Wi-Fi is very susceptible to attack — even more so than wired networks if it’s not configured or deployed properly. Wireless networks have long- standing vulnerabilities that can enable an attacker to bring your network to its knees or allow your sensitive information to be extracted right out of thin air. If your wireless network is compromised, you can experience the following problems:
- Loss of network access, including e-mail, web, and other services that can cause business downtime
- Loss of sensitive information, including passwords, customer data, intellectual property, and more
- Regulatory consequences and legal liabilities associated with unauthorized users gaining access to your business systems
Most of the wireless vulnerabilities are in the implementation of the 802.11 standard. Wireless access points (APs) and client systems have some vulnerabilities as well.
Various fixes have come along in recent years to address these vulnerabilities, yet still many of these fixes haven’t been properly applied or aren’t enabled by default. Your employees might also install rogue wireless equipment on your network without your knowledge. Then there’s “free” Wi-Fi practically everywhere your mobile workforce goes. From coffee shops to hotels to conference centers, these Internet connections are one of the most serious threats to your overall information security and a pretty difficult one to fight. Even when Wi-Fi is hardened and all the latest patches have been applied, you still might have security problems, such as denial of service (DoS), man- in-the-middle attacks, and encryption key weaknesses that will likely be around for a while.