Types of Wireless Network Attacks: RAP

RAP (Rogue Access Points) have become a huge issue in wireless security. A Rogue Access Point is one connected to a network without authorization from an administrator. With low-end access points steadily decreasing in price and increasing in availability, RAPs have become much more common. Additionally, many of these access points contain features that make them nearly invisible when coupled with legitimate networks, doing a fine job to conceal their presence.

Rogues Access Points are often created by employees looking for additional freedom in the work environment. Many employees simply bring in their access points from home and plug them right into their work stations and the company LAN (local area network) without consent from administrators. These type of RAPs are potentially dangerous as many people who create them are not aware of the security issues associated with a wireless network.

Of course, company employees with good intentions are not the only ones deploying Rogue Access Points. Vengeful associates or even outsiders may secretly insert an RAP into your network within a matter of seconds, saving it for later use. If this access point has DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) enabled, the RAP becomes a rogue server that creates a bigger hole in your wireless perimeter.

How the RAP Works

The following characteristics are involved in the successful deployment of an RAP:

- Discovering the benefits of planting a Rogue Access Point

- Finding a location to work without drawing attention

- Secretly placing the access point in a place that provides maximum range for connectivity

- Turning off the SSID Broadcasting function to make the RAP more difficult to detect

- Disabling all management functions

- Hiding the access point behind a firewall component to block the true MAC address, routing tables and other mechanisms

- Moving on to another access point before being discovered

The Dangers of a RAP on Your Wireless Network

An intruder deploying a Rogue Access Point in your preexisting wireless network can inflict considerable damage. The use of SSID allows the signal to travel far beyond the exterior of your office building, broadcasting your network traffic throughout the town. An RAP can also be made to appear as if it's one of your subnets. This could easily cause staff members in your network to use them for a connection. When the network client connects with the Rogue Access Point and tries to access a server, sensitive information such as usernames and passwords can be stolen and possibly used in future attacks on the network.

As Rogue Access Points continue to threaten wireless communications, experts are suggesting the use of more advanced security implementations. Network monitoring, intrusion detection and analyzing the overall efficiency is critical when it comes to achieving high-quality security.

Protecting Your Wireless Network from a RAP

There are several all-in-one solutions that will limit the effective creation of Rogue Access Points and help sniff out the perpetrator as well.

In a corporate setting, the best protection of all comes with education. Everyone in the network must be familiar with the dangers of Rogue Access Networks along with the repercussions for creating them. When it comes to efficient wireless security, enforcing policies is just as important as applying physical protection.

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