Intersil Looks Beyond WEP

Looking to plug the security holes in wireless local area networks (LANs),
802.11 chipset maker Intersil Corp. announced new
security software it called “a significant first step toward a totally
automated and secure wireless environment.”

Intersil said the new software extends 802.1x to pre-XP Windows operating
systems and supports the major authentication standards, including EAP-TLS,
EAP-TTLS, Cisco’s LEAP, and MD5. The software adapts to its security
environment, providing key distribution to authenticate users.

Security concerns are a top issues facing
the booming 802.11 industry
. Recent research by the Gartner Group warned
that 30 percent of enterprises using wireless LANs would experience serious
security exposures before the end of the year.

The Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption developed in 802.11’s early
days is the culprit usually fingered for the porous defenses. Many in the
industry hope that 802.1x, a standard developed by the Institute of
Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ Task Group I, will solve part of the
security puzzle by providing a robust tool for authenticating wireless LAN users.

“While standard WEP encryption provided some level of security and privacy
in the wireless LAN space, authentication of the user and the ability to
rapidly change the encryption key to foil hackers and eavesdroppers have
been the missing elements,” Dave Feller, director of marketing for
Intersil’s wireless networking product group, said in a statement.

Irvine, Calif.-based Intersil is a leading 802.11 chipset maker. Gartner
estimates the 802.11 chipset market will grow from 7.5 million manufactured
last year to 45 million in 2005. Last week, the company announced it would make a dual band chipset, called PRISM Duette, which
will configure to both the 802.11g and 802.11 standards. Duette is slated
for availability sometime early next year.

News Around the Web