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802.11 Security by Bruce Potter, Bob Fleck

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Chapter 2. Attacks and Risks

802.11 networks have unique vulnerabilities that make them an ideal avenue of attack. Wireless networks cannot be physically secured the same way a wired network can be. An attack against a wireless network can take place anywhere: from the next office, the parking lot of your building, across the street in the park, or a bluff many miles away.

Understanding the details of various attacks against your wireless infrastructure is critical to determining how to defend yourself. Some attacks are easy to implement but aren’t particularly dangerous. Other attacks are much more difficult to mount but can be devastating. Like any other aspect of security, wireless security is a game of risk. By knowing the risks involved in your network and making informed decisions about security measures, you have a better chance at protecting yourself, your assets, and your users.

An Example Network

Throughout this book, we will work toward the creation of the example network illustrated in Figure 2-1. This network is split into three segments: the Internet, a wireless network containing access points and wireless clients, and a wired network containing workstations, servers, and other devices. A gateway mediates the traffic between these three segments. The focus of this book is the security of the gateway, access points, and wireless clients. We will also investigate the effects the security of these components has upon the rest of the network and the external security issues ...

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