BYOD: How will it shape your wireless network security in future? presented at NullCon2013 2013

by Kiran Deshpande,

Tags: Security

Summary : The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) tide is forthcoming. Many enterprises are serious considering allowing employees to use personal smart phones and tablets for work. Modern personal devices assume Wi-Fi or other wireless connections as default. Ethernet based wired connections are not the first choice. It requires enabling Wi-Fi if it’s not available and ensuring that personal devices are managed. Going further, employees will want considerable flexibility in terms of the mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that they want to use at work. They will increasingly carry variety of personal mobile devices at workplace. The resulting flood of smart devices in and around the enterprise premises that have powerful networking capabilities poses new challenges for the network and security administrators. One of the foremost requirements is to detect these devices in the enterprise air space and ensure that users do not use these unless approved by IT. These devices create known Wi-Fi vulnerabilities and also facilitate tethering that makes it easy to fall prey to Wi-Fi insecurity.
Besides known Wi-Fi threats such as rogue APs, honeypots, MAC spoofing and DoS attacks, given below are scenarios that can create wireless vulnerabilities in an Enterprise environment through use of smart devices. These vulnerabilities exist even when no official Wi-Fi exists.
Scenario 1: A smartphone or tablet based Wi-Fi Access converted to a Wi-Fi Access Point is connected to the Enterprise network enabling external un-trusted users to access the network.
Scenario 2: A Wi-Fi hotspot on a smartphone with is used to provide Internet access (tethering). Now, internal users can use the hotspot to send out data bypassing the Enterprise firewall leading to serious data leakage.
Scenario 3: An ad-hoc (peer to peer Wi-Fi) connection among end user smart devices is created within the Enterprise air space for each of communication and data transfer. If one of these users is an Enterprise user, it can proliferate within Enterprise users leading to data leakage.
Scenario 4: Enterprise users who connect smartphones and tablets to open hotspots at Airports, can result in data passing from / to the user smart devices unless VPN is used to secure the connections.
In this presentation, we will discuss important strategies and security controls which can ensure that these devices do not expose enterprise networks to security threats, malware, and data leakage.