802.11 Security
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: December 2002
Pages: 196

Mention wireless networks, and the question of security will soon follow. It's not surprising that in spite of compelling business arguments for going wireless, many companies are holding back because of security concerns. But, while it's true that wireless networks create security issues that don't exist in wired networks, the issues are not insurmountable. 802.11 Security shows how you can plan for and successfully contend with security obstacles in your wireless deployment. This authoritative book not only explains the security issues, but shows you how to design and build a your own secure wireless network.802.11 Security covers the entire process of building secure 802.11-based wireless networks, in particular, the 802.11b ("Wi-Fi") specification. The authors provide detailed coverage of security issues unique to wireless networking, such as Wireless Access Points (WAP), bandwidth stealing, and the problematic Wired Equivalent Privacy component of 802.11. You'll learn how to configure a wireless client and to set up a WAP using either Linux or Free BSD. You'll also find thorough information on controlling network access and encrypting client traffic.Beginning with an introduction to 802.11b in general, the book gives you a broad basis in theory and practice of wireless security, dispelling some of the myths along the way. In doing so, they provide you with the technical grounding required to think about how the rest of the book applies to your specific needs and situations. Next, the book details the technical setup instructions needed for both the Linux and FreeBSD operating systems.Some of the topics covered include:

  • Station Security for Linux, FreeBSD, Open BSD, Mac OS X and Windows
  • Setting Up Access Point Security
  • Gateway Security, including building Gateways, firewall Rules, Auditing, etc.
  • Authentication and Encryption
  • FreeBSD IPsec client and gateway configuration
  • Linux IPsec client and gateway configuration
  • 802.1x authentication
802.11 Security is a book whose time has come. If you are a network, security, or systems engineer, or anyone interested in deploying 802.11b-based systems, you'll want this book beside you every step of the way.
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2.0

802.11 Security Review

By Fox

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly 802.11 Security:

Let me start by saying that the book offers several good ideas on security wireless networks and explaining the lower levels of the wifi protocols. Then the disussion bleeds into configuring several different OSes to use WEP and wireless networks. Then security comes. The several OSes that are demonstrated are similar in their configuration. However, many of the methods are non-trivial for those not technically minded.

Furthermore, the book becomes very repeditive explaining the same security measures over and over again.

Chapter 14, which covers higher level encryption, should have gone IN DEPTH with solutions such as IPsec and SSL. Further discussion of SSH tunnels in this chapter would have been welcome as well. Unfortunatly, this chapter comes AFTER examples of setting up network gateways where you would want to incorperate such protocols.

I can not say I would reccommend this book to any other competent system administrator. Had it gone in-depth with high level encryption schemes and deployment examples I would have considered it very valuable.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

802.11 Security Review

By Marc Orchant

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly 802.11 Security:

I must admit to being somewhat disappointed with his book. In the interest of full disclosure, let me say right up front that I work for a Windows-focused software company that produces a line of Secure Shell (SSH) tools. With that out in the open, my two biggest disappointments are the lack of practical steps Windows users can take to secure a wirelss LAN and their own workstations and the factually incorrect and far too brief discussion of higher level security mechanisms (SSH and SSL) that can be used to secure WiFi traffic.

On the Windows front, the authors fail to provide any substantial documentation (a few screen shots might have been nice) showing how to enable and use WEP (which they correctly recommend in spite of its flaws). The entire section devoted to securing a Windows workstation is only three pages long! I know that general topic O'Reilly titles favor the *NIX world but this is really an imbalance, especially given the number of Windows desktops and laptops out there.

On the SSH front, a scant two pages (seven paragraphs) are devoted to what is arguably one of the cheapest and most effective ways to secure TCP application data - Secure Shell port forwarding. The authors write:

"This (port forwarding) can be useful for accessing one particular service, but is not practical for tunneling many different types of traffic."

Not so. There are a variety of tools, especially on the Windows and Mac OS X platforms that make it extremely easy to configure multiple port forward assignments that are automatically invoked after login and authentication. As I said above, I'm certainly biased on this note... my company makes two clients for the Windows platform that make this a "set-it-and-forget-it" proposition. I forward IMAP, SMTP, a mail pooling application, a corporate calendar, and a bug tracking application all day, every day. Using WiFi both at work and at home (over a cable connection), I have no worries about any of may data being intercepted and/or mangled.

SSH provides a high degree of interoperability between platforms, open source, freeware, and commercial clients and servers, and a high degree of ubiquity compared to other protocols offering the same security (OpenSSH ships with virtually every Linux distribution, Mac OS X, and Solaris). I'd really like to see a few more pages devoted to this topic (including SSL which is given equally brief discussion) in the next edition of this book.

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