Wireless Network: Data and Information Security

Introduction

Network security is essential in any network infrastructure. Despite the shortcomings of a wireless network in relation to confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data, an enhanced security can be realized through altering the system ID, disabling identifier broadcasting, encrypting data, using firewalls, and protecting workstations.

Securing Wireless Network

Securing a network is both a technical and an administrative consideration of information management. It involves securing access to the network and information flowing in the network, access to data stored in the network, and manipulating the data stored and flowing in the network. The scope of the network and access to it is not only covers an enterprise intranet network but also the internet, to which it is connected (Subramanian, 2002). Network security is essential in any network infrastructure. Despite the shortcomings of a wireless network in relation to confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data, an enhanced security can be realized through altering the system ID, disabling identifier broadcasting, encrypting data, using firewalls, and protecting workstations.

Since wireless networks experience unguided signal propagation, it is easy for a hacker or unauthorized person to get into the organization’s system and thus making the network users to experience the following situations in line with data and information transfer: loss of confidentiality, loss of privacy, loss of integrity, and loss of availability. Confidentiality is the need to keep total secrecy over data, while privacy is in relation to protecting data about users.

On the other hand, loss of integrity leads to invalid data, which may cost the firm. More so, loss of availability means that data cannot be accessed (Laudon & Laudon, 2006). In this light, there are security measures which can be followed in order to have a more secured wireless network. The following paragraphs explain these measures.

The first step in securing a wireless network is to change the system ID. This is because many devices are set with their default ID, and thus it may be cheap for an intruder to mark every ID provided by wireless network devices; changing this will ensure that confidentiality is adhered to. Consequently, the second measure may involve disabling identifier broadcasting so that hackers cannot figure out whether the organization has a wireless network (Kaufman, Perlman, & Speciner, 2002). By considering the message integrity, enabling encryption is another essential measure in ensuring security.

Despite its flaws, Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) provides some margin of security if Wi-fi users activate it. A more improved technology is the Wi-fi Protected Access (WPA) which improves data encryption by replacing the static encryption keys used in WEP with longer, 128-bit keys that continually change, making them harder to crack (Posey, 2005). The fourth measure is to restrict unwanted traffic using firewalls. Performing proper configuration of wireless routers will enable the firm to achieve some defense against its private data. Lastly, protecting workstations using firewall software and updated antivirus systems ensure availability and integrity of data flowing over the network.

In conclusion, a more secure wireless network requires proper network management in line with the available network infrastructure. The various ways that can be followed in order to have a secure network include altering the system ID, disabling identifier broadcasting, encrypting data, using firewalls, and protecting workstations. In doing so the following issues can be addressed: 1. confidentiality – which require that only authorized parties can access the data, 2. integrity – which require that only authorized users can modify the data, and 3. availability – which require that data are available to authorized users.

References

Kaufman, C., Perlman, R. & Speciner, M. (2002). Network Security. Delhi: Pearson Education Inc.

Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2006). Management information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm. (9th Ed).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Posey, B. (2005). Wireless Network Security for the Home. Web.

Subramanian, M. (2002). Network Management. Delhi: Pearson Education Inc.