Wireless It And Rf Infrastructure For Stores

3830 words - 15 pages

1. Introduction
This document discusses the security implications of the proposed new wireless IT infrastructure for Stores. This document primarily focuses on issues related to the risk of adopting pre-shared keys for authenticating devices, as the risks associated with the end user devices are documented elsewhere.

The following is extracted from the TAD:
Currently there are a number of store devices and applications that rely on the existing Stores RF Infrastructure. The current RF systems were first deployed in stores several years ago. The supplier of these systems, Symbol Technologies has announced end-of-life for all products that comprise the current Stores RF Infrastructure.

Based upon current store opening plans an amount of stock was purchased and stockpiled prior to the Last Purchase date which should provide enough Frequency Hopping equipment to cover replacements and new store openings until the end of May 2007; however this has recently been reduced to the end on Feb 2007. After this date, opening stores with the old RF technology will not be possible.


2. Current Environment

The following is extracted from the TAD:

The security implemented within the existing stores RF environment relies on three elements; the fact that the technology used is quite obscure, the fact that the frequency changes frequently and the fact that a MAC address list is implemented through the use of an in-house application called Hyena.
The Frequency Hopping wireless network makes use of a technology which allows the FH enabled wireless devices and the FH Access Points to switch frequencies simultaneously at regular rapid intervals. This makes capturing or sniffing conversations tricky and would mean that anyone wishing to access the wireless network against our will would require a FH device (quite rare now) and the ability to switch frequencies at the same time as the AP did. This is truly security by obscurity

Further basic security is provided by a MAC address ‘white list’ of all HHT radio cards in the store which is up-loaded to all access points. This MAC-address list is currently administered by both Fujitsu and stores users. It is undesirable for the stores users to administer this list due to the need to remove systems management activities from the stores users so that they can concentrate on retail activities; and as it is seen as a security risk.


3. Proposed Change
The new infrastructure will be based around an 802.11b/g Wireless Network using the following primary components:
• Symbol Wireless Switches (WS5100)
• Symbol Windows Mobile 5 HHT (tbc)
• Symbol Client Bridges (CB3000)
• Zebra Mobile Ticket Printers

Originally it was planned to use a certificate based authentication model similar to the Head Office wireless solution.

It became apparent during testing of the various components from Symbol and Microsoft that there were a number of issues related to the correct handling of certificates...

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