In its quest to help enterprises seek out and neutralize all threats to their Wi-Fi networks, AirMagnet is now looking to the skies.
In a free software update to its AirMagnet Enterprise product last week, the Wi-Fi security division of Fluke Networks added code specifically crafted to detect the Parrot AR Drone, a popular unmanned aerial vehicle that costs a few hundred dollars and can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet.
Drones themselves don’t pose any special threat to Wi-Fi networks, and AirMagnet isn’t issuing air pistols to its customers to shoot them down. The reason the craft are dangerous is that they can be modified to act as rogue APs (access points) and sent into range of a victim’s wireless network, potentially breaking into a network to steal data, according to Greg Rayburn, a security analyst at AirMagnet.
“These things are really just flying access points,” Rayburn said. If a network isn’t protected, a rogue access point can be used to break into it and steal any type of data that’s going over the airwaves.
AirMagnet could already identify drone-based rogue APs without the new tool and automatically block them from communicating with the customer’s Wi-Fi controller. But most IT administrators want AirMagnet to alert them to a threat so they can hunt it down themselves, Rayburn said. Enterprises want to know about dangerous gear nearby or determine whether the problem is just radio interference from an innocent neighbor’s AP.
The update allows AirMagnet to identify the telltale signs of an AR Drone so it can alert the administrator to look out for one when searching for the threat, Rayburn said. “Now I’ve got a bit more of a direction I need to go,” he said.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com