What You Need to Know About WLAN Security

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Executive Summary

At the turn of the millennium, the security mechanisms available for wireless LANs were insufficient for the privacy needs of a corporate enterprise. This became all-too clear when cryptography experts exposed the vulnerabilities of an early encryption standard called WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) in 2001, and many enterprises decided, wisely, that WLANs were not yet safe. Today the wireless industry offers security mechanisms that can, if configured correctly, render a wireless LAN even safer than a wired network. In lieu of WEP there is WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access). Based on the IEEE 802.11i security standard, it uses algorithms based on AES, and it provides highly advanced key encryption. However, securing a wireless network requires much, much more than a checklist of encryption acronyms.

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