Wireless communication provides users many benefits such as portability, flexibility, reduced hardware need and lower installation costs. Wireless local area networks (WLANs) for example allow users the ability to carry their laptops from place to place without any physical wires and without losing network connectivity.However, some amount of security risk is always associated with wireless networks. The most significant security risk for wireless technology is the potential outsiders have in gaining access to the communications medium, the communications medium being the air waves. Though WLANs provide the users with the option of roaming, this convenience is facilitated by broadcasting packets to anyone with compatible equipment within range of a transmitting device. This broadcasting of packets induces a compromise between convenience and security. Having an unsecured WLAN can result in a loss of service, or can be used as a staging area to launch attacks against other networks. The significant challenges faced today in securing wireless LANs are maintaining privacy, data confidentiality, and preventing unauthorized access using proper access control mechanisms.As wireless networking and security become more prevalent in the market, more and more computer science programs are incorporating courses in wireless networks or at the least, devoting a significant percentage of the advanced networking courses to wireless topics. As a result, in addition to industry practitioners, there is a growing interest among university researchers and faculty regarding tools used in monitoring and assessing security threats for wireless networks.This paper will demonstrate and evaluate a free and open source software tool, called Network Stumbler, used for monitoring and assessing security threats for wireless networks. Network Stumbler is a Windows-based tool that allows you to detect Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) using 802.11b, 802.11a and 802.11g. It has many uses:• Verifies that your network is set up the way you intended.• Find locations with poor coverage in your WLAN.• Detects other networks that may be causing interference on your network.• Detects unauthorized "rogue" access points in your workplace.• Helps aim directional antennas for long-haul WLAN links.• Can be used recreationally for WarDriving.
Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges
Victor Clincy and Ajay Sitaram Krithi. 2006. Evaluation and illustration of a free software (FS) tool for wireless network monitoring and security. J. Comput. Small Coll. 21, 3 (February 2006), 19-29.