Joined: 07 Aug 2003
|Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:16 pm Post subject: Book Review - 802.11 Security
Author(s): Bruce Potter, Bob Fleck
Publisher: OReilly http://wwww.oreilly.com
Date Published: 2002
Book Specifications: Softcover, 177 pages
Category: Computer Security
Publisher's Suggested User Level: Not Rated
Reviewer's Recommended User Level: Beginner - Advanced
Suggested Publisher Price: $34.95 US / $54.95 CDN / L00.00 UK
Publisher's URL: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/80211security/index.html
Blurb from back cover:
"This book provides information on the fundamentals of wireless security, Readers will understand how 802.11 networks work and where the weak points are. It is important to know the potential attacks and the real risks in deploying a wireless network before attempting to secure you data... Provides practical solutions for all major components of an 802.11 network. Station security configurations are documented for many operating systems, including Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, MacOSX, and Windows.."
The book under review is an excellent guide for beginners to get started with building and securing wireless networks, on a variety of platforms. It starts off with an introduction to such networks, their underlying technology, their advantages and drawbacks, and slowly moves on to topics of increasing detail - all the while keeping a clear focus on the ideas and ensuring their lucid conveyance.
Chapter 1. A Wireless world
The book begins with a lucid description of What wireless is - the standards involved, the technologies in use, and the various watchwords in use in the industry today. It goes on to explain about directional and omni-directional antennas, and how the basic signal transmission occurs. The next section covers basic radio transmission - data rates, encoding, signal strength basics, antennas, and other related details.
The structure of the 802.11 protocol, as well as the packet formats, bands in use, etc are dealt with in the next section. The 802.11 MAC structure is dealt with next, the topics covered are WEP, BSS/ESS, Encryption, Authentication methods, and the basic problems faced when using WEP.
Chapter 2. Attacks and risks on the network
The chapter takes into account an example Wireless network which is used to explain some of the more common attacks today - DOS attacks and a layer-by-layer break down of how they work, DOS attacks on wireless networks and analysis over layers, Man in the Middle attacks, and other layer based attack scenarios are mentioned here.
Chapter 3. Security at client stations
This chapter talks briefly about the goals set for client station security, the possible ways of circumventing them - and mentions introductory details about SSH, SSL, and audit logging.
Chapter 4. FreeBSD Security
The next 4 chapters deal in detail with the setup of the client itself, explain about wireless kernel configuration, configuration for security, the startup scripts required, configuring cards, the firewall scripts and configuration, various available utilities for card configuration, audit logging and related concepts. The settings deal with various OSs, from Linux, to the BSDs, and finally MacOSX and windows.
Chapter 5. Linux Security
Chapter 6. OpenBSD Security
Chapter 7. MacOSX Security
Chapter 8. Windows Security
Chapter 9. Setting up an AP (Access Point)
General security aspects and parameters are dealt with here, which are proceeded by WEP key concepts (pun intended , and other processes like log host, MAC Filtering and snmp monitoring. Setting up an AP in Linux, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD is covered in detail, with details of hostAP installation, configuration and setup for all OSs mentioned before.
Chapter 10. Gateway security
The chapter starts off explaining the architecture of gateways, building procedures, configuring firewall rules, and dealing with audit logging.
The next 3 chapters deal with network layout, configuring the kernel, disabling unneeded services, configuring network interfaces, MAC filtering, configuring DHCP, DNS and other settings on the various different OSs named below.
Chapter 11. Linux
Chapter 12. FreeBSD
Chapter 13. OpenBSD
Chapter 14. Encryption and Authentication
The chapter deals with 3 basic methods to encrypt and authenticate data on 802.11 networks - since WEP does not provide the above mentioned facilities. The Portals section discusses about nocat and wicap, and a brief introduction to their usage. The next section talks about IPSec for FreeBSD and linux, providing detailed configuration file directives and their
explanation. The book ends with a section on the upcoming 802.11x protocols, and their salient features.
In my opinion, this book is an excellent primer for those wanting to get started with wireless networking and security issues with them. It leads up the reader from a basic understanding of the subject, to a level where he can start experimenting with and setting up various kinds of networks, on various platforms, and then go about securing them.
The drawbacks to this book are that it tries to deal with a lot of information, and in very little space - which ends up providing the reader only a brief view of the subject itself, and requires him to consult more detailed manuals in order to get in-depth knowledge of the subject.
This book receives an honored SFDC Rating of 8/10.
This review is copyright 2005 by the author (Viksit Gaur) and Security-Forums Dot Com, and may not be reproduced in any form in any media without the express permission of the author, or Security-Forums Dot Com.