How To Protect Wi-Fi Networks on School Campuses

By Jeff Orloff Mobile computing is quickly becoming the cornerstone of education in America. Whether schools are purchasing mobile devices for students or they are adopting a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, students who are not incorporating smart phones, iPod touch devices, tablets or laptops into their learning are rapidly finding themselves on the wrong side of a new digital divide. But of course, to take full advantage of mobile computing in the classroom, you need a connection to the Internet, and for a mobile device, this means a connection via Wi-Fi. This can pose some security risks, especially for schools. When it comes to security, Wi-Fi can quickly turn from a perfect solution to a perfect nightmare because of any number of the following security concerns. Here are the most common security issues and how to solve them. Rogue Access Points This threat takes place when the attacker sets up a fake access point that tricks users into connecting to it, rather than through a legitimate connection. Whether it’s a student or teacher connecting, the traffic can be sniffed for any information that passes through the rogue point, compromising confidential information or user credentials. Additionally, rogue access points cause service degradation in the TTL value in all packets that traverse through it. And if configured to do so, rogue access points can assign IP addresses to wireless devices instead of the school’s DHCP server, causing a loss of service. This is usually one of the first indications that there is a rogue access point on your network. Once a rogue access point has been identified, locating and removing...

What We’re Reading, Week of 5/23

eWeek, Businesses Want Remote Access, Data Protection and On-Premises Backup: Survey Network World, RSA tokens may be behind major network security problems at Lockheed Martin InformIT, Data Leakage During a Time of Economic Recession Los Angeles Times,  Bank of America data leak destroys...

Interop 2011: Doug Mohney, HD Voice News on Shredding Hard Drives

To usher in the unofficial start of summer, we thought we’d deviate from our usual realm of network security. At Interop, we caught up with Doug Mohney, editor-in-chief of HD Voice News. He told us about his favorite Interop physical security trend — hard drive shredders. Yes, that’s possible.  Mohney explains it better than we can, so we’ll turn it over to him now. Have a great Memorial Day weekend....

Interop 2011: Video Interview with Joanie Wexler, Part 2 – IPsec vs. SSL

 Here’s part 2 of our video interview with Joanie Wexler, a regular contributor to Network World’s WirelessAlert column. We asked Wexler for her thoughts on the IPsec vs. SSL debate. Do you agree with her? Also, stay tuned for our final Interop video tomorrow (this is a quirky one!), then next week we’ll be resuming our series on Branch Networking and look into Wi-Fi security issues for schools. Lots of good stuff coming up!...

Take Two VPN and Call Me in the Morning: Why Healthcare Solution Providers Rely on VPNs to Avoid IT Headaches

By Robert Dutt For resellers and other IT solution providers supporting healthcare clients, VPN is ubiquitous a tool as is the stethoscope their customers use every day “We will not support a client without a VPN. Period,” says Moshe Birnbaum, director of operations at EZ MSP, a Yonkers, NY-based solution provider. Fellow solution provider Stemp Systems Group, out of Long Island City, NY, considers the technology as an equally important component of its healthcare business. President and founder, Morris Stemp, says the company currently maintains some 750 VPN-based connections to its clients. So, why are VPNs so critical for healthcare solution providers? For one, VPNs are a significant part of the infrastructure these providers deploy and maintain for their customers. And, VPNs are the platform on which to build new applications and solve deep-seeded customer problems. “Part of the Infrastructure” Both EZ MSP and Stemp offer managed IT services for healthcare clients  — from doctors’ offices to hospitals. This means, in some cases, the solution providers act as a completely outsourced IT department — especially for many smaller clients. To successfully do this, solution providers need a VPN to quickly access technology on clients’ networks and to make sure everything is running as smoothly as possible. “We look at [VPN] as part of the infrastructure,” Birnbaum says. “It’s also a service opportunity that’s covered under the company’s support contract with their customers.” Stemp says that with just an IP address, his company can connect to any of its clients in seconds. To maximize uptime for customers’ mission-critical systems, the company rolls out dual redundant firewalls and Internet connections with...