Featured Paper: Wireless network security: Comparison of WEP mechanism, WPA and RSN security protocols

September 2009


In this edition of the SIGMM Records, we present some background for the paper "Wireless network security: comparison of WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) mechanism, WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and RSN (Robust Security Network) security protocols". Of all papers that were presented at workshops and conferences that were sponsored or co-sponsored by SIG Multimedia, it was the second most downloaded paper in the third quarter of 2008. We have therefore asked the authors to describe the background of their work, their motivation, the problems in performing the research, and possible errata.

Venue: 1st International Conference on Forensic Applications and Techniques in Telecommunications, Information, and Multimedia and Workshop, January 2008

URL: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1363229&coll=portal&dl=ACM

Featured paper by Regu Radhakrishnan

Dr. Halil Ibrahim Bulbul is currently working as a Assoc.Prof. at Department of Computer Education of Faculty of Industrial arts Education of Gazi University. He has been teaching various computer courses within the department. He received his Ph.D. degree from Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey, M.S.c. degree from California University of PA, U.S.A, in 1997 and 1990, respectively, and his B.S. degree from Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1985. His research interests include Computer Network, Computer hardware, educational technologies, e-learning, web based education, distance education, educational software design, and database management systems.

Dr. Ihsan Batmaz is currently working as Assist.Prof. at department of Machine Education of Technical Education Faculty of Gazi University. He received his Ph.D. degree from Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey. M.Sc. degree from Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1996 and 1993, respectively, and his B.S. degree from Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1988. His research interests include Computer Systems, Internet Technologies, Machine Technologies, Internal Combustion Engines.

Mesut OZEL, is currently a Ph.D. student in Department of Industrial Technology Education Department of Industrial Arts Education Faculty of Gazi University. He received his first M.S.c. degree from University of Pittsburgh PA, USA in Industrial Engineering Department in 1999 and his second M.S.c. degree from Computer Education Department of Industrial Arts Education Faculty of Gazi University in 2007. He received his B.S. degree in Electrics-Electronics Engineering in 1990. His research interests are; neural networks, optimization, decision making, computer security, wireless networks, cryptology and cryptoanalysis, steganography and software design.

Background of the work

The decision makers, who usually decides or makes the final decision about the technological investments of a company or an organization, are supposedly non-technicals. The IT staff of a company are definitely a technical group. So there must have been a safe way of communication mechanism in between them.

It is a hard task, not only for the IT staff but also for the managers to communicate mutually and understand each other thoroughly on technical issues. IT staff look for the technical aspects of the service, where the managers or decision makers look from different perspectives, as of budget constraints, strategic planning requirements, customer satisfaction, remodelling of the current infrastructure, training of personnel and most importantly internal and external opportunities and threats etc.

Motivation for the work

The IT staff that works for the company and management, should produce every possible technical decision alternatives for the management. The possible alternatives that are to be put forward should have been examined thoroughly in advance. Anticipated benefits and drawbacks that are associated with each decision alternative are to be deeply interrogated.

Managers are always busy and they have limited time. The most effective way for submitting decision alternatives to the management might be the comparison of the every possible technological alternative along with the weaknesses and strengths associated with it. Unless a comparison over the alternatives is done and submitted to the management, the decision process might become tedious for the management. Doing so would definitely facilitate the decision process.

As one of the most popular IT service and facility, which has advantages over the traditional wired networks, wireless networks are rapidly emerging in every part of daily life. Wireless is a non-secure technology if not used with special attention to the details. There are currently three possible security mechanisms/protocols for the wireless computer networks that might be employed.

The paper that we have written mainly discuss the wireless security mechanisms/protocols in this respect. On behalf of the IT staff, we have aimed to reach the non-specialist readers, namely, decision makers, managers, casual users, students and etc. in order to explain the alternative security precautions.

Research Problems Encountered

Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) mechanism and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) protocol usage was common and there were well accepted during the research period. Where an important percentage of the users employ no security over wireless networks. So technical and user feedback data over the aforementioned these two could easily be accessed.

But for the Robust Security Network (RSN) protocol no usage data and no feedback were available, except for the technical draft written specifications.

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