Unauthorized access is most commonly obtained when you have multiple
long-range access points installed throughout your company. These
access points function to increase range so that wireless users can
always access network resources, but the negative aspect is that hackers
can use that extended range to access resources outside the walls of
The most common attack is called the “drive-by,” where a wireless
hacker is driving down the street just looking to see if there are any wireless
network signals that he could either access or eavesdrop on.
One of the best ways to determine if your wireless signal extends too
far is to use site survey tools which measure the range of your access
point transmissions both internally and externally. You can also use
these tools to assess your overall level of security and vulnerability in an
effort to protect your data assets.
Site survey tools are beneficial in creating a “virtual map” of your signal
coverage area. However, it is important to remember that this is only
an estimated coverage map. Each vendor accounts for signal strength differently,
so you must judge each result accordingly and take into account
that the signal may be slightly stronger or weaker than indicated.
Special vendor settings Depending on the specific vendor of your
wireless LAN equipment, it may be possible for you to set additional
wireless settings that can increase or decrease your range accordingly.
For example, if your signal strength is too high and you don’t require an
extensive coverage area, then you can adjust the power levels of your
signal strength in an effort to make it less likely for a hacker to do a
“drive-by” in an attempt to access or eavesdrop on your WLAN.
Directional signals In addition to adjusting the power levels to limit
the range of your wireless network, you may also find it useful to use
directional antenna arrays so that the entire RF signal is focused in the
area where your wireless users will work. There is no need to have an
omnidirectional antenna transmitting your WLAN to the corporate
offices next door, since that just leaves you with a potential vulnerability
waiting to be exploited at your expense.
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