An Overview Of Rogue Access Points In Cybersecurity
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help young learners and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) bring flexibility to business environments yet can pose serious security threats. Employees could install their own access points to more easily connect personal devices – bypassing company policies and opening the door for attackers.
Rogue access points may also be deployed by disgruntled employees with malicious intentions, making detection an essential task that requires regular sweeps of your wireless airspace with sniffing tools.
This photo was taken by Mikhail Nilov and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-wearing-a-black-jacket-8108084/
Table Of Contents
Rogue Access Points (or RAPs) are unapproved wireless devices that access networks and can be used to intercept traffic, deploy malware, or launch denial-of-service attacks. Rogue access points pose serious security threats since they bypass established safeguards by network administrators; furthermore, they allow unauthorized access to wired infrastructure that could compromise data integrity and integrity.
Hackers can install rogue access points to gain entry to confidential business data, typically by harvesting login credentials, credit card data, and other sensitive details from employees’ devices. Hackers also employ these devices as evil twins – fake wireless networks created to look similar to legitimate company networks so that employees connect automatically when asked for credentials by authorized users.
Social engineering is often used by hackers to establish illegal access points. They do this using devices like USB drives that plug into authorized laptops and then act as bridges between their access point and an unauthorized one. Hackers may also employ packet squirrels – an inconspicuous man-in-the-middle hardware tool that blends into other tech and wiring invisibly – or other such methods.
Rogue access points can be installed by anyone, including authorized employees. Installation could involve something as straightforward as an employee connecting their home wireless router directly to the company network or as sophisticated as cyber attackers breaching physical security and connecting an unauthorized wireless access point directly with its corporate network.
Your wireless environment should be regularly scanned for rogue access points using various techniques – manual scanning or automated wireless scanners may work best – this may involve both manual and automated methods of detection. A wireless scanner creates an initial database of available access points in your environment before comparing and flagging any that don’t correspond with its master list – although this may take time if your facility is large, as detecting such threats as soon as they appear can prevent serious disruptions to services and business.
This photo was taken by Anna Tarazevich and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/grayscale-photo-of-a-woman-in-a-futuristic-dress-7650997/.
Rogue access points, devices that have no authorization to join the network, can cause many headaches for businesses. They may steal confidential data or block security devices, take up a lot of bandwidth, slow work speeds down, or launch cyber attacks against the company itself.
Employees are one of the primary vectors through which rogue access points enter a network, either intentionally installing it or accidentally connecting to it. Rogue access points may be difficult to spot because they often appear identical to legitimate access points on a network, with similar SSID names and configuration settings. They could even be located near places frequented by employees.
Rogue access points may gain entry to your network through hacking. Attackers can create these access points to provide outsiders with wireless entry into the private network – giving them an avenue for spying on employees, gathering company info, or conducting other illicit acts.
Rogue access points can also be created by attackers with physical access to corporate networks using an evil twin attack, where attackers design an access point to look identical to existing authorized access points on a network, either using similar SSID names and configuration settings or simply positioning themselves near where users might likely access their network. When users connect to one of these evil twin access points, they inadvertently share private data with the attacker.
Healthcare facilities are particularly susceptible to cyber-attacks because employees frequently lack good cybersecurity hygiene practices. Their focus lies on providing lifesaving services to patients, with cyber security often seen as an impediment to this goal. Unauthorized access points within hospitals may spoof authentic signals, making it hard for employees to detect that they’ve connected to one.
This photo was taken by Yaroslav Shuraev and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-in-brown-coat-with-prosthetic-hand-sitting-on-the-sofa-7689147/.
Rogue access points provide attackers with a way into internal networks and steal data, cause data corruption, disabling of critical systems, and maliciously inject viruses, keyloggers, or pornographic material into them.
An evil twin can also use rogue access points to create an “evil twin,” an unofficial wireless network that attempts to mimic a company’s secure network and hook clients onto it, providing backdoor access into internal systems of an organization.
Although the risks posed by an unauthorized access point are grave, they can often be hard to spot and stop. Employees in large facilities with multiple rooms could easily install one unwittingly without anyone realizing it. One way in which rogue access points are often established is when devices purchased at local business supply stores are plugged directly into network ports without anyone knowing.
Unauthorized employees can easily connect to a rogue access point that appears similar to their secure wireless network since its appearance is easily fooled. An attacker could alter its SSID and MAC address to make it look identical.
Another risk associated with rogue access points is their capacity to monitor network traffic and intercept conversations or direct client devices to fraudulent websites that distribute malware – especially dangerous for healthcare facilities where hackers could gain access to patient safety data that could expose identity.
Organizations can use wireless scanning tools to identify rogue access points by scanning the radio frequency spectrum for those that do not appear on their master list of access points. An RF scan may identify potential rogues by their unique MAC address and by monitoring activity patterns over time.
Staff should be well informed of their company’s policy on unapproved access points and understand any associated risks before connecting. You should create a time-bound amnesty program in order to encourage staff members who may have installed unauthorized access points to report them without feeling judged – instead, using this opportunity as an opportunity to ensure there are no serious data breaches within your organization.
This photo was taken by RDNE Stock project and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-playing-computer-game-7915440/.
Rogue access points often arise as the result of employees installing wireless routers without first notifying IT. While this may have good intentions, such as expanding network capacity, hackers could also use it as a covert attack against an organization from within.
Unauthorized access points provide attackers with a direct gateway into your private network. Depending on their security configurations, an attacker could gain entry to any device connected to this rogue access point, including corporate systems and sensitive information like passwords or credit card data.
To protect against rogue access points, regularly monitor your network using a wireless sniffer program like NetStumbler. Doing this will enable you to identify any unwelcome access points operating within your spectrum by looking at their MAC address, vendor name, and security settings – such as broadcasting the same SSID as authorized network access points, making them seem legitimate and more likely to gain users as customers.
If your network switch is managed, port-based security may be beneficial in protecting it from potential vulnerabilities. This method is implemented by disabling unused ports on the switch and making it more difficult for someone to plug in a wireless access point. You should encourage employees to utilize wired connections whenever possible in order to reduce the chances of an unauthorized wireless access point being added to the network.
At times, a rogue access point will go undetected because it doesn’t respond to ICMP messages and, therefore, won’t show up during network scans. But by using a wireless sniffer, you can quickly be alerted of its presence as soon as it starts transmitting network signals.
Rogue access points pose a substantial security threat. By monitoring your network frequently and instituting stringent policies, you can reduce the chances of an errant access point damaging your organization.
This photo was taken by RDNE Stock project and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/friends-having-fun-playing-a-video-game-7915446/.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.