Wireless networks are a notorious security weakness. A new monitoring system might allow sysadmins to sleep easier knowing their networks are being watched around the clock.Logical CSI launched Secure24 Wireless last month. Principal security specialist John Martin (pictured) says the service continually monitors a wireless network and issues an alert when unauthorised access is attempted or when the wireless configuration unexpectedly changes.
A survey of open wireless networks on Queen Street in Auckland conducted by Computerworld in 2001 found that companies commonly left wireless access open to their internal networks. Martin says Logical CSI will devise a wireless security policy with the customer and Secure24 Wireless devices will make sure the policy isn’t breached.
“People are still not really realising the implications of mixing a wireless network with a wired network,” Martin says. “There are many issues that come up in wireless that you would not get in a wired network.”
Secure24 Wireless sensors are placed on a customer’s premises, but a separate internet connection is used so the system will continue to work even if the customer’s network is lost.
Martin says Logical CSI has found people on the street in the early hours of the morning trying to break into a wireless network. He believes wireless networks will eventually encounter somebody trying to break in. “It’s easier to do, I would say, than actually attacking a wired network.”
A side benefit is that the system can gather usage and trends data, such as the time people typically arrive at work and what happens outside work hours. The data can also be used to improve wireless performance, because it will show if an 802.11g network is adversely affected by a nearby 802.11b network, for example.
“With some of our customers you can actually see the microwave come on,” Martin says.
The Secure24 and Secure24 Wireless services are among the features of Logical CSI that IBM liked when it bought the company, according to IBM New Zealand managing director Nick Lambert.
“The security side of [the business] is a great example of their expertise,” Lambert said last week.
Martin says pricing for the service varies, but typically the setup cost is about $1400 and the monitoring and reporting service is about $500 monthly. Setup includes a survey, creation of a wireless policy, documentation, installation and an escalation service, he says.