Chapter 13. Wireless Security

Wi-Fi networks have become a common connectivity tool in most corporate and many home environments. Unfortunately, a large percentage of users have installed Wi-Fi networking without any security defenses or with weak defenses. This chapter covers Wi-Fi terminology, threats to 802.11 wireless networks, and improvements in wireless for Vista. It also discusses the general and detailed steps needed to implement strong security on Windows wireless networks.

Note

Chapter 13 focuses on Wi-Fi 802.11 network technologies. Other wireless technologies that are normally used for other purposes — such as Bluetooth, cellular, and infrared — will not be covered.

Wi-Fi Terminology and Technologies

There are so many wireless networking terms and standards that it makes the normally acronym-obsessive computer world seem quaint. Many users get lost in the dizzying array of initials and definitions so that they aren't sure what any of the wireless protocols and acronyms mean.

Wi-Fi Standards

Wi-Fi networking refers to globally accepted, wireless communication protocols based on the 802.11 standards governing Wireless LANs (WLANs). Wi-Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance (www.wifialliance.com) and does not stand for Wireless Fidelity, as some people believe. Wi-Fi is most often used in local area networks but can be used for wide area networks, music players (Microsoft's Zune uses Wi-Fi for music trading), cell phones, gaming consoles, and automobiles.

A Wi-Fi network is ...

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