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Meru Networks Introduces RF Barrier

Meru Networks has introduced RF Barrier, the first IEEE 802.11-based technology for proactively defending wireless networks against eavesdroppers and "parking lot" attackers, who attempt to record and observe network traffic from outside a building's perimeter in order to steal sensitive and valuable information.

RF Barrier uses wireless LAN technology to block the radio-frequency (RF) signals from the corporate network as they exit the building, without disrupting internal WLAN operation. This limits an attacker's ability to eavesdrop on data and perform offline analysis.

'Parking lot' attacks take advantage of wireless propagation, or bleed-through, from within a building through the perimeter and out to a parking lot or other surrounding area. These attacks are entirely passive in nature, generating no network traffic or other sign they are occurring, and are therefore undetectable by conventional wireless intrusion prevention systems (WIPS). In an activity known as "wardriving", attackers drive around the perimeters of enterprises and retail sites, looking for vulnerable or exposed networks. A number of successful and costly parking lot attacks have been perpetrated, one of the most notable involving the theft of millions of users' credit-card records.

RF Barrier is the first solution using exclusively 802.11 technology to offer wireless perimeter protection for organizations with regulatory requirements or policies regarding data privacy, such as retailers, financial and government institutions, manufacturers and health-care organizations. RF Barrier protects clients with legacy security mechanisms, such as handhelds and scanners equipped only with WEP or WPA/TKIP, as well as modern WPA2- and EAP-based networks, where it helps prevent the exposure of potentially exploitable information such as user identities. Furthermore, it provides physical wireless security in remote branch offices where no IT personnel are present to detect or stop an attack from outside the site's physical boundaries.

RF Barrier (patent pending) is installed by mounting a Meru Networks wireless access point along the inside perimeter of a building, and an advanced external antenna outside the perimeter. RF Barrier technology inspects the traffic in real time to determine which part belongs to the WLAN (and is therefore designated as sensitive) and uses the external antenna to block outbound traffic at the RF layer. Would-be attackers are limited in their ability to see useful packet information about the internal network.

Because RF Barrier uses directional antennas and selective enforcement technology, it has no impact on signals within the building or from other networks. Internal clients connect normally, with enterprise access points serving them at full speed. RF Barrier can be turned on and off as needed, giving enterprises the flexibility to allow access at certain times of day while restricting it at others.

RF Barrier is the latest addition to Meru's security solution, which provides security across all four of the major areas subject to active wireless threats: perimeter defense, connection defense, network defense and remote threat defense. Other components of the Meru security portfolio are:
- Rogue prevention, which detects and identifies rogues based on the wired network to which a rogue is connected as well as its over-the-air signaling;
- AirFirewall, based on Meru physical security technology that can eliminate, rather than just contain or mitigate, rogue access points and evil twins attackers;
- Per-user, per-application stateful firewall to allow policy enforcement based on both the user's identity and the nature of the traffic;
- Signature-based firewalling, for enforcing policies on peer-to-peer applications such as Skype, as well as application flows within end-to-end encrypted VPN tunnels;
- Location-based policy enforcement, which implements security decisions based on the location from which an unauthorized user is accessing the network;
- Comprehensive voice and video security, which prevent the introduction of local or network-wide vulnerabilities in the presence of voice, video or heavy data traffic;
- FIPS 140-2-certified algorithms, with military-grade encryption and key negotiation, including EAP-TLS and AES-CCMP using 802.11i;
- Secure remote access points, which extend enterprise security policies and network to the home offices of telecommuters and hotel rooms for mobile employees.

RF Barrier is available beginning September 2008 for networks using any Meru 802.11a/b/g access points.



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