Hacker Attacks Blocked by Aruba Networks' Military-Grade Wireless at Black Hat

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 08-12-2011 Print Email
Aruba Networks announced it had contained over 8,000 attacks on its wireless networks by deploying government-ready MOVE architecture at Black Hat.

Aruba Networks detected and contained more than 8,790 security events over the wireless networks it deployed for the annual Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, the company said.

The attacks included "670 rogues, 191 AP flood attacks, 489 instances of AP spoofing, 579 instances of IP spoofing, 1,659 'Hotspotter' attacks and 1,799 'Block ACK' attacks," Aruba said Aug. 11. Hotspotter refers to a tool used to create phony access points with phishing pages to capture log-in credentials, launch man-in-the-middle attacks and infect hosts. Block ACK is a type of denial-of-service attack against wireless clients.

Aruba maintained three different wireless networks for Black Hat, including one WPA (WiFi Protected Access) network, one PEAP (Protected Extensive Authentication Protocol) network that required users to self-register and one EAP-TLS (Extensive Authentication Protocol-Transportation Layer Security) network with Aruba's Mobile Device Access Control built in for users with iOS devices. Signs listing the correct network SSID (service set identifier) and the key necessary to access the main PSK (pre-shared key) network were posted at regular intervals throughout the conference. Users interested in the PEAP and EAP-TLS secured networks had to accept certificates before getting network access.

"This scheme seemed to work very well in a hostile environment like Black Hat with no pre-established trust in users or secure means to provision credentials," said Robbie Gill, an Adobe engineer.

The Aruba controller was configured to block all spoofing attacks, and users were not allowed to communicate with each other on the network to "protect them from each other," Gill said.

The wireless network for the conference was based on the Aruba MOVE (Mobile Virtual Enterprise) architecture. MOVE supports the Suite B cryptography developed by the National Security Agency to secure sensitive information on commercial communications products, making it possible to create a mobile infrastructure that could be just as secure as wired networks, Patrick Guerin, CTO of Key Management Systems, told eWEEK.

"Government agencies need a solution that combines commercial technology with stronger underlying cryptographic algorithms," Guerin said.

Employees working with highly sensitive or classified data will be able to use commercial mobile devices, such as iPhones, iPads and Android devices, to securely access classified networks through MOVE, Travis Howerton, CTO of the National Nuclear Security Administrator, told eWEEK. With Suite B support, NNSA can deploy sensors in classified environments to collect data and transmit them back to the agency securely, Howerton said. They wouldn't have to have people make rounds to collect the data, which would reduce costs.


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