WLAN Security Updates

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

April 24, 2003

A roundup of announcements from a variety of vendors on products and services they hope will deliver a safer experience for WLAN administrators and users.

Chip-maker Intersil said last week that it has made sure its PRISM line of Wi-Fi silicon now have software compatible with the all the current Microsoft Windows operating systems: 98, 2000, Millennium Edition (ME) and XP. The company has also partnered with 802.1X security provider Funk Software of Cambridge, Mass. to make sure the PRISM software's support for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) will "seamlessly integrate" with Funk's Odyssey Client software for 802.1X authentication. (WPA is the standard set forth by the Wi-Fi Alliance as a stepping stone between the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security built into 802.11 products today and the future 802.11i security standard, expected by the end of the year.) Funk recently received a market engineering award from analysts at Frost and Sullivan for "successful market penetration."

Intoto of Santa Clara, Calif. has announced the iGateway SecureAP and iGateway SecureAP-PLUS, its first embedded security software packages for OEMs making access points for the hotspot market. The software uses 802.1X authentication and provides protection against rogue access points and network intrusion. Future versions are expected to support WPA and user roaming. The PLUS version comes with a built-in authentication server, so there's no need for a separate RADIUS server.

Interlink Networks of Ann Arbor, Mich., makers of the Secure.XS 802.1X solution for both Windows and Linux operating systems (which can be embedded into appliances), has entered a deal to integrate San Mateo, Calif. based Bluesoft's AeroScount WLAN location/positioning system. By doing so, Secure.XS's 802.1X authentication will take a user's location into account before allowing full network access. The company's say they are doing this to prevent so-called "drive-by hacking." This solution is in trials and they expect it to be commercially available in the third quarter.

Still in the realm of location-based wireless, Newbury Networks of Boston has released a new version of its WiFi Watchdog software for securing against wireless intruders. It will still offer a specialized edition for major enterprise deployments. This new $9, 995 "standard edition" comes packaged with four of Newbury's LocalePoints, used for monitoring the airwaves, and all the bells and whistles of the original WiFi Watchdog product, which layers over top of Newbury's Locale Server.

Finally, Natick, Mass. market research firm Sage Research published findings this week from a round table it held on April 7 with several IT and telecom "decision makers and influencers." Among the sad revelations were that (despite there being many products to thwart intruders being on the market) few of the participants are running any kind of intrusion detection system on their networks -- even though most are extremely apprehensive about WLAN security. They're so nervous that many haven't deployed WLANs at all. They cite the need for stronger encryption capabilities before they'll use wireless.



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