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A wireless LAN is a flexible data communication system that uses infra red light or radio frequency as its transmission medium. The main benefits of WLAN technology are its simplicity, flexibility and cost effectiveness (Rajendran, et al 2005). These Wlan technologies are broadly used in many sectors such as corporate networks, hospitals, schools and businesses. WLAN offers users portability because they can moves from one location to another while maintaining their access to the corporate network, but it does not offer user access between locations (Park, et al 2003).
Now days WLAN are one of the fastest growing network technology in the world today. They permit users to be mobile and to be connected to the internet without cable. Due to its mobility, more economical and reliability, wireless LAN are rapidly deployed than the wired LAN It enables students to be connected from anywhere on campus and company staff can check their emails from anywhere within the company.
A WLAN operates in two operational modes, namely the ad hoc mode or infrastructure mode. Ad hoc mode is known as a peer-to-peer networking type while the infrastructure mode is known for making use of access points in communicating between device and a network (Vines, 2002).
Despite all these benefits of wireless LAN, it poses several security risks when compared with the wired LAN. Unlike the wired LAN, there is no need for physical access, as the signal is been transmitted everywhere in the air and any hacker with the right tools can easily penetrate into the network thereby making it very insecure. To maintain high confidentiality and integrity of data, the security of data should be taken very seriously. Wireless LAN security is very necessary for restricting hackers against valuable information like credit card details, bank account details e.t.c
Statement Of The Problem
The problems that WLAN security is facing today are numerous and need some solutions. Many hackers are taking advantages of these problems. These problems are bad administration of access points, denial of service attacks, access point (AP) spoofing, wireless client attacks, eavesdropping, traffic analysis and tapering of data.
To fix the problems stated above, the access to the WLAN should be controlled and limited to only the administration, all wireless station should be installed with access control and intrusion detection mechanisms so as to detect and prevent any unauthorised WLAN access, there should be other means to access the network to avoid denial of service attacks.
Aims Of The Project
The aim of this project is to evaluate the methods used for securing wireless LAN in a corporate network.
Objective Of The Project
The objective of this project is to evaluate all the security measures taken to implement WLAN security in a corporate network. This evaluation should be done theoretically and through simulation. The objectives are to:
Evaluate Wireless LAN vulnerabilities.
Carry out background research into Wireless LAN security threats and attacks.
Research on the current WLAN security protocols and standards.
Carry out background research on Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), how WEP works and its weaknesses.
Research on the operational and design consideration for secure WLAN in a corporate network.
Configuration of Wireless LAN security using encryption and authentication.
Research practical solutions for securing WLANs.
Research new standards for improving WLAN security
Structure of The Thesis
The thesis is structured* into five different chapters which also includes the introductory chapter (chapter 1).
The rest of the thesis is structured as follows:
Chapter 2 provides the literature review of WLAN, the vulnerabilities of WLAN, attacks of WLAN and current WLAN standards.
Chapter 3 explains the methodology involves in the configuration of WLAN security.
Chapter 4 presents the results and output of the configurations.
Chapter 5 involves the overall discussion and conclusion of this project. It also explains the future scope of WAN security
Since WLAN is very popular in most corporate networks means that quite sensitive data and transactions are transmitted over the air (Taskin, 2008). Wlan always make use of electromagnetic wave (also known as radio frequency) to transmit and receive data signals. Before the invention of WLAN, users have been using wired LAN cables with RJ-45 connectors to transmit and receive signals. The use of WLAN enables users to share their resources like internet connection broadband, network printers and data files over the air (Goldsmith 2005).
By the end of 1990s, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) published the first WLAN standard called IEEE 802.11 which gives transmission speed ranging from 1Mbps to 54Mbps operating in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bandwidth (Baghaei, etal 2004). Many new standards were also created by IEEE to offer faster speed and better security.
WLAN offers many benefits to user like mobility, portability, productivity, increased reliability and more economical. A recent study found â€œthat corporation that implement WLAN increased the availability of their corporate network by 70 minutes per day for the average user which in turn also enhanced productivity within the corporation by as much as 22 percentâ€Â (Park and Dicoi 2003 p. 60).
2.1 WLAN TREATS AND VULNERABILITIES
Wireless LANs are vulnerable to treats and attacks because it is hard to deny physical access to them. It is important for users to known this treats and vulnerabilities in other to prevent attackers. The forms of treats and vulnerabilities that can attack WLAN are evaluated below:
Eaves Dropping/Traffic Analysis:
This is a group of all attacks that take the benefits of weak encryption and always bargains the confidentiality of data (Vecca 2006).
This involves all the attacks meant for data modification and always compromise the data integrity (Changhua and Mitchel 2006).
Rogue Devices: This involves rogue APs, rogue applications in an unauthorized ad-hoc mode. These devices may concede to data confidentiality and loss of integrity. They are able of introducing replay attacks and malicious association (Shella 2007).