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DoS a possible threat to Wi-Fi networks

Over the years, I’ve been involved with several security groups investigating the vulnerability of Wi-Fi networks to denial of service (DoS) attacks. We’ve been very successful at showing how easy it is to fool the Wi-Fi (802.11) protocol and shut down all Wi-Fi users and access points in the area. I’ve been able to accomplish this (of course not with malicious intent) via specialized software running on a laptop without connecting to any of the network’s access points. This method is pretty well known by network culprits and published readily on the Internet. There’s not much that you can do to entirely prevent a DoS attack. Because of the potential harm, you must consider potential DoS attacks before launching mission-critical applications on a municipal Wi-Fi network. If a DoS attack is even a remote possibility, think about how you’ll get by if the network is not available for an indefinite period of time. The benefits of the municipal network in the long term, however, will likely outweigh the disruption of an occasional DoS attack, assuming that the municipality doesn’t depend entirely on the network. In addition, you may be able to significantly reduce DoS threats originating from outside your facility by applying RF shielding to your facility.

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