Chuka University

ATTACK SUSCEPTIBILITY OF KNOWN ATTACKS ON IEEE 802.11 PUBLIC WLAN

Mwathi, D.G.1, Opiyo, E.2 and Odongo, O.2

ABSTRACT

Besides WLAN networks popularity in many places, they have security concerns. Whereas efforts have been made to address the security concerns, design flaws in the security mechanisms of IEEE 802.11 standard such as support for vulnerable authentication methods, and poor configurations give rise to a number of potential attacks. Consequently, readily available WLAN attack software tools make exploitation of these weaknesses relatively easy. This paper describes various WLAN attacks together with the vulnerabilities exploited and analyzes the attack susceptibility based on availability of attack tools and ease of their usage in the context of developing countries. The researcher analyzed attack susceptibility of 30 attack tools. Findings revealed that there are many tools that can be used to exploit WLAN vulnerabilities to launch attacks. The attack susceptibility of denial of service, man in the middle and cipher suite attacks were high. Many of the attack tools were open source, multi-platform and downloadable from the vendor website which made their usage level high. The high attack susceptibility suggested that the risk of attack is quite high in developing countries where institutions allocate low budgets on computer and network security design and implementation. Although all risks in using a WLAN network cannot be mitigated, keeping up-to date and implementing all reasonable measures should make WLAN reasonably safe from attack. Institutions need to prioritise and allocate reasonable resources to protecting WLANs against attacks.

Keywords: WLAN attack susceptibility, Cipher suite attacks, Man in the middle attacks, Denial of service attacks, WLAN vulnerabilities; Attack tools.

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