Powerful wireless security tools for free

Wednesday, 20 August 2003, 2:51 PM EST

Despite the best efforts of developers and standards bodies, wireless LANs (WLANs) are still the poster child for unsecured networks. Wireless network-security protocols contain enormous loopholes, coverage areas leak like a broken faucet, and many administrators do not even bother to turn on the security features that come with their systems.

As a result, for many network managers, security is still in the Stone Age. So, simple things like analyzing network traffic, detecting rogue access points, and determining the network's coverage area are vital tasks. Fortunately, there are many good tools for performing those functions, and three popular ones -- Kismet, NetStumbler and AirSnort -- are available as freeware.

Are these three programs capable tools that can help IT managers in their quest to rein in WLAN security? Maybe, and maybe not.

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