IBM Improves Wireless Monitoring Tool

Self-sensor and self-diagnosis capabilities are added to the Distributed Wireless Security Auditor.

IBM on Monday announced an improved version of its wireless security monitoring tool, adding self-sensor and self-diagnosis capabilities.

Known as the Distributed Wireless Security Auditor, the software runs on Linux-based desktops and laptops and as a thin client on personal digital assistants and other wireless devices.

The software can locate rogue and misconfigured wireless LAN access points and then report the results back to the central server. The software is essentially a wireless packet sniffer and is able to determine the location of access points based on their signal strength.

The DWSA system needs at least three of the wireless clients to pick out each access point in order to triangulate on its position, IBM said.

The security of wireless networks based on the 802.11b protocol has been suspect for years, as researchers and security experts have found numerous ways to defeat the protocols WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption. Consequently, many WLAN operators dont even bother to activate WEP, leaving their networks transmissions completely open to snooping.

And as the price for WLAN access points has dropped over the last year, many administrators have found that end users have bought and installed them without authorization, potentially opening a hole into the corporate network.

IBMs DWSA will be generally available later this year, and a Windows-based version is in the works as well.

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