Wavelink Secures RF Connections with WPA
November 11, 2008 Alex Woodie
Wavelink, a developer of software for mobile devices, rolled out a new product last week that ensures only authorized users can connect mobile devices to corporate radio frequency (RF) networks. Called the Avalanche Certificate Manager, the new product will help prevent hackers from stealing corporate assets from rouge devices, while giving companies the user-level customization they need.
The danger posed by wireless LANs and RF networks hit home earlier this year when it was revealed that hackers broke into a major retailer’s servers by logging through unprotected wireless networks, a technique that’s become known as “war driving.” To protect themselves from this danger, companies around the country have started to put security systems in place to block unwanted marauders, using a combination of encryption and digital certificates.
Avalanche Certificate Manager is such a system. The product was designed for Wavelink’s mostly industrial user base, which relies heavily on the System i server and i5/OS-based warehouse management applications, and replaces a potential insecure authentication system that relies on user names and passwords.rn rnAvalanche Certificate Manager uses WPA and WPA2 digital certificates to secure access to RF networks. The software works with Wavelink’s Avalanche Mobility Center and Avalanche CE Secure offerings, and protects data at the device, application, data, and network levels.
The fact that the product can enforce access at various levels and for multiple users is important. “Ruggedized mobile devices based on Windows CE or Windows Mobile have typically only been able to authenticate to a network using a single identity,” says Lamar Van Wagenen, Wavelink president. “Advanced authentication for these devices is often overlooked, which inherently increases the security risks to the data on the device and network.”
Thanks to the granularity of Certificate Manager’s security enforcement, companies with large groups of workers who need access to mobile devices can satisfy their corporate security policies, says Martin Brewer, Wavelink director of R&D. “In the real world, companies need to manage thousands of users, and each of these users would have a unique certificate,” Brewer says.
Wavelink is a Midvale, Utah, provider of terminal emulators and other software that allows users of mobile devices (such as barcode scanners) to connect to host applications, such as an OS/400-based warehouse management system (WMS), via 5250, 3270, VT100, and other common emulation protocols.