Securing Wireless Network-based IDPS (NIDPS)

In this blog post we are going to make an introduction to how to secure wireless intrusion detection and prevention systems. Let’s start with a quick definition of IDPS as a refresher.

What is a wireless intrusion detection and prevention system?

A wireless IDPS watches and analyzes wireless network data in order to detect possible issues with wireless protocols at Layers 2 and 3 of the OSI model. However, wireless IDPSs are incapable of evaluating and diagnosing problems with protocols like TCP and UDP, which are higher-level protocols. You can implement wireless IDPS functionality into a system that serves as a wireless access point.

How do sensors work?

Wireless network sensors can be found at access points, on specialized sensor elements, or integrated into specific mobile terminals. Similar to other network-based IDPSs, centralized management stations gather data from these sensors and integrate it into a thorough assessment of wireless network attacks.

General and security issues with wireless IDPS deployment

The following challenges are involved in the deployment of wireless IDPSs:

Physical security: Most wireless network sensors are placed in public places such as meeting rooms, gathering areas, and corridors to achieve the greatest network range feasible. Some of these places may even be outside. Furthermore, an increasing number of corporations are designing networks in remote regions. As a result, such equipment’s physical security may need further management and inspection.

Sensor range: The range of a wireless device can be influenced by climatic factors, facility architecture, and the wireless network card and access point performance. Some IDPS solutions enable organizations to choose the best position for sensors by simulating the wireless footprint depending on signal power.

Placement of access points and wireless switches: To improve the IDPS sensor detection grid, wireless components with integrated IDPS capabilities must be properly installed. You must protect yourself against an attacker connecting to a wireless access point from a distance well beyond the minimum range.

Wired network connections: When transmitting and receiving traffic between stations and access points, wireless network components operate autonomously of the wired network. A network connection, on the other hand, eventually merges wireless traffic with the company’s wired network. Also, it may be hard to deploy a sensor in areas where there is no wired infrastructure.

Cost: The greater the number of sensors deployed, the more expensive the design. Because wireless components are often more expensive than their wired equivalents, the total cost of ownership of IDPs should be closely reviewed.

In addition to the usual sorts of attacks identified by other IDPs, the wireless IDPS may identify current WLAN devices for enumeration reasons, as well as the events following:

  • WLANs that are not permitted,
  • unsecured WLAN devices,
  • abnormal user behaviors,
  • utilization of wireless network analyzers,
  • DoS attacks and circumstances,
  • spoofing, and person-in-the-middle attacks.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Wireless IDPs

  • Wireless IDPSs are often more reliable than other forms of IDPSs, owing to the smaller number of packets/frames that must be inspected.
  • They can not, however, identify some passive wireless protocol attacks where the attacker does not conduct active scanning and probing.
  • Attackers can build customized evasion strategies to exploit the device by just peeking at wireless devices, which are frequently available in public places. Wireless IDPSs can secure the WLANs they are connected to, but they may be vulnerable to logical and physical attacks on the wireless access point or the IDPS devices themselves.

Conclusion

To review, we have discussed what a wireless IDPS is, what some security best deployment practices are, and lastly, the advantages and weaknesses of a wireless IDPS. Even the strongest IDPS cannot resist a well-planned attack. As security practitioners, we must also be prepared to protect our systems.