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IBM Develops Wireless Security Service

Helping Protect Against Wireless Hacking and Rogue Access Point Exposures

IBM today announced one of the information technology industry's first comprehensive intrusion detection services designed to help customers protect against security breaches on wireless local area networks.

IBM's wireless intrusion detection service is a managed security service that melds IBM Global Services' security and business continuity capabilities with sophisticated "sniffing" technology developed by IBM's Research Division. Specialized IBM Tivoli software detects security events, while intrusion detection sensor alerts are monitored 24 x 7 in IBM's Boulder, Colorado facility.

Wireless networks, built on the 802.11 networking protocol, provide instant, high-speed access to the Internet without physical cabling and wiring. However, due to the incredible explosion of these networks in public "hot spots," homes and enterprises, potential new security threats have arisen such as unsecured, open access points to internal networks and the potential to expose the information the networks carry.

IBM's wireless intrusion detection service helps protect against:
Wireless encryption breaches - where the encryption key is exposed
Address masquerading - a hacker steals a validated user address and identity
Man in the middle - hacker assumes the access point ID and can eavesdrop
Denial of service - flooding the access point with nonsense traffic in order to clog it
Improperly configured access points - an unlocked, open door to the network
The new service's architecture includes embedded Linux-based sensors, which detect irregularities in the wireless network and identify rogue/unauthorized or unsecured access points. That information is translated into reports that define the nature and severity of the problem, and it is run through a database that identifies trends or patterns to help the intrusion analysts respond. An additional level of protection, dubbed "WI-Dog," checks the physical status of the wireless sensors to help ensure against tampering.

The wireless intrusion detection service, announced at an IBM security briefing in New York City, is available today, and is part of IBM's extensive Security and Privacy Services portfolio.

"With this unique service, IBM is extending its industrial strength security capabilities to the next new level - the mobile workforce," said Kent Blossom, director of safety and security, IBM Global Services. "Wireless Intrusion Detection Services will help our Managed Security Services customers extend their enterprise security resilience into their wireless environment, and in turn will help them overcome a key barrier to achieving the outstanding productivity enhancements that wireless offers."


IBM Global Services is the world's largest information technology services provider, with professionals serving customers in 160 countries and annual revenue of more than $36 billion (2002), or 45 percent of IBM's total annual revenue. IBM Global Services offers a broad range of capabilities -- consulting, IT services, hardware, software, research and financing -- to help companies of all sizes realize the full value of information technology.

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