Wireless Network Penetration Testing

While wireless networks have made it easy for organizations to access their organization’s network from different locations, this has also simultaneously increased the risk as it’s outside the physical premises of the firm. Wireless network penetration testing comes in at this juncture to ensure that all configurations are completed properly and potentially vulnerable entry points are detected.

Insecure wireless networks pose security risks to the organization since they can compromise sensitive data, increase the potential for data leaks, and gain unauthorized access to corporate networks for placing malware.

What are the benefits of wireless network penetration testing?

The use of wireless technology has become rampant throughout various businesses due to the ease and simplicity of access. However, the vulnerabilities that pop up in this regard can cause dire security issues since physical protection can no longer ensure the restriction of access. There are some other benefits associated with wireless network penetration testing that often makes it a periodic necessity.

  • Ensuring compliance with industry standards such as PCI-DSS
  • Possible misconfigurations in wireless devices and rogue access points
  • Detecting existing vulnerabilities within the network
  • Reduced possibility of data leaks
  • Valid proof – after testing – to support the wireless network security agenda
  • Ensures that the latest security patches are implemented for the wireless network and connected devices to reduce the chances of security risks
  • Preventing the occurrence of unauthorized entry into the wireless network
  • A complete security audit and pentest report of the company network to increase customer trust and loyalty

What are the common vulnerabilities discovered in wireless networks?

Targeted hacking attempts against corporate wireless networks are on the rise during the pandemic period with attackers setting up rogue access points in nearby spaces for easy breaching. Some of the typical vulnerabilities that are usually discovered in wireless networks that allow these kinds of hacking attempts are:

  • Lack of network segregation between different wireless networks – Lack of SSIDs allow less secure wireless guest networks to connect to internal networks, stepping beyond its security barriers
  • Exposure of sensitive information – Such data leaks could lead to easy data theft and the consequent failure of compliance standards
  • Weak network traffic encryption – Inadequate encryption techniques provides hackers with the opportunity to read sensitive data remotely
  • Unidentified network devices – Any unidentified or undocumented devices on the company’s wireless network should be a cause for concern
  • Weak user credentials or pre-shared keys (PSKs) – Weak password policies allow hackers to easily guess login details and access the network from nearby spaces
  • Client susceptibility to rogue access points – Wireless clients could fall prey to hackers and be targeted with credential loss and data theft attacks
  • Lack of segregation between wireless clients – this allows your visitors to gain access to employee networks

Wireless Network Penetration Testing Methodology

According to the different types of wireless networks in place, an ideal combination of manual and automated pen testing approaches is used to connect to the company’s wireless network through the vulnerabilities discovered.

Before stepping into the testing procedure, the stage of gathering information will be conducted which will include the following:

  • For the network segregation testing, the IP address ranges of the controller should be provided along with the credentials for accessing it. Since it’ll be a read-only account, all areas of the controller will be inspected by the testing team
  • If a WPA-Enterprise network is within the scope of testing, a company device will be required for accessing the network with administrative rights for evaluating the configuration security.
  • A comprehensive list of wireless SSIDs
  • Latest network diagrams with information on both the wireless and wired networks
  • An office location within the range of the wireless networks to be tested
  • A signed, verified and completed testing form

Here are some steps involved in the pentesting methodology:

  1. Weak encryption protocols should be identified for the exploitation of vulnerabilities and gaining subsequent entry
  2. Understanding the authentication and authorization procedures before gaining entry through a security loophole
  3. Using hacked pre-shared keys for gaining remote access without being within the building
  4. Identify the rogue access points that are placed in the organization’s building and attempt to get employees to connect to them. If this is successful, further attacks can be initiated through the employee workstation to enter the corporate internal network.
  5. Wireless networks that utilize WPA-Enterprise authentication will be tested with a configuration review using a sample wireless client (a network device) for gathering information and designing attack methods
  6. Design authentication attacks against the wireless devices connected to the network and all of its access points
  7. Detecting possible data leaks when users connect to the wireless network
  8. Engineer spoofing attacks to find out the security response of the network

This is an extensive guide on wireless network penetration testing and the various questions that arise when firms evaluate its importance for their daily operations. Regular penetration testing is always a crucial part of any firm’s cybersecurity strategy, especially network pentesting due to its importance in data transfers and business activities.

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