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Design of Cyberwar Laboratory Exercises to Implement Common Security Attacks against IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks

DOI: 10.1155/2010/218271

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In wireless network communications, radio waves travel through free space; hence, the information reaches any receiving point with appropriate radio receivers. This aspect makes the wireless networks vulnerable to various types of attacks. A true understanding of these attacks provides better ability to defend the network against the attacks, thus eliminating potential threats from the wireless systems. This work presents a series of cyberwar laboratory exercises that are designed for IEEE 802.11 wireless networks security courses. The exercises expose different aspects of violations in security such as confidentiality, privacy, availability, and integrity. The types of attacks include traffic analysis, rogue access point, MAC filtering, replay, man-in-the-middle, and denial of service attacks. For each exercise, the materials are presented as open-source tools along with descriptions of the respective methods, procedures, and penetration techniques. 1. Introduction Wireless networks have gained popularity in many critical areas such as in healthcare centers, hospitals, police departments, military facilities, and airports. Therefore, it is extremely important to enhance the network security in order to protect the information that resides within the network. To achieve this goal, different security protocols have been designed, among which are WEP, WPA, and WPA2. Despite the presence of these protocols, security is still the main concern in the wireless networks. Air transmission is a vulnerable medium, and it provides opportunity for the attackers to intercept the information that will be later used to launch different types of attacks. Consequently, it is important to know different kind of security attacks in order to defend the networks against the attacks and to guarantee the reliability of the wireless networks. Numerous hands-on courses and laboratory exercises have been developed to investigate security flaws in networks and to determine best ways to prevent the attackers from compromising the security of such systems. However, most of the existing laboratory exercises are investigating the wired networks. Meanwhile, most existing wireless laboratory exercises mainly focus on the methods to crack the WEP security protocol [1–4]. In this work, on the contrary, we design a series of laboratory exercises for IEEE 802.11 wireless network security courses. The exercises focus on the types of attacks that have not received much attention in the current wireless laboratories. The laboratory exercises are conducted for students in both graduate and


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