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NIST SP 800-48 Wireless Network Security
Wireless Network Security: 802.11, Bluetooth, and Handheld Devices
on Tuesday 17 January 2006 print the content item {PDF=create pdf file of the content item^plugin:content.31}
in NIST.gov Publications > Special Publications - SP 800 series

Securing Wireless Network Security 802.11, Bluetooth and Handheld Devices Guidelines. Wireless security introduces security challenges not found on wired networks.

Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology for securing wireless network devices.

Download NIST Special Publication 800-48.

Please use the NIST.org Forum to ask questions or discuss this document.


Risks are inherent in any wireless technology. Some of these risks are similar to those of wired networks; some are exacerbated by wireless connectivity; some are new. Perhaps the most significant source of risks in wireless networks is that the technology’s underlying communications medium, the airwave, is open to intruders, making it the logical equivalent of an Ethernet port in the parking lot. The loss of confidentiality and integrity and the threat of denial of service (DoS) attacks are risks typically associated with wireless communications. Unauthorized users may gain access to agency systems and information, corrupt the agency’s data, consume network bandwidth, degrade network performance, launch attacks that prevent authorized users from accessing the network, or use agency resources to launch attacks on other networks.

Specific threats and vulnerabilities to wireless networks and handheld devices include the following:
  • All the vulnerabilities that exist in a conventional wired network apply to wireless technologies.
  • Malicious entities may gain unauthorized access to an agency’s computer network through wireless connections, bypassing any firewall protections.
  • Sensitive information that is not encrypted (or that is encrypted with poor cryptographic techniques) and that is transmitted between two wireless devices may be intercepted and disclosed.
  • DoS attacks may be directed at wireless connections or devices.
  • Malicious entities may steal the identity of legitimate users and masquerade as them on internal or external corporate networks.
  • Sensitive data may be corrupted during improper synchronization.
  • Malicious entities may be able to violate the privacy of legitimate users and be able to track their movements.
  • Malicious entities may deploy unauthorized equipment (e.g., client devices and access points) to surreptitiously gain access to sensitive information.
  • Handheld devices are easily stolen and can reveal sensitive information.
  • Data may be extracted without detection from improperly configured devices.



(Some of the NIST Special Pub 800-48 description above is from NIST.gov, edited)





NIST Special Publication # 800-48


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