The difficulties in keeping a wired network secure are amplified with a wireless network. Security should be a priority for anyone who uses or administers networks.

A WLAN is open to anyone within range of an AP and the appropriate credentials to associate to it. With a wireless NIC and knowledge of cracking techniques, an attacker may not have to physically enter the workplace to gain access to a WLAN.

Security concerns are even more significant when dealing with business networks, because the livelihood of the business relies on the protection of its information. Security breaches for a business can have major repercussions, especially if the business maintains financial information associated with its customers. Wireless networks are increasingly being deployed in enterprises and, in many cases have evolved from a convenience to a mission critical part of the network. Although WLANs have always been a target for attacks with their rise in popularity increasing, it is now a major target.

Attacks can be generated by outsiders, disgruntled employees, and even unintentionally by employees. Wireless networks are specifically susceptible to several threats, including:

On the figure, click each threat for more information.

Note: Other threats, such as AP/wireless client MAC spoofing, cracking, and infrastructure attacks are outside the scope of this chapter.