AirDefense Walks the WLAN Wire - Page 2

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2008-01-12 Print this article Print

We realized during engagements with various retailers that almost half of the retailers out there have not deployed WPA2 [Wi-Fi Protected Acccess 2] because a lot of their handhelds, bar-code scanners and price-check kiosks continue to use WEP and are not upgradable to better standards. So, AirDefense released WEP Cloaking, a feature of AirDefense Enterprise that has been blessed by auditors to provide a secure and compliant upgrade path that does not require you to upgrade your entire infrastructure and all the handhelds overnight. It is not a replacement for WPA2, but it will provide you necessary security while guaranteeing compliance in the interim.

WEP Cloaking basically locks down a WEP environment by preventing hackers from breaking your WEP key. AirDefense Enterprise sensors monitor the WEP environment and carefully introduce chaff frames--propaganda frames that blend in with regular WEP traffic. When hackers try to sniff WEP packets and use statistical analysis to reverse-engineer the WEP key, those analysis techniques will fail because the chaffing frames will take the cracking tools down wrong paths or prevent them from converging.

AirDefense's patent interference case against AirTight was recently resolved, one of several prominent patent actions in the WLAN industry that took place in 2007. What does this ruling mean for your business?

AirDefense was the first mover into the wireless security arena, and we are by far the market leaders any way you look at it-whether it is revenues or intellectual property. We own the dominant patents in the wireless intrusion detection, prevention and monitoring space, and our current patent portfolio has 27 patents, including six of the earliest, broadest and most dominant patents in the wireless intrusion prevention space.

In this particular instance, there was a patent that was issued in the wireless intrusion prevention space two-and-a-half years after AirDefense's original granted patent, and we questioned the validity of that patent. Through the interference process, our competitor decided to further restrict the scope of its patent, and the USPTO [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office] said that it was differentiated enough that they would allow that patent to stand.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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