Hack Proofing Your Wireless Network

Author: Christian Barnes, Tony Bautts, Donald Lloyd, Eric Quellet, Jeffery
Bosluns, David M. Zendzian, Neal O’Farrell (technical editor)
Publisher: Syngress Media
Price: $49.95
Pages: 512
ISBN: 1928994598

Hack Proofing Your
Wireless Network
is a 500-page tome co-authored by a half-dozen people,
most of whom are employed in technical positions at Lucent. Notwithstanding
Lucent’s significant corporate troubles over the past several years, there is
no question that behind those hallowed walls are numerous advanced network technologies,
as well as people qualified to discuss (or write about them).

The title of the book is somewhat hyperbolic, since it’s highly debatable whether
a network, particularly a wireless one, can truly be made “hack-proof.” Perhaps
a more apt title might be “Securing (or Hardening) Your Wireless Network”, since
the book certainly does address these issues.

The book is well organized, and is divided into nine chapters that deal with
such topics as designing a wireless network, common attacks and vulnerabilities,
and monitoring, intrusion detection, and auditing. Also included is a chapter
discussing how to circumvent security measures, because after all, to protect
yourself from a hacker, you need to think like one. Finally, since securing
a network is not all about technology, the book gives pointers on how to define
security guidelines and policies, as well as how to gather data and create and
present reports in a corporate environment.

Hack Proofing Your Wireless Network doesn’t focus solely on 802.11x
wireless LANs. Rather, it discusses the above issues in the context of many
varieties of fixed and mobile wireless networks, including Cellular-based wireless
and HomeRF.

Like many technical books, this one provides a summary (and a FAQ) at the end
of every chapter, but a nice feature of Hack-Proofing Your Wireless Network
is the Solutions Fast Track. This is nothing more than a bulleted list of the
salient topics covered in the chapter, but it’s very useful to help reinforce
the material. It also comes in handy if you want to get the gist of the chapter
without plodding through all the material. There is an appendix which repeats
all the individual chapter Solutions Fast Tracks in case you want to go through
them without jumping around. Consider it akin to built-in Cliffs Notes.

Still, the book’s chapters are modular enough that you don’t really need to
read them serially, and can instead focus only on those chapters which are of
particular interest to you.

The book was copyrighted in 2002, and despite its recent publication it’s still
possible for information to be out of date. For example, the book cites $125-$200
as a typical price for a wireless LAN network card — most standard 802.11b
PC Cards are now under $100. Fortunately, the authors usually refrain from discussing
specific products (though, not surprisingly, there is some discussion of Lucent
ORiNOCO and Cisco Aironet products) or pricing and instead focus on providing
more practical information that doesn’t age.

Given the subject matter, I wouldn’t necessarily call Hack Proofing Your
Wireless Network
an easy read, but it’s not a tough one either. It’s a good
mix of theoretical, conceptual, and practical hands-on information, and does
a good job explaining some pretty esoteric topics.

If wireless network security interests you personally or professionally, you’ll
learn a lot by picking it up.

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