What are the best methods for handling rogue access points?

Q: What are the best methods of dealing with rogue access points (APs)? Can you suggest a small-scale business network with rogue access points?

A: There are several potential problems with allowing end users to add wireless or other devices to the company network without approval. One big one is they may not employ the proper security measures. There is also the issue of maintaining control of the organisation's infrastructure.

For the smaller organisation there are several layers of control that can be built in to reduce the rouge wireless threat. The first place to start is with policy. All employees should know the rules regarding wireless and what can and cannot be plugged into the network.

Policy enforcement will be easier if you have managed switches. You can disable unused ports and start restricting down active ones by MAC address filtering.

Next, find some tools that will let you scan for rogue access points. There are commercial tools that will do this such as

Requires Free Membership to View

AirMagnet and AirDefense, and if your budget is tight you might want to try an open source tools such as RogueScanner.

Finally, don't be shy about using tools like NetStumbler and other site survey tools to identify access points and verify their legitimacy.

This was first published in June 2008

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.