Penetration Testing On 802.11b Networks

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the 802.11b Standard to provide a secure architecture for communicating with networking devices over an air medium but the standard has fallen short in providing a secure criterion. The 802.11b Standard has left many doors open for hackers to exploit these shortcomings and the goal of this document is to surface these issues while illustrating how to prevent them. A technique of attacking wireless networks that hackers have dubbed as “War Driving” is becoming an everyday buzzword in the security industry. This document will cover the fundamentals on how to deter a War Driving attack by performing controlled penetration tests on a wireless network. These fundamentals will consist of an overview of 802.11b security, how to exploit its vulnerabilities and will conclude with how to thwart attackers from gaining access to the wired network.

Wireless 802.11b Security

The IEEE tried to devise a security model for the 802.11b Standard that would allow for mobile clients to securely authenticate & associate to an Access Point (AP) and provide a way to maintain data confidentiality.

Security Defense Mechanisms

Many hardware vendors have devised proprietary solutions to handle the deficiencies of the 802.11b Standard but they are out of the scope of this document and will not be discussed. The802.11b Standard has two basic security defense mechanisms. These two mechanisms are: