To address security threats to corporate information brought on by increasing deployment of Wi-Fi networks, 3Com has announced its AirProtect Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS). The AirProtect WIPS extends the advanced protection found in wired firewall and virtual private network security systems but with a focus on wireless local area networks (WLANs).

The AirProtect WIPS addresses the problems caused by deployment of unauthorised Wi-Fi access points – called rogue access points – that open up networks to hackers, exposing information about business operations, customers and products. It also prevents users from connecting to incorrect Wi-Fi access points – both internal and external – that can lead to security vulnerabilities. Wi-Fi is a standard for WLANs for businesses, homes and public hotspots that provide wireless access locations.
“In order to deliver a layered security approach across our infrastructure, we wanted advanced wireless protection to provide the same level of security we require for our wired infrastructure,” said KJ Kim, telecom director at the Hawaii Department of Education. “The 3Com AirProtect system completes the network defense started with the encryption and authentication in our wireless products and wired IPS by continuously scanning the airwaves and providing intrusion prevention against unauthorised Wi-Fi activities. To respond to today’s threats, WIPS needs to be part of any organisation’s layered security policy.”
The AirProtect WIPS detects and protects against unauthorised access to wireless networks. It prevents authorised users from connecting to unauthorised access points so data on a user’s computer is not opened to outside sources. The system can also disable all wireless connections, allowing enforcement of “no wireless” policies.
AirProtect WIPS also provides denial of services protection against wireless threats to help keep wireless networks operating at top efficiency. It scans 62 wireless radio channels and prevents up to 20 simultaneous attacks per AirProtect Sensor. AirProtect location tracking assists in removal of rogue access points and clients, including a probability graph that helps network managers find the most likely placements of offending devices.
“As the number of mobile workers grows and mobility extends beyond laptops to include devices such as Wi-Fi phones and handheld devices, AirProtect provides an essential component to corporate security policy enforcement,” says Jeff Schwartz, product manager for Enterprise Wireless Solutions at 3Com.
“It safeguards wireless networks to prevent unauthorised access and data loss, which is essential given the critical nature of data that is being transmitted wirelessly.”
AirProtect Enterprise includes an AirProtect Server that provides central system management of up to 210 AirProtect Sensors, which monitor wireless networks and provides network protection in conjunction with the server. Pricing is based on configuration. For example, a typical starting configuration of one server and 12 sensors has a U.S. list price of $17,043.
Additionally, 3Com offers AirProtect Sentry, which is designed for remote offices and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that can cover their facility with one or two sensors. The AirProtect Sentry provides intrusion detection and prevention in a single box with a U.S. list price of $995.