News Release

Cisco Systems Extends Cisco Wireless Security Suite

Additional 802.1x Security Features, First SAFE Blueprints for Wireless Networks Provide Safe, Simple and Secure WLAN Protection for Businesses of All Sizes
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Nov 12, 2001

LAS VEGAS, Comdex 2001, November 12, 2001 - Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today announced it has expanded its comprehensive expertise in WLAN security to protect specific business environments within remote, small, medium, and enterprise wireless networks by offering software security enhancements to its Cisco Aironet 350 WLAN Series and introducing its first SAFE security blueprints for wireless networks. The enhancements and SAFE blueprint diagrams provide protection against unauthorized network access by mitigating sophisticated attacks on Wireless LANs (WLANs). Information Technology (IT) managers can now have the confidence to assess, plan, design, deploy, and manage a security-rich environment for wireless applications and transactions while protecting both their organizations and their customers.

"The state of wireless security has been under constant scrutiny since the first 802.11b products were launched in 1999. In the last six months alone, several research teams have uncovered significant design flaws and weaknesses in the original 802.11b security protocol," said Jason Smolek, wireless networking analyst with IDC. "Given the ease with which these vulnerabilities can be exploited, serious changes must be made to protect wireless transmissions."

"Wireless access to information can have a profound effect on productivity gains for business, so the ability to keep information secure is an absolutely critical issue for many businesses today," said Christine Falsetti, director of marketing for Cisco's Wireless Networking Business Unit. "As technologies for circumventing network security systems continue to keep pace with technologies designed to defend against them, Cisco is taking wireless security very seriously and is bringing technological innovations and key technology relationships to the table to allow safe and secure wireless LAN deployments in business networks of all sizes."

Cisco Aironet 350 Wireless LAN Security Enhancements

The WLAN security software enhancements announced today provide additional protection against sophisticated and active wireless LAN attacks, and collectively simplify wireless LAN management by mitigating the deficiencies of static WEP key management. With these enhancements, IT managers can have the confidence to deploy a secure wireless solution with:

  • Dynamic per-user, per-session key enhancements to mitigate a variety of passive attacks. Enhancements detect and drop packets that have been (maliciously) modified in transit.
  • Re-keying policies that can be centrally configured at the AAA servers Access Control Server (Windows-based) or Access Registrar (Unix-based). This key rotation occurs transparent to the end-user. Customers can also configure broadcast key rotation policies at the access points.
  • RADIUS accounting records. Every time a client associates with an access point or disassociates from an access point, this enables a customer to implement recording, auditing, and even charge back for wireless LAN usage.

SAFE Blueprints for Wireless Networks

The SAFE blueprints for wireless networks utilizes a modular approach to securing the network in which security design, implementation, and management processes are specified for customers. Each design module relates to a specific area of the network infrastructure addressing the needs and concerns of securing wireless traffic within a variety of network environments. The SAFE wireless network diagrams take into consideration current security options available for wireless deployments and focuses on solutions that customers can implement in a variety of business environments such as remote, small, medium, and enterprise networks.

Cost and Availability

The new security software enhancements are free as an upgrade to customers and will be available in December 2001 for downloading via the Cisco Software Center for the Cisco Aironet Access Point with software version 11.10, and the Cisco Aironet Client Adapter with software version 8.0. Cisco SAFE Blueprints for wireless networks will also be available in December from the SAFE website at http://www.cisco.com/go/SAFE.

For more information on Cisco Aironet 350 WLAN Series solutions, please visit: http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/779/smbiz/netsolutions/find/wireless.shtml. For more information Cisco SAFE Blueprints, please go to http://www.cisco.com/go/SAFE.