New approach to defending against WLAN parking lot attacks
Meru Networks has introduced RF Barrier, the first IEEE 802.11-based technology for proactively defending wireless networks against eavesdroppers and “parking lot” attackers, who attempt to record and observe network traffic from outside a building’s perimeter in order to steal sensitive and valuable information.
RF Barrier uses wireless LAN technology to block the radio-frequency (RF) signals from the corporate network as they exit the building, without disrupting internal WLAN operation. This limits an attacker’s ability to eavesdrop on data and perform offline analysis. RF Barrier is the first solution using exclusively 802.11 technology to offer wireless perimeter protection for organizations with regulatory requirements or policies regarding data privacy, such as retailers, financial and government institutions, manufacturers and health-care organizations.
The solution protects clients with legacy security mechanisms, such as handhelds and scanners equipped only with WEP or WPA/TKIP, as well as modern WPA2- and EAP-based networks, where it helps prevent the exposure of potentially exploitable information such as user identities. Furthermore, it provides physical wireless security in remote branch offices where no IT personnel are present to detect or stop an attack from outside the site’s physical boundaries.
RF Barrier is installed by mounting a Meru Networks wireless access point along the inside perimeter of a building, and an advanced external antenna outside the perimeter. RF Barrier technology inspects the traffic in real time to determine which part belongs to the WLAN (and is therefore designated as sensitive) and uses the external antenna to block outbound traffic at the RF layer. Would-be attackers are limited in their ability to see useful packet information about the internal network.
Because RF Barrier uses directional antennas and selective enforcement technology, it has no impact on signals within the building or from other networks. Internal clients connect normally, with enterprise access points serving them at full speed. RF Barrier can be turned on and off as needed, giving enterprises the flexibility to allow access at certain times of day while restricting it at others.