Wi-Fi is a shared, half-duplex medium. Furthermore, every unicast frame must be acknowledged by the receiver. Combine these facts with a crowded spectrum in most areas, and we have every reason we need to keep unnecessary traffic off the airwaves.
Originally appeared in 2600 Magazine issue 30:4
This article seeks to examine the current state of Wi-Fi security, with a practical emphasis on attack and defense methodology. The proliferation of mobile devices, decreasing cost of deployment, increasing speed, and overall convenience, likely all play huge roles in the snowballing popularity of wireless networking. These benefits do not come without drawbacks, however; it seems convenience and security are inversely related. As we gain one, we lose the other. Wi-Fi security has matured significantly since its birth around the turn of the millennium, starting with open networks and WEP encryption. With insecure networks declining along with the ratification of WPA2 in 2004, it would seem we are moving toward a more secure wireless world. Experience, however, tells a different story.