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This process is known as "dynamic WEP" and obviates the need to publish or otherwise disseminate static keys with the inherent associated security risks.
Current implementations of this approach are proprietary and closely coupled with the 802.1x-based authentication method described below.
Vanderbilt will recommend and encourage the use of Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP)-based authentication and encryption based on the 802.1x standard when it is ratified sometime later this year.
In the interim, pre-standard implementations from Cisco Systems and Microsoft (LEAP and EAP-TLS (Transport Level Security) respectively) should be used whenever possible.
Both EAP-TLS and LEAP are supported by current versions of Cisco AP operating system.
In addition to the features described above, the EAP methods provide the following benefits: Mutual authentication between the wireless client and RADIUS server which helps prevent "Man in the Middle" attacks (in which a third party intercepts communications from both ends, masquerading as the other end to each party.) The encryption process uses secure key derivation - hash values sent over the wire are useful for one-time use only at the start of the authentication process and additionally, the initialization vector is changed on a per-packet basis to prevent attackers from exploiting messages.
Additionally, the sharing of keys directly between the AP and client means that both sides must be using the same key value. The first is by manually entering the value into both systems, a process known as "static WEP." (The Cisco APs currently in use support up to 4 static WEP keys per device.) The second requires the use of a third element, a back-end server which supplies WEP keys on a continuously rotating basis to both the client and AP.
In addition, three key elements have been identified as being important goals in the development of standards in this area: 1.
The standard must provide a means for information to be communicated as securely as possible. The standard must allow a wireless LAN user from any part of campus to seamlessly use wireless services in any other part of campus. The standard must provide for use of wireless LAN services by visitors to campus, such as those attending seminars or meetings.
Most of these networks are now switched so that individual traffic is not shared across ports.
This kind of network architecture is more difficult to tap and is in general more secure than older shared technologies.