Wireless Security Must Not Be an Oxymoron

When you go wireless, are you doing everything you possibly can to keep your confidential data safe?

Chances are you’re not. Confusing wireless security standards, hyperbolic claims by vendors and the everyday challenges of working within a still-immature, fast-evolving industry make it nearly impossible for the average IT shop to implement fail-safe solutions. As demand for mobile services explodes, however, the industry needs to find a workable way for business customers to routinely integrate end-to-end security into their wireless networks.

The general consensus from network security experts, who have collectively shaken their heads at today’s state of wireless security, is that our lax wireless security landscape makes it easy for hackers, identity thieves and other less-than-honest types to steal our data.

“Wireless networks are in many ways ‘networks of convenience’ that allow your employees to get the information they need where and when they need it in the workplace,” said Bradley Fordham, director of research and product management for Xiocom Wireless. “We should not be cavalier enough to allow that convenience to work for information thieves [as well].”

But we do — often without even knowing it. We send traffic over old routers running the already-broken Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption standard. Or we trick ourselves into believing that Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) encryption was and is a good enough replacement for WEP. We assume the “security tested” sticker on the box is enough proof that any wireless data that moves through it will be safe.




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