Risk
5/22/2008
11:00 AM
50%
50%

Building Better Branch-Office Wireless

One rogue access point at a remote site can make for a potentially huge security mess. The answer? Extend the corporate wireless LAN safely and efficiently. We'll show you how.

Remote users can feel marginalized if they don't have the same technology amenities that employees at headquarters enjoy, and they won't take design complexity, management overhead, or security risk as an excuse. A prime example is a branch office that deems itself underserved because "everyone else has wireless." Employees might just pitch in to buy a $50 access point and believe they're doing the corporate IT folks a favor by solving the "problem" themselves.

Of course, security is only as strong as its weakest link, so that $50 rogue access point could neutralize thousands of dollars' worth of sophisticated, layered access controls. Put simply, an open AP connected to the corporate network is tantamount to placing an Ethernet jack in the parking lot. Even when the device is configured with Wired Equivalent Privacy, it's vulnerable. Armed with a high-gain antenna and a proximate location to the target, an attacker can inject and/or collect 802.11 data frames and recover static WEP keys and passphrases used by the "helpful" employee who's attempting to secure his unauthorized device.

InformationWeek Reports

To make matters worse, once someone gains access to the remote office's network and obtains a valid IP address, the intruder could appear, at least from a network perspective, to be an authorized corporate user. Unless you have network access control or core firewalling in place, the attacker may well gain access to all local and WAN-connected corporate assets via the branch-office connection.

With the advent of enterprise-class 802.11n systems, the remote WLAN equation becomes even more complex. The upside is that 802.11n will greatly increase the throughput rates of each AP radio while enhancing IT's ability to identify rogue devices. The downside--besides the enormous cost premium that 11n gear commands--is that it will be even easier for wireless users to saturate available WAN bandwidth.

DIG DEEPER
THE N FACTOR
Don't give in to irrational exuberance over the latest Wi-Fi standard. Cold, hard calculations are called for.
The best answer for geographically diverse organizations may be to provide enterprise-class 802.11 WLAN coverage at branch offices. While you could just stick lightweight access points at remote sites, link them to the controller at your main office, and call it a day, problems with subpar connectivity and bandwidth hogging make this a poor choice. Better are scaled-down WLAN controller appliances from companies such as Aruba Networks, Cisco Systems, and Motorola-Symbol that can support as many as six access points while providing many of the sophisticated capabilities available in controllers that scale to well over 1,000 APs.

Alternately, manufacturers such as Aruba and Cisco offer enhanced systems designed to extend corporate WLAN standards to branch offices while addressing the bandwidth constraints inherent in WAN connectivity. Aruba's Remote Access Points and Cisco's Hybrid Remote Edge Access Points use standard lightweight APs loaded with specialized firmware that integrates seamlessly with centralized WLAN controllers, letting branch offices enjoy the functionality and security provided to headquarters without the need to deploy local WLAN controllers--or have advanced IT resources on site to maintain them.

Previous
1 of 4
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Dark Reading Live EVENTS
INsecurity - For the Defenders of Enterprise Security
A Dark Reading Conference
While red team conferences focus primarily on new vulnerabilities and security researchers, INsecurity puts security execution, protection, and operations center stage. The primary speakers will be CISOs and leaders in security defense; the blue team will be the focus.
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "Jamie, the darn Unicorn is back."
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
As cyber attackers become more sophisticated and enterprise defenses become more complex, many enterprises are faced with a complicated question: what is the risk of an IT security breach? This report delivers insight on how today's enterprises evaluate the risks they face. This report also offers a look at security professionals' concerns about a wide variety of threats, including cloud security, mobile security, and the Internet of Things.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.