Part I. 802.11 Security Basics

The phrase “wireless security” is considered by some to be an oxymoron. How can a system with no physical security hope to facilitate secure data transport? Well, with careful planning and configuration, a wireless network can protect itself from many types of attacks and become almost as secure as its wired counterpart. 802.11 can be deployed with various security mechanisms to provide robust, mobile, and hardened network infrastructure. In order to understand how and when to use the security tools at hand, you must first understand the underlying structure of the 802.11 protocol as well as the risks associated with deploying and using a wireless network. The following chapters will provide the basic grounding in how the 802.11 protocols work, the inherent security mechanisms it has, and how an attacker will attempt to exploit weak spots within a wireless network.

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