel cables and locks are also available to secure handheld devices to the user’s desktop if
other physical controls are not available. Although these measures cannot ensure that a determined thief
will not cut these cables or locks, it does prevent an opportunistic thief from walking away with an
unattended handheld device. While on travel, room safes should be used, if available, to store handheld
devices when not in use.
Security administrators should have a list of authorized handheld device users, to enable them to perform
periodic inventory checks and security audits. Individuals that use their handheld devices for other than
business uses should comply with the agency’s security policy or be restricted from accessing the
agency’s network. Handheld devices should be distributed to the users with security settings that comply
with the agency’s security policy and should not be distributed with “out-of-the-box” default settings. A
configuration management policy should be established. Such a policy frees security administrators from
having to focus on many different configurations and allows them to concentrate on the configurations
that have been adopted for the agency. Handheld devices should have a PIN code or password to access
the device. Some handheld devices already use voice authentication for authenticating users to the device
or to network resources. Voice authentication should be coupled with password authentication. A number
of security tools are currently available to help mitigate the risks related to the use of PDAs, including
password auditing, recovery/restoration, and vulnerability tools.53
In general, users should not store sensitive information on handheld devices. However, if sensitive
information is stored on the handheld device, users should be encouraged to delete sensitive information
when no longer needed. This information can be archived on the PC during synchronization and
transferred back to the PDA when needed. Users can disable IR ports during periods of nonuse to deter
them from leaking information from their handheld devices. Users with access to sensitive information
should have approval from their management and network security administrators before storing sensitive
information on their handheld device to ensure they have the appropriate security countermeasures in
place.
Some handheld devices allow users to mark certain records as “private” and hide them unless the device
password is entered. Thus, if a malicious user gained access to an unattended device without knowledge
of the device password, that malicious user would not be able to see the private data. Depending on the
underlying operating system, however, some of these private data fields can be read directly from
memory.
53 See “Research Tools” at http://www.atstake.com.
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5.4.3 Technical Countermeasures
This section describes technical countermeasures for securing wireless handheld devices. Technical
countermeasures should address the security risks identified during the risk assessment and should ensure
that the agency’s security policy is being enforced. As noted in the 802.11 and Bluetooth sections,
hardware solutions, which generally have software components, are listed simply as hardware solutions.
5.4.3.1 Authentication
Identification and authentication (I&A) form the process of recognizing and verifying valid users,
processes, or devices. Handheld device users must be able to authenticate themselves to the handheld
device by providing a password, a token, or both. At the most basic level, agencies should require PDAs
to be password protected. Security administrators should educate users on the selection of strong
passwords. Password-cracking tools for handheld devices are available for network administrators and
users to audit their PC’s synchronization application password.54 Password protection is already included
with most handheld devices, but is usually not enabled in the default setting. Several Web sites offer
software that prompts a user to enter a password when the user has turned the PDA off and turned it back
on again.55 Users should be prompted for a password when accessing the handheld device or the desktop
PC synchronization software.
Biometric user authentication technologies are also available for handheld devices. Fingerprint readers
can be attached to the handheld devices through a serial or USB port and can be set to lock the whole
device, to lock an individual application, or to connect to a remote database over a network or dial-up
connection. Tamper-proof smart cards, which contain unique user identifying information such as a
private key, can also be used to authenticate the user to the device. Users insert the smart card into a
peripheral slot on the device and provide a password to authenticate themselves. Malicious users must
have possession of the smart card and knowledge of the user’s password to gain access to the device.
Unique device identifiers, when available, can be used as part of an authorization mechanism to
authenticate and provide network access to a handheld device. Handheld devices can take advantage of
several methods to identify a unique handheld device, including flash ID, device ID, and Electronic Serial
Number (ESN). Unique device identifiers can be used to authenticate the handheld device for network
access or allow the handheld device itself to be used as a physical token for two-factor authentication.
Although it might be possible for an unauthorized user to copy the shape of a signature, many
handwriting recognition programs measure aspects that are more difficult to copy, such as the rhythm and
timing of the signature. The user can select a password to write instead of a signature, which is more
widely available on paper documents distributed in the normal course of business.
5.4.3.2 Encryption
Some files on the device may require a higher level of security than password protection can offer. For
example, user passwords are required to access all sorts of automated services in our everyday lives.
During the course of a single day, a user may need to use passwords to withdraw money from an
automatic teller machine (ATM), to enter a building by typing an access code, to listen to voice mail, to
browse favorite Web sites, to purchase goods online, to access online trading accounts, to make a phone
call using a calling card, and to access personal and business e-mail accounts. Using the same password to
54 See http://www.atstake.com/research/tools/index.html for PDA security assessment tools.
55 The following Web sites offer PDA software tools: http://www.pdacentral.com; http://www.tucows.com; http://www.download.com.
Vendors, for example, Palm (www.palm.com/software) and Microsoft
(www.microsoft.com/mobile/pocketpc/downloads/default.asp), also offer software tools for their specific products.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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access different services is discouraged because if this single password were compromised, an
unauthorized user would be able to access all of the user’s accounts. However, many PDA users store
many of these passwords in a file on the PDA, possibly even naming the file “mypasswords.” Once a
single password has been given, other user accounts can be identified through various means ranging
from dumpster diving to simply reviewing a user’s Web browser history file. Encryption software can be
used to protect the confidentiality of sensitive information stored on handheld devices and mirrored on the
desktop PC. The information on add-on backup storage modules should also be encrypted and the
modules securely stored when not in use. This additional level of security can be added to provide an
extra layer of defense to further protect sensitive information stored on handheld devices. Many software
programs are freely available to help users encrypt these types of files for an added layer of security.
However, if the data is sensitive, the encryption implementation should be FIPS140-2 validated.
Encrypting the file protects it from brute-force password guessing if the file falls into the wrong hands.
Handheld device users may elect to encrypt files and messages before the files and messages are
transferred through a wireless port.
Smart phones use digital technologies to deter unencrypted voice traffic from being intercepted. FEC
(Forward Error Correction) coding and spread-spectrum techniques add more robust communication error
protection and complexity. Agencies should upgrade their analog phones to digital smart phones that offer
more capabilities at the application level (e.g., Web browsing, networking) and the ability to use more
security mechanisms with those applications.
5.4.3.3 Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is another important security measure for handheld devices.56 All agencies, regardless
of their security requirements, should incorporate PDA antivirus applications to scan e-mail and data files
and to remove malware from files upon transmission to the device. The software should scan all entry
ports (i.e., beaming, synchronizing, e-mail, and Internet downloading) as data is imported into the device,
provide online signature update capabilities, and prompt the user before it deletes any suspicious files.
The agency should further require regular updates to the antivirus software and require associated
workstations (i.e., the PCs with which users synchronize their PDAs) to have current, properly working
virus-scanning software. Most major PC antivirus software vendors have handheld device antivirus
software that can be downloaded directly from their Web sites.
5.4.3.4 PKI
Many handheld devices are beginning to offer support for PKI technologies. PKI is one of the best
available methods for meeting confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity security requirements.57 A PKI
uses an asymmetric encryption method, commonly known as the “public/private key” method, for
encrypting and ensuring the integrity of documents and messages. A certificate authority issues digital
certificates that authenticate the claimed identity of people and organizations over a public network such
as the Internet. The PKI also establishes the encryption algorithms, levels of security, and the key
distribution policy for users. PKI support is often integrated into common applications such as Web
browsers and e-mail programs by validating certificates and signed messages. The PKI can also be
implemented by an organization for its own use to authenticate users that handle sensitive information.
The use of PKI counters many threats associated with public networks but also introduces management
overhead and additional hardware and software costs that should be evaluated while performing the risk
assessment and selecting the appropriate countermeasures to meet the agency’s security requirements. If
PKI has already been deployed to provide security services in the wired network of an agency, users
56 See http://csrc.nist.gov/virus/ for useful links for more information on viruses.
57 See SP 800-32, Introduction to Public Key Technology and the Federal PKI Infrastructure, February 2001, at
http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/index.html.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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should be provided a separate and distinct public/private key pair for use on PDAs. This will prevent
compromise of the enterprise data in the event of a lost or stolen PDA.
5.4.3.5 VPN and Firewalls
Organizations in a wide variety of industries are using handheld devices for remote access to patient
records, merchandise inventory, and shipping logistics. Secure remote access for desktop and laptop
computers has been successfully enabled by the use of firewalls and VPN over the last few years.58
Handheld devices are beginning to offer support for personal firewalls and VPN technologies and to offer
network administrators effective countermeasures against threats to the confidentiality, integrity, and
authenticity of the information being transferred. A packet filter firewall, for example, screens Internet
traffic based on packet header information such as the type of application (e-mail, ftp, Web, etc.) and by
the service port number. A VPN creates a virtual private network between the handheld device and the
organization’s network by sharing the public network infrastructure. VPN technology offers the security
of a private network through access control and encryption, while taking advantage of the economies of
scale and built-in management facilities of large public networks. Network administrators should look for
the following features when purchasing VPN technologies: interoperability with existing infrastructure,
support for wireless and dial-up networking, packet-filtering or stateful-inspection firewall, automatic
security updates, and a centralized management console.
5.4.3.6 Enterprise Solutions
Enterprise handheld device management software allows network administrators to discover handheld
devices, install and remove applications, back up and restore data, collect inventory information,
synchronize data with corporate servers and databases, and perform various configuration management
functions from a central location. Enterprise security solutions have been introduced that allow the
organization to set policies on all handheld devices under the organization’s control. Some of the options
that are available include defining the type of encryption to use, which application databases to encrypt,
password protection, and port protection.
5.4.3.7 Miscellaneous
Third-party developers have introduced a number of security tools to help protect handheld devices.
These security tools are fairly inexpensive and typically offer simple yet practical security
countermeasures to protect against malicious users that are more likely to steal the device than to crack an
encrypted file or eavesdrop on their wireless communications. Some of these security tools delete
applications and their data after a preset number of unsuccessful login attempts. Authorized users simply
have to resynchronize the PDA with their PCs to recover the deleted information. This countermeasure is
particularly effective and applicable in instances where PDAs are holding sensitive information. Users
must be cautioned that all data entered on the PDA since the last synchronization will be lost. A malicious
user could purposely enter several incorrect passwords to delete the data on an unattended handheld
device, but this risk can be mitigated by frequent synchronization with the user’s PC. Another simple
security tool is to add an application that auto-locks the PDA after it is idle for a selected period of time.
The user can usually set this time-out period. This solution mitigates risks that arise when users leave
PDAs unattended. Users simply enter a password to regain access to the PDA. This solution is similar to a
screen saver password for a desktop PC.
58 See Special Publication 800-46, Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications, at
http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/index.html.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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5.5 Case Study: PDAs in the Workplace
Agency C is considering purchasing PDAs for its 150 employees. Before making a decision to purchase
the PDAs, the computer security department performs a risk assessment. A canvas of user attitudes
reveals that most of the agency’s users do not appreciate the implications of losing a PDA and the loss of
sensitive agency data. The network administrators test the devices and set up a one-hour training course
for the employees that will be using the PDAs. During the training course, the users are given the security
policy and documentation explaining the security risks associated with the devices. The security team also
recommends instituting security policies that address the appropriate uses of PDAs, the use of random
inventory and security audits, and the users’ responsibilities and liabilities. The security policy specifies
the type of information that users can store on the PDA, proper handling of PDAs, password requirements
(e.g., frequency of change, minimum character length), procedures for reporting a lost or stolen PDA, and
any disciplinary actions that may result from misuse.
The security department completes its risk assessment and cautions that even though it has done a
thorough analysis of the PDAs, risks still exist with the fast pace of PDA evolution and the likelihood that
malicious users will try to exploit any new or existing vulnerability. Agency C determines that the
operational benefits outweigh the residual risks of the PDAs and moves forward with the purchase.
Agency C considers the protection of sensitive information paramount. Encryption software is used to
encrypt database files stored on the PC and the PDA. Users are encouraged to synchronize their handheld
devices every other day; consequently, Agency C does not purchase backup storage modules. The
security department realizes that IR beaming has important benefits and decides not to prohibit IR
beaming completely. However, it does recommend that users keep IR ports closed during periods of
nonuse. The employees also need to update the agency’s database from the field and to access their email.
It is decided that access to corporate resources will be through a VPN.
Before issuing the PDAs to its employees, the security department ensures that the default settings of the
Bluetooth cards are changed to comply with the agency’s security policy. The security team upgrades its
existing antivirus software to allow it to screen data being transferred to the PC during synchronization.
The security team also installs software that automatically prompts the users to enter a password to access
the device after 5 minutes of inactivity on all the PDAs. The security team labels the devices and issues
them to users with the proper security settings. The security team performs regular audits and follows
vendor sites and security mailing lists for security news about handheld devices and applications.
5.6 Wireless Handheld Device Security Checklist
Table 5-1 provides a security checklist for PDAs and smart phones. The table presents guidelines and
recommendations for creating and maintaining a secure environment that uses these handheld devices.
For each recommendation or guideline, three columns are provided. The first column, the Best Practice
column, if checked, means that the entry represents something recommended for all agencies. The second
column, the “Should Consider” column, if checked, means that the recommendation is something that an
agency should carefully consider for three reasons. First, implementing the recommendation may provide
a higher level of security for the wireless environment by offering some sort of additional protection.
Second, the recommendation supports a defense-in-depth strategy. Third, it may have significant
performance, operational, or cost impacts. In summary, if the “Should Consider” column is checked,
agencies need to carefully consider the option and weigh the costs versus the benefits. The last column,
the “Status” column, is intentionally left blank and allows an agency to use this table as a true checklist.
For instance, an individual performing a handheld device security audit can quickly check off each
recommendation for the agency wireless environment, asking, “Have I done this?”
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Table 5-1. Wireless Handheld Device Security Checklist
Checklist
Security Recommendation Best
Practice
Should
Consider
Status
Management Control
1. Develop an agency security policy that addresses the use of all
handheld devices.
!
2. Ensure that users on the network are fully trained in computer security
awareness and the risks associated with handheld devices.
!
3. Perform a risk assessment to understand the value of the assets in the
agency that need protection.
!
4. Conduct ongoing, random security audits to monitor and track devices. !
5. Ensure that external physical boundary protection is in place around the
perimeter of the building or buildings of the agency.
!
6. Deploy physical access controls to the building and other secure areas
(e.g., photo ID, card badge readers).
!
7. Minimize the risk of loss or theft through the use of physical locks and
cables.
!
8. Label all handheld devices with the owner and agency’s information. !
9. Ensure that users know where to report a lost or stolen device. !
10. Ensure that devices are stored securely when left unattended. !
11. Make sure that add-on modules are adequately protected when not in
use to prevent against theft.
!
12. Enable a “power-on” password for each handheld device. !
13. Ensure proper password management (aging, complexity criteria, etc.)
for all handheld devices.
!
14. Ensure that desktop application-mirroring software is passwordprotected.
!
15. Store data on backup storage modules in encrypted form. !
16. Review vendor Web sites frequently for new patches and software
releases.
!
17. Install patches on the affected devices and workstations. !
18. Review security-related mailing lists for the latest security information
and alerts.
!
19. Ensure that all devices have timeout mechanisms that automatically
prompt the user for a password after a period of inactivity.
!
20. Synchronize devices with its corresponding PC regularly. !
21. Avoid placing sensitive information on a handheld device. If necessary
to do so, delete sensitive data from the handheld device and archive it
on the PC when no longer needed on the handheld.
!
22. Turn off communication ports during periods of inactivity when possible. !
23. Install antivirus software on all handheld devices. !
24. Install personal firewall software on all networked handheld devices. !
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Checklist
Security Recommendation Best
Practice
Should
Consider
Status
Technical Control
25. Ensure that PDAs are provided with secure authorization
software/firmware.
!
26. Install VPN software on all handheld devices that transmit data
wirelessly.
!
27. Ensure that a user can be securely authenticated when operating
locally and remotely.
!
28. Use robust encryption and password protection utilities for the
protection of sensitive data files and applications.
!
29. Use enterprise security applications to manage handheld device
security.
!
30. Ensure that security assessment tools are used on handheld devices. !
31. When disposing handheld devices that will no longer be used by the
agency, clear configuration settings to prevent the disclosure of
sensitive network information.
!
5.7 Handheld Device Risk and Security Summary
Table 5.2 lists security recommendations for handheld devices. For each recommendation, narrative is
provided that addresses the security need, requirements or justification for that rcommendation.
Table 5-2. Handheld Device Security Summary
Security Recommendation Security Need, Requirement, or Justification
1. Develop an agency security policy that
addresses the use of all handheld devices.
A security policy is the foundation on which other
countermeasures—the operational and technical ones—
are rationalized and implemented. A documented security
policy allows an organization to define acceptable
implementations and uses for handheld devices.
2. Ensure that users on the network are fully
trained in computer security awareness and
the risks associated with handheld devices.
A security awareness program helps users to establish
good security practices in the interest of preventing
inadvertent or malicious intrusions onto an organization’s
automated information system.
3. Perform a risk assessment to understand the
value of the assets in the agency that need
protection.
The risk assessment can help the organization identify
and determine the value of their information system and
data assets, thus allowing the organization to allocate the
appropriate level of resources for protection of those
systems and assets.
4. Conduct ongoing, random security audits to
monitor and track devices.
Security policy enforcement is vital for ensuring that only
authorized handheld wireless devices are operating in
compliance with the organization’s wireless security
policy. Random security audits provide a realistic view of
the security environments.
5. Ensure that external boundary protection is
in place around the perimeter of the building
or buildings of the agency.
To prevent malicious physical access to an organization’s
information system infrastructure, the external boundaries
should be secured through means such as a fence or
locked doors.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Security Recommendation Security Need, Requirement, or Justification
6. Deploy physical access controls to the
building and other secure areas (e.g., photo
ID, card badge readers).
Identification badges or physical access cards should be
deployed to ensure that only authorized personnel have
physical access to a facility.
7. Minimize the risk of loss or theft through the
use of physical locks and cables.
As with any portable device, use physical locks and
cables to minimize the risk of loss or theft.
8. Label all handheld devices with the owner’s
and agency’s information.
As with any portable device, label all handheld devices
with the appropriate owner and agency information.
9. Ensure that users know where to report a
lost or stolen device.
As with any portable device, a label should be on the
device indicating how it can be returned to the rightful
owner.
10. Ensure that devices are stored securely
when left unattended.
Handheld devices should be stowed in locked rooms and
cabinets especially when left unattended for long periods
such as a night.
11. Ensure that add-on modules are adequately
protected when not in use to prevent against
theft.
Add-on modules are sometimes as much a target as the
primary handheld device. So, it too should also be
secured from risk of theft.
12. Enable a “power-on” password for each
handheld device.
Requiring user authentication helps prevent unauthorized
device access and potential theft of data.
13. Ensure proper password management
(aging, complexity criteria, etc.) for all
handheld devices.
Proper password management helps to ensure security of
devices and data contained.
14. Ensure that desktop application mirroring
software is password protected.
Unauthorized access to all handheld components and
related software should be prevented through the use of
passwords and encryption where feasible.
15. Store data on backup storage modules in
encrypted form.
In case the backup storage is stolen, the information
should be stored encrypted.
16. Fully test and deploy software patches and
upgrades regularly.
Newly discovered security vulnerabilities of vendor
products should be patched to prevent malicious and
inadvertent exploits. Patches should also be fully tested
before implementation to ensure that they work.
17. Install patches on the affected devices and
workstations.
Newly discovered security vulnerabilities of vendor
products should be patched to prevent malicious and
inadvertent exploits. Patching peripheral devices and
workstations related to the handheld device will minimize
the risk of attack. Patches should also be fully tested
before implementation to ensure that they work.
18. Review security-related mailing lists for the
latest security information and alerts.
Proactively search reports on newly discovered wireless
handheld risks and vulnerabilities.
19. Ensure that all devices have timeout
mechanisms that automatically prompt the
user for a password after a period of
inactivity.
Time-out mechanisms requiring the user to login after a
period of inactivity should be implemented to protect them
from inadvertent or malicious activities of third-party
users.
20. Synchronize devices with their
corresponding PCs regularly.
Synchronization of handheld devices with their
corresponding PCs ensures data availability.
21. Avoid placing sensitive information on a
handheld device. If necessary to do so,
delete sensitive data from the handheld
device and archive it on the PC when no
longer needed on the handheld.
Because of the portability of handheld devices and greater
threat to loss and theft, sensitive information stored on the
device should be off-loaded to the PC and deleted form
the handheld device, if possible.
22. Turn off communication ports during periods
of inactivity when possible.
Turning off unused communication ports minimizes the
risk of malicious access.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Security Recommendation Security Need, Requirement, or Justification
23. Install antivirus software on all handheld
devices.
Antivirus software ensures that the handheld device does
not introduce known worms and viruses to the wired
network. Also, the handheld device is protected from its
communicating hosts.
24. Install personal firewall software on all
networked handheld devices.
The handheld device is a potential target for malicious
users.
25. Ensure that PDAs are provided with secure
authorization software/firmware.
Only secured authorization software and firmware should
be used with the PDA.
26. Install VPN software on all handheld devices
that transmit data wirelessly.
All wireless communication, if possible, should use strong
cryptography, have robust key management, and have
strong user authentication.
27. Ensure that a user can be securely
authenticated when operating locally or
remotely.
Users should be required to authenticate when operating
locally and remotely.
28. Use robust encryption and password
protection utilities for the protection of
sensitive data files and applications.
Sensitive data and application data files should be
encrypted with the appropriate encryption techniques.
29. Use enterprise security applications to
manage handheld device security.
Handheld devices should also be managed by enterprise
security applications.
30. Ensure that security assessment tools are
used on handheld devices.
Handheld devices should undergo security assessments
to identify security vulnerabilities.
31. When disposing handheld devices that will
no longer be used by the agency, clear
configuration settings to prevent the
disclosure of sensitive network information.
Sensitive or proprietary configuration settings should be
cleared to prevent inadvertent disclosure of the
information to potentially malicious users.
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Appendix A—Common Wireless Frequencies and Applications
EM Band Designation Frequency Range Wireless Device/Application
VLF: Very Low Frequency 9 kHz–30 kHz
LF: Low Frequency 30 kHz–300 kHz
MF: Medium Frequency 300 kHz–3 MHz AM radio stations (535 kHz–1 MHz)
HF: High Frequency 3 MHz – 30 MHz
VHF: Very High Frequency 30 MHz–300 MHz FM radio stations
VHF television stations 7–13, NTSC Standard (174
MHz–220 MHz)
Garage door openers (~40 MHz)
Standard cordless telephones (40 MHz–50 MHz)
Alarm Systems (~40 MHz)
Paging Systems (50 MHz–300 MHz)
UHF: Ultra High Frequency 300 MHz–3 GHz Paging systems (300 MHz–500 MHz)
1G mobile telephones (824 MHz–829 MHz)
2G mobile telephone (800 MHz–900 MHz)
Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)
Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE)
(800/900/1800/1900 MHz bands)
3G Mobile telephones (international standard) (1,755
MHz–2200 MHz)
Bluetooth devices (2.4-2.4835 GHz)
Home RF (2.4 GHz ISM Band)
WLAN (2.4, 5 GHz)
SHF: Super High
Frequency
3 GHz–30 GHz Applications in the short range, point-to-point
communications including remote control systems,
PDAs, etc.
WLAN (5.8 GHz).
Local Multipoint Distribution Services (LMDS), a fixed
wireless technology that operates in the 28 GHz band
and offers line-of-sight coverage over distances up to 3
to 5 kilometers.
EHF: Extremely High
Frequency
30 GHz–300 GHz Satellite communications
IR: Infrared 300 GHz Remote controls for home audio-visual components
IR links for peripheral devices
PDA and cellular telephone IR links
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
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Appendix B—Glossary of Terms
Advanced Encryption
Standard (AES)
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is an encryption algorithm for
securing sensitive but unclassified material by U.S. Government agencies.
Data Encryption Standard
(DES)
A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standard secret
key cryptography method that uses a 56-bit key encryption. DES is based
on an IBM algorithm, which was further developed by the U.S. National
Security Agency. It uses the block cipher method, which breaks the text into
64-bit blocks before encrypting them. There are several DES encryption
modes. The most popular mode exclusive-OR-s each plain-text block with
the previous encrypted block. DES decryption is very fast and widely used.
The secret key may be kept completely secret and reused again, or a key can
be randomly generated for each session, in which case, the new key is
transmitted to the recipient using a public key cryptography method such as
RSA. Triple DES (3DES) is an enhancement of DES that provides
considerably more security than standard DES, which uses only one 56-bit
key. There are several 3DES methods. EEE3 uses three keys and encrypts
three times. EDE3 uses three keys to encrypt, decrypt, and encrypt again.
EEE2 and EDE2 are similar to EEE3 and EDE3, except that only two keys
are used, and the first and third operations use the same key.
Dynamic Host
Configuration Protocol
(DHCP)
The protocol used to assign Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to all nodes on
the network.
Hash Function A computationally efficient algorithm that maps a variable-sized amount of
text into a fixed-sized output (hash value). Hash functions are used in
creating digital signatures.
Industrial, Scientific, and
Medical (ISM) Band
The ISM band refers to the government-allotted bandwidth at 2.450 ± .050
gigahertz (GHz) and 5.8 ± 0.75 GHz.
Infrared (IR) An invisible band of radiation at the lower end of the electromagnetic
spectrum. It starts at the middle of the microwave spectrum and extends to
the beginning of visible light. Infrared transmission requires an
unobstructed line of sight between transmitter and receiver. It is used for
wireless transmission between computer devices, as well as for most
handheld remotes for TVs, video, and stereo equipment.
Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers
(IEEE)
A worldwide professional association for electrical and electronics
engineers that sets standards for telecommunications and computing
applications.
International
Electrotechnical
Commission (IEC)
An organization that sets international standards for the electrical and
electronics fields.
International Organization
for Standardization (ISO)
A voluntary organization responsible for creating international standards in
many areas, including computers and communications.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
B-2
Jini An approach to instant recognition that would enable manufacturers to
make devices that can attach to a network independently of an operating
system. Jini can be viewed as the next step after the Java programming
language toward making a network look like one large computer. Each
pluggable device in a network will define itself immediately to a network
device registry. Using the Jini architecture, users will be able to plug
printers, storage devices, speakers, and any other kind of device directly
into a network, and every other computer, device, and user on the network
will know that the new device has been added and is available through the
network registry. When a user wants to use or access the resource, his/her
computer will be able to download the necessary programming from it to
communicate with it. In this way, devices on the network may be able to
access and use other devices without having the drivers or other previous
knowledge of the device.
Local Area Network
(LAN)
A network that connects computers in close proximity via cable, usually in
the same building.
Medium Access Control
(MAC)
On a local area network, the sublayers that control which device has access
to the transmission medium at a particular time.
Open Systems
Interconnection (OSI)
A model developed by ISO to allow computer systems made by different
vendors to communicate with each other.
Personal Digital Assistant
(PDA)
A handheld computer that serves as an organizer for personal information.
It generally includes at least a name-and-address database, a to-do list, and a
note taker. PDAs are pen-based and use a stylus to tap selections on menus
and to enter printed characters. The unit may also include a small on-screen
keyboard that is tapped with the pen. Data is synchronized between a user’s
PDA and desktop computer by cable or wireless transmission.
Request for Comments
(RFC)
A series of numbered documents (RFC 822, RFC 1123, etc.) developed by
the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that set standards and are
voluntarily followed by many makers of software in the Internet
community.
Smart Card A credit card with a built-in microprocessor and memory that is used for
identification or financial transactions. When inserted into a reader, the card
transfers data to and from a central computer. A smart card is more secure
than a magnetic stripe card and can be programmed to self-destruct if the
wrong password is entered too many times.
Spoofing “IP spoofing” refers to sending a network packet that appears to come from
a source other than its actual source.
Virtual Private Network
(VPN)
A means by which certain authorized individuals (such as remote
employees) can gain secure access to an organization’s intranet by means of
an extranet (a part of the internal network that is accessible via the Internet).
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Wireless Application
Protocol (WAP)
A standard for providing cellular telephones, pagers, and other handheld
devices with secure access to e-mail and text-based Web pages. Introduced
in 1997 by Phone.com, Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia, WAP provides a
complete environment for wireless applications that includes a wireless
counterpart of TCP/IP and a framework for telephony integration, such as
call control and telephone book access. WAP features the Wireless Markup
Language (WML) and is a streamlined version of HTML for small-screen
displays. It also uses WMLScript, a compact JavaScript-like language that
runs in limited memory. WAP also supports handheld input methods, such
as keypad and voice recognition. Independent of the air interface, WAP
runs over all the major wireless networks in place now and in the future. It
is also device-independent, requiring only a minimum functionality in the
unit to permit use with a myriad of telephones and handheld devices.
Wired Equivalent Privacy
(WEP)
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a security protocol, specified in the
IEEE Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) standard, 802.11, that is designed to provide
a wireless local area network (WLAN) with a level of security and privacy
comparable to what is usually expected of a wired LAN.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
C-1
Appendix C—Acronyms and Abbreviations
1G First Generation
2G Second Generation
2.5G Two-and-a-Half Generation
3DES Triple Data Encryption Standard
3G Third Generation
ACL Access Control List
ACO Authenticated Cipher Offset
AES Advanced Encryption Standard
AH Authentication Header
AMPS Advanced Mobile Phone System
AP Access Point
API Application Programming Interfaces
ATM Automatic Teller Machine
BSS Basic Service Set
CDMA Code Division Multiple Access
CERT Computer Emergency Response Team
CIO Chief Information Officer
CRC Cyclic Redundancy Check
DDoS Distributed Denial of Service
DES Data Encryption Standard
DHCP Dynamic Host Control Protocol
DoD Department of Defense
DoS Denial of Service
DSSS Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum
EAP Extensible Authentication Protocol
ECC Elliptic Curve Cryptography
EDGE Enhanced Data GSM Environment
EM Electromagnetic
ESN Electronic Serial Number
ESP Encapsulating Security Protocol
ESS Extended Service Set
ETSI European Telecommunications Standard Institute
FCC Federal Communications Commission
FDMA Frequency Division Multiple Access
FEC Forward Error Correction
FH Frequency Hopping
FHSS Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum
FIPS Federal Information Processing Standard
GFSK Gaussian Frequency Shift Keying
GHz Gigahertz
GPRS General Packet Radio System
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
C-2
GPS Global Positioning System
GSM Global System for Mobile Communications
HTML HyperText Markup Language
HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol
I&A Identification and Authentication
IBSS Interdependent Basic Service Set
ICAT Internet Categorization of Attack Toolkit
IDC International Data Corporation
IDS Intrusion Detection System
IEC International Electrotechnical Commission
IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
IETF Internet Engineering Task Force
IKE Internet Key Exchange
IMT-2000 International Mobile Telecommunication 2000
IP Internet Protocol
IPsec Internet Protocol Security
IPX Internet Packet Exchange
IR Infrared
ISM Industrial, Scientific, and Medical
ISO International Organization for Standardization
ISS Internet Security Systems
IV Initialization Vector
Kbps Kilobits per second
KG Key Generator
KHz Kilohertz
KSG Key Stream Generator
L2CAP Logical Link Control and Adaptation Protocol
L2TP Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol
LAN Local Area Network
LDAP Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
LFSR Linear Feedback Shift Register
MAC Medium Access Control
Mbps Megabits per second
MHz Megahertz
mW Milliwatt
NIC Network Interface Card
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology
OFDM Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OSI Open Systems Interconnection
OTP One-Time Password
P2P Peer to Peer
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
C-3
PAN Personal Area Network
PC Personal Computer
PCMCIA Personal Computer Memory Card International Association
PDA Personal Digital Assistant
PHY Physical Layer
PIN Personal Identification Number
PKI Public Key Infrastructure
PPTP Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol
RADIUS Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service
RF Radio Frequency
RFC Request for Comment
ROM Read Only Memory
RSA Rivest-Shamir-Adelman
RSN Robust Security Networks
SIG Special Interest Group
SMS Short Message Service
SNMP Simple Network Management Protocol
SRES Signed Response
SSH Secure Shell
SSID Service Set Identifier
SSL Secure Sockets Layer
TCP Transmission Control Protocol
TDMA Time Division Multiple Access
TGI Task Group I
TKIP Temporal Key Integrity Protocol
TLS Transport Layer Security
TTP Trusted Third Party
UMTS Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service
USB Universal Serial Bus
USC United States Code
UWC Universal Wireless Communications
VPN Virtual Private Network
WAP Wireless Application Protocol
WEP Wired Equivalent Privacy
WEP2 Wired Equivalent Privacy 2
WG-1000 Wireless Gateway 1000
WI-FI Wireless Fidelity
WISP Wireless Internet Service Provider
WLAN Wireless Local Area Network
WML Wireless Markup Language
WTA Wireless Telephony Application
WTP Wireless Transaction Protocol
WWAN Wireless Wide Area Network
WPAN Wireless Personal Area Networks
WPA Wi-Fi Protected Access
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
D-1
Appendix D—Summary of 802.11 Standards
Table D-1 provides a summary of the various 802.11 standards. For each of the eight standards, a
description of the standard, purpose keywords and remarks about the standard, and when the standard and
products will be available are provided.
Table D-1. Summary of 802.11 Standards
Standard Description Purpose Keywords
and Other Remarks Availability
802.11a
A physical layer standard in the 5
GHz radio band. It specifies eight
available radio channels (in some
countries, 12 channels are
permitted). The maximum link rate is
54 Mbps per channel; maximum
actual user data throughput is
approximately half of that, and the
throughput is shared by all users of
the same radio channel.
The data rate decreases as the
distance between the user and the
radio access point increases.
Higher Performance.
In most office environments, the
data throughput will be greater
than for 11b. Also, the greater
number of radio channels (eight
as opposed to three) provides
better protection against possible
interference from neighboring
access points.
Conformance is shown by a Wi-
Fi5 mark from WiFi Alliance.
Standard was
completed in 1999.
Products are available
now.
802.11b
This is a physical layer standard in
the 2.4 GHz radio band. It specifies
three available radio channels.
Maximum link rate is 11 Mbps per
channel, but maximum user
throughput will be approximately half
of this because the throughput is
shared by all users of the same
radio channel. The data rate
decreases as the distance between
the user and the radio access point
increases.
Performance.
Products are in volume production
with a wide selection at
competitive prices.
Installations may suffer from
speed restrictions in the future as
the number of active users
increase, and the limit of three
radio channels may cause
interference from neighboring
access points.
Standard was
completed in 1999.
A wide variety of
products have been
available since 2001.
802.11d
This standard is supplementary to
the Media Access Control (MAC)
layer in 802.11 to promote worldwide
use of 802.11 WLANs.
It will allow access points to
communicate information on the
permissible radio channels with
acceptable power levels for user
devices. The 802.11 standards
cannot legally operate in some
countries; the purpose of 11d is to
add features and restrictions to allow
WLANs to operate within the rules of
these countries.
Promote worldwide use.
In countries where the physical
layer radio requirements are
different from those in North
America, the use of WLANs is
lagging behind. Equipment
manufacturers do not want to
produce a wide variety of countryspecific
products, and users that
travel do not want a bag full of
country-specific WLAN PC cards.
The outcome will be countryspecific
firmware solutions.
Work is ongoing, but
see 802.11h for a
timeline on 5 GHz
WLANs in Europe.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
D-2
Standard Description Purpose Keywords
and Other Remarks Availability
802.11e
This standard is supplementary to
the MAC layer to provide QOS
support for LAN applications. It will
apply to 802.11 physical standards
a, b, and g. The purpose is to
provide classes of service with
managed levels of QOS for data,
voice, and video applications.
Quality of service.
This standard should provide
some useful features for
differentiating data traffic streams.
It is essential for future audio and
video distribution.
Many WLAN manufacturers have
targeted QOS as a feature to
differentiate their products, so
there will be plenty of proprietary
offerings before 11e is complete.
This standard will be greatly
affected by the work of Tgi.
The finalized standard
is expected in the
second half of 2002.
Products will be
available in the second
half of 2003 or later.
802.11f
This is a “recommended practice”
document that aims to achieve radio
access point interoperability within a
multivendor WLAN network. The
standard defines the registration of
access points within a network and
the interchange of information
between access points when a user
is handed over from one access
point to another.
Interoperability.
This standard will work to increase
vendor interoperability. Currently
few features exist in the AP work.
802.11f will reduce vendor lock-in
and allow multivendor
infrastructures.
Completed standard is
expected in the second
half of 2002. Products
will be available in the
first half of 2003 or
later.
802.11g
This is a physical layer standard for
WLANs in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
radio band. It specifies three
available radio channels. The
maximum link rate is 54 Mbps per
channel whereas 11b has 11 Mbps.
The 802.11g standard uses
orthogonal frequency-division
multiplexing (OFDM) modulation but,
for backward compatibility with 11b,
it also supports complementary
code-keying (CCK) modulation and,
as an option for faster link rates,
allows packet binary convolutional
coding (PBCC) modulation.
Performance with 802.11b
backward compatibility.
Speeds similar to 11a and
backward compatibility may
appear attractive but modulation
issues exist: Conflicting interests
between key vendors have
divided support within IEEE task
group for the OFDM and PBCC
modulation schemes. The task
group compromised by including
both types of modulation in the
draft standard. With the addition of
support for 11b’s CCK modulation,
the end result is three modulation
types. This is perhaps too little,
too late, and too complex relative
to 11a. However, advantages
exist for vendors hoping to supply
dual-mode 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
products, in that using OFDM for
both modes will reduce silicon
cost. If 802.11h fails to obtain pan-
European approval by the second
half of 2003, then 11g will become
the high-speed WLAN of choice in
Europe.
Completed standard is
expected in the second
half of 2002.
Products will be
available in the first
half of 2003 or later.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
D-3
Standard Description Purpose Keywords
and Other Remarks Availability
802.11h
This standard is supplementary to
the MAC layer to comply with
European regulations for 5 GHz
WLANs. European radio regulations
for the 5 GHz band require products
to have transmission power control
(TPC) and dynamic frequency
selection (DFS). TPC limits the
transmitted power to the minimum
needed to reach the farthest user.
DFS selects the radio channel at the
access point to minimize
interference with other systems,
particularly radar.
European regulation
compliance.
This is necessary for products to
operate in Europe.
Completion of 11h will provide
better acceptability within Europe
for IEEE-compliant 5 GHz WLAN
products. A group that is rapidly
dwindling will continue to support
the alternative HyperLAN
standard defined by ETSI.
Although European countries such
as the Netherlands and the United
Kingdom are likely to allow the
use of 5 GHz LANs with TPC and
DFS well before 11h is completed,
pan-European approval of 11h is
not expected until the second half
of 2003 or later.
The standard is
expected to be
finalized by the second
half of 2002.
Products will be
available in the first
half of 2003 (firmware
implementation), with
high availability in the
second half of 2003.
802.11i
This standard is supplementary to
the MAC layer to improve security. It
will apply to 802.11 physical
standards a, b, and g. It provides an
alternative to Wired Equivalent
Privacy (WEP) with new encryption
methods and authentication
procedures. IEEE 802.1X forms a
key part of 802.11i.
Improved security.
Security is a major weakness of
WLANs. Vendors have not
improved matters by shipping
products without setting default
security features. In addition, the
numerous Wired Equivalent
Privacy (WEP) weaknesses have
been exposed. The 11i
specification is part of a set of
security features that should
address and overcome these
issues by the end of 2003.
Solutions will start with firmware
upgrades using the Temporal Key
Integrity Protocol (TKIP), followed
by new silicon with AES (an
iterated block cipher) and TKIP
backwards compatibility.
Finalization of the TKIP
protocol standard is
expected to occur in
the second half of
2002.
Firmware will be
available in the first
half of 2003.
New silicon with an
AES cipher is expected
to occur by the second
half of 2003 or later.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
E-1
Appendix E—Useful References
Name URL Description / Remarks
802.11 Planet http://http://www.80211-planet.com Source for WiFi business and technology
information
802.11b Networking News http://80211b.weblogger.com News and features about the 802.11b
networking standard
Air Defense http://www.airdefense.net/products/i
ndex.shtm
This site contains lists of many of the major
security products by category.
Air Jack Site http://802.11ninja.net Air Jack code and slides from wireless
presentation at the 2002 BlackHat Briefings
AirSnort http://airsnort.shmoo.com AirSnort is a wireless LAN (WLAN) tool which
recovers encryption keys.
AirTraf http://airtraf.sourceforge.net AirTraf is a wireless 802.11 network sniffer.
Cellular Network
Perspectives
http://www.cnp-wireless.com Source of technical information about wireless
standards and technology
Cellular
Telecommunications &
Internet Association
http://www.wow-com.com Cellular Telecommunications & Internet
Association Web site
Cquire.net http://www.cqure.net/tools08.html This is a link to the WaveStumbler wireless
network mapping tool.
Dachb0den Labs http://www.dachb0den.com/projects/
bsd-airtools.html
Wireless BSD tools
Federal Communications
Commission
http://www.fcc.gov Federal Communications Commission web site
Globecom Site http://www.globecom.net/ietf This site allows the search of Internet
Engineering Task Force documents.
Guidance http://www.amc.army.mil/amc/ci/mat
rix/guidance/guidance3_mainpage.h
tm
This is a military site with many URLs to various
publications.
IEEE http://standards.ieee.org/getieee802 IEEE 802.11 site
JM Projects http://www.jm-music.de/projects.html Link to Wavemon, a monitoring application for
wireless network devices. Wavemon currently
works under Linux with devices that are
supported by the wireless extensions by Jean
Tourrilhes (included in Kernel 2.4 and higher),
e.g., the Lucent Orinoco cards.
Kismet http://www.kismetwireless.net Kismet wireless network sniffer site
Mognet http://chocobospore.org/mognet Mognet is a free, open source wireless Ethernet
sniffer/analyzer written in Java.
Netstumbler.com http://www.netstumbler.com Netstumbler 802.11 discovery tool
Prisimstumbler http://prismstumbler.sourceforge.net Prismstumbler is a wireless LAN (WLAN) that
scans for beacon frames from access points.
Prismstumbler operates by constantly switching
channels and monitors any frames received on
the currently selected channel.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
E-2
Name URL Description / Remarks
Sniffer technologies http://www.sniffer.com/products/wirel
ess/default.asp?A=5
Sniffer® Wireless was designed in accordance
with the IEEE 802.11b interoperability standard.
It includes network monitoring, capturing,
decoding, and filtering—all of the standard
Sniffer® Pro features.
Snort http://www.snort.org Snort is an open source intrusion detection
system.
Sonar-Security http://www.sonar-security.com StumbVerter is a standalone application that
allows users to import Network Stumbler’s
summary files into Microsoft’s MapPoint 2002
maps.
Sourceforge.net http://sourceforge.net/projects/wifisc
anner
Link to a passive 802.11b scanner
Talisker Network Security http://www.networkintrusion.co.uk/wi
reless.htm
Wireless security tools
Talisker Network Security http://www.networkintrusion.co.uk This is a independent site that maintains an
extensive list of current security products.
WEPcrack http://wepcrack.sourceforge.net WEPCrack is an open source tool for breaking
802.11 WEP secret keys.
WiFi http://www.wifi.
com/OpenSection/index.asp
WiFi Web site
WildPackets http://www.wildpackets.com/product
s/airopeek
This is a link to WildPackets’ wireless protocol
analyzer, Airopeek.
Wireless LAN Association http://www.wlana.com WLANA provides a clearinghouse of information
about wireless local area applications, issues,
and trends and serves as a resource for
customers and prospective customers for
wireless local area products and wireless
personal area products and for industry press
and analysts.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
F-1
Appendix F—Wireless Networking Tools
Tool Capabilities Website
Linux{ XE
“Linux” }/Unix{
XE “Unix” }
Win32 Cost
Aerosol{ XE
“Aerosol” }
Wireless
Sniffer
http://www.sec33.com/sniph/aerosol.php ” Free
Aerosol{ XE “Aerosol” } is a freeware{ XE “freeware” } wireless LAN{ XE “LAN” } sniffer tool, which can
also crack WEP encryption keys. Aerosol operates by passively monitoring transmissions, computing the encryption key
when enough packets have been gathered.
AirSnort{
XE
“AirSnort” }
Wireless
Sniffer
http://airsnort.shmoo.com/ ” Free
AirSnort{ XE “AirSnort” } is a freeware{ XE “freeware” } wireless LAN{ XE “LAN” } sniffer tool, which
recovers encryption keys. AirSnort operates by passively monitoring transmissions, computing the encryption key when
enough packets have been gathered.
Kismet{ XE
“Kismet” }
Wireless
Sniffer
http://www.kismetwireless.net/ ” Free
Kismet{ XE “Kismet” } is an 802.11b{ XE “802.11b” } wireless network sniffer{ XE “network sniffers” }. It
is capable of sniffing using almost any wireless card supported in Linux{ XE “Linux” }.
Netstumbler Wireless
Sniffer
http://www.netstumbler.com ” Free
Netstumbler is a 802.11b tool that listens for available networks and records data about that access point. A version is
available for the Pocket PC.
Sniffer
Wireless{
XE “Sniffer
Wireless” }
Wireless
Sniffer
http://www.sniffer.com/ ” $
A Sniffer Wireless{ XE “Sniffer Wireless” } is a commercial wireless LAN{ XE “LAN” } sniffer that provides network
monitoring, capturing, decoding, and filtering capabilities.
WEPCrack{
XE
“WEPCrack”
}
WEP
encryption
cracker
http://sourceforge.net/projects/wepcrack/ ” Free
WEPCrack{ XE “WEPCrack” } is a tool that cracks 802.11 WEP encryption keys using the latest discovered weakness of
RC4 key scheduling.
WaveStumbler
{ XE
“WaveStumbl
er” }
Wireless
Network
Mapper
http://www.cqure.net/tools08.html ” Free
WaveStumbler{ XE “WaveStumbler” } is a freeware{ XE “freeware” } console based 802.11 network mapper for
Linux{ XE “Linux” }. It reports the basic wireless network characteristics including channel, WEP, ESSID, MAC etc.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
G-1
Appendix G—References
Print Publications and Books
1. NIST Special Publication 46, Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications,
National Institute for Standards and Technology.
2. Norton, P., and Stockman, M. Peter Norton’s Network Security Fundamentals. 2000.
3. Wack, J., Cutler, K., and Pole, J. NIST Special Publication 41, Guidelines on Firewalls and
Firewall Policy, January 2002.
4. Gast, M. 802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide Creating and Administering Wireless
Networks, O’Reilley Publishing, April 2002.
Articles and Other Published Material
1. 3Com. 11 Mbps Wireless LAN Access Point 6000 User Guide, Version 2.0. May 2001.
5. Arbaugh, W.A., Shankar, N., and Wan, Y.C. “Your 802.11 Wireless Network Has No Clothes.”
March 30, 2001.
6. Basgall, M. “Experimental Break-Ins Reveal Vulnerability in Internet, Unix Computer Security.”
http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/research/encrypt.html, January 1999.
7. Cam-Winget, N., and Walker, J. “An Analysis of AES in OCB Mode.” May 2001.
8. Ismadi, A., and Sukaimi, Y.B. Smart Card: An Alternative to Password Authentication. SANS,
May 26, 2001.
9. Lucent Technologies. ORINOCO Manager Suite Users Guide. November 2000.
10. Menezes, A. “Comparing the Security of ECC and RSA.” January 2000.
11. Cagliostro, C. Security and Smart Cards. http://www.scia.org, 2001.
12. Cardwell, A., and Woollard, S. “Clinic: What are the biggest security risks associated with
wireless technology? What do I need to consider if my organization wants to introduce this kind
of technology to my corporate LAN?” http://www.itsecurity.com, 2001.
13. Ewalt, D. M. “RSA Patches Hold in Wireless LANs: The fix addresses problems with the
Wireless Equivalent Privacy protocol, which encrypts communication over 802.11b wireless
networks.” Information Week, (www.informationweek.com), December 2001.
14. Leyden, J. “Tool Dumbs Down Wireless Hacking.” The Register, http://www.theregister.co.uk, August
2001.
15. Marek, S. “Identifying the Weakest Link.” Wireless Internet Magazine
http://www.wirelessinternetmag.com, November/December 2001.
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
G-2
16. Rysavy, P. “Break Free With Wireless LANs.” Network Computing, Mobile and Wireless
Technology Feature, October 29, 2001.
General Internet Resources
1. http://csrc.nist.gov/publications (NIST, Computer Security Resource Center)
2. http://www.drizzle.com/~aboba/IEEE/ (Unofficial 802.11 security Web site)
3. http://its.med.yale.edu/computing_services.html (Yale University School of Medicine provides
information on wireless applications and future uses)
4. http://xforce.iss.net (X-Force Web site provides information on leading computer threats and
vulnerabilities)
5. http://www.cisco.com (Cisco Web site provides information on securing wireless networks)
6. http://www.computeruser.com/resources/dictionary/dictionary.html (reference for technical
terms)
7. http://www.computerworld.com (provides white papers, surveys, and reports related to security of
wireless networks)
8. http://www.eet.com (technical Web site that serves as a primer for different technologies and
applications)
9. http://www.gcn.com (Government Computer News provides up-to-date information on wireless
and mobile devices and their related security issues)
10. http://www.informationweek.com (provides information on wireless networks, wireless
communications, and security solutions in the form of articles and other documents)
11. http://www.infosecuritymagazine.com (provides white papers, surveys, and reports on wireless
network security)
12. http://www.isaac.cs.berkeley.edu/isaac/wep-faq.html (University of California at Berkeley
provides “frequently asked questions” on WEP setup, problems, and attacks)
13. http://www.networkcomputing.com (provides white papers, surveys, and reports on wireless
network security)
14. http://www.nwfusion.com (Network World Fusion Web site provides white papers, surveys, and
reports on wireless network security)
15. http://www.pdadefense.com (PDADefense Web site provides articles and guidance on PDA
security)
16. http://www.sans.org/newlook/home.htm (SANS Institute Web site maintains articles, documents,
and links on computer security and wireless technologies)
WIRELESS NETWORK SECURITY
G-3
17. http://www.scmagazine.com (SC Magazine Web site, an information security online magazine
provides information on wireless security issues)
18. http://www.zdnetindia.com (ZDNet India Magazine Web site provides white papers, surveys, and
reports on wireless network security)

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