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Without a doubt, the introduction of the wireless technology greatly changed the way that people communicate in the 21st century. It has enabled people to be able to now do a lot of things they couldn’t in the past years. However, much as this has helped improve our lives and make it efficient even more, it has provided the hackers with a new means of penetrating our network. It is a new form of danger that has been tagged along with this wireless networks and it is raising alarms about what these hackers can do and the danger they pose.
They can now penetrate the personal networks that we have set up and they can do this with a very convenient speed and get out before you even notice. By these hackers breaking into our networks, they are able to acquire a gateway to even get into our systems. This is dangerous as they can install software into our computers for example the sniffers which enable them to gain access and steal information from our computers without our knowledge (UNIX, 2010). They can also install harmful software like Trojans and viruses which always end up messing up the operating systems. These hackers also get the means to install malware over the wireless network into our computers and these always are responsible for jamming the wireless encryptions. These hackers mess up the WLAN by DoS attacks and end up messing the network by causing disruptions. By doing this, your computer is turned into a slave for doing whatever it is that the hackers want it to; you are no longer in control of it. The most dangerous side of this is that, it that hacker uses you computer for some illegal activity or business, you are the one who will face the charges. Unprotected wireless network can also result into insecure eavesdropping of vital information that is supposed to be classified (Microsoft TechNet, 2010). These are the reasons that saw the computer making companies come up with ways of helping us protect our networks from such hackers.
There is several software that has been developed to help solve this problem. These have been carefully designed to fit the various operating systems that various users have got on their computers. AirDefense Guard is one of this software. It is an 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN intrusion detection and solution software. This software identifies security risks when accessing insecure sites and also identifies attacks that are being posed on the user’s network. It detects all rogue WLANS and does not allow access to them (WarDrive.net, 2010). It also secures a wireless LAN by identifying and responding to intrusions as they occur. Its remote sensors sit near 802.11 access points. This allows them to monitor WLAN activities and give a feedback to the server which analyzes the report. The operating system for this software is not specified.
Hot Spot Defence Kit is security software developed by the Shmoo group. This was designed to assist users detect the wireless attackers. This one looks out for the changes in ESSID, MAC address of the access point, the MAC address of the set default gateway and the fluctuations in the radical strength. Immediately it notices a problem, the user is notified that an attacker may be on the wireless network he is using. This software was designed for the operating system of Mac OS X and Windows XP (WarDrive.net, 2010).
For the computers using the Linux, BSD and Windows operating system, the Linux WPA/WPA2/IEEE 802.1X Supplicant is software designed to suit them. Supplicant is the IEEE 802.1X/WPA component that is used in the client stations. It is designed to act as a ‘deamon’ program that runs in the background. It controls all the wireless connections being initiated and prevents entry of intruders into the wireless network without gaining permission to access (WarDrive.net, 2010).
In addition to installing this software to manage our computers, multiple layering of other security measures is also important as it makes it difficult for the hackers to access the computers. In layering the computer, several measures are advised. The SSID broadcast should be hidden. This is the name of one’s AP and when hidden the hacker won’t be able to differentiate your AP and the neighbours. In addition to hiding, it is advisable to also change the name of this SSID. One should also use the MAC address filtering. This is the address that has been engraved on the wireless card and by filtering it, only the entries of the MAC addresses can access one’s AP (UNIX, 2010). Enabling of the encryption is also very important. The security mode of the WPA and the AES algorithm makes it tougher for the hackers. Hardware and software firewall are also important. This will prevent access by intruders into you network. It is also important to do this same layering on the AP on the computer as well. This will provide even more security.
Wireless networks have proven to really improve our lives and make it more sufficient, but providing defence for one’s network is the best thing a person can do. With the huge risks that are there today and the increase in the number of hackers, installing protective software and doing the layering plays a vital role in guarding one’s network