Leaders in Wireless Security: An Exclusive Security Dealer Roundtable

Panelists this month discuss wireless security products and how dealers can capitalize on this growing market.

Karen Duane Johnson: As the reliance on wireless networks and products grows, there is also a growing concern for wireless network security.   What concerns do you have and how have you or your company taken steps to handle this concern with clients?


Tracy Senstock , systems engineer III, Adesta : The first step in meeting the wireless security challenge is to ensure the customer has a security policy in place that defines what information is to be protected, who should have access and how security should be administered.   Wireless networks broadcast their presence and possibly all the video or data to anyone who happens to be listening.   With the explosion of wireless networks many problems with clear-text protocols were reintroduced.   In addition, wireless networks with little or no security, or security rules and applications incorrectly configured, permit unauthorized users access to networks by bypassing firewalls or other security devices.  


Ray Shilling, vice president of sales and marketing, AvaLAN Wireless: Traditionally 802.11 WiFi systems have proven to be quite vulnerable to network hackers.   This is due to the fact that 802.11 is a published standard that can be reverse engineered by the bad guys. Several manufacturers have developed proprietary closed-loop systems that are not published, resulting in a more secure network which does not transmit a public key that can be intercepted and exploited.

Mark Jarman , president, Inovonics : This is a growing concern because network security has always been a top priority. By developing a repeater-based system, extended wireless security systems are possible in commercial settings.   Our radio platform utilizes a frequency-hopping, spread spectrum technique originally developed by the military containing a proprietary RF protocol that specifically addresses wireless signal security.  


Steve Kuntz, president, MicroTek Electronics: S ecurity is and will always be a concern for networks in general as well as wireless networks.  MicroTek addresses this issue currently by employing the latest WPA2 encryption in its wireless Ethernet systems.   

Joe Maskrey , president and CEO, Novation Wireless Security Systems: In the access control field the possibility of compromising the security of wireless communication is very low.   Current communications encryption technology, together with the continuously changing character of the data being transferred, ensures that even with the most powerful computer systems, the potential for accurately inserting compromising data into a communications stream is low.


Derek Trimble, president, OSI Security Devices: We had the same concerns with the initial slow adoption of wireless as a reliable communications medium. We have seen the development of wireless access control being driven by three strong overriding needs: One is to provide a secure medium for transmission and receipt of data; two is a need to maximize our power efficiencies within the allowable limits set by FCC, choosing 802.15.4 as our communications “bus” as it operates outside of the cluttered 802.11 spectrum; and third, the need for strong encryption.


Keith Jentoft , president, RSIalarm Videofied : We recommend and offer the same encryption system that the US military uses to secure their communications in the battlefield and we believe that this should be sufficient for the security industry.  The spread spectrum transmission is also from military communications and eliminates jamming and external signal interference.


Louis Nicholas, product manager, Intelligent Edge Devices, Verint Systems: Many believe that since the network over which wireless video data travels is literally “thin air,” it cannot be physically secured like a traditional coaxial or Ethernet cable.   This gives many people the false impression that wireless technologies are highly vulnerable to attack.   With proper authentication and encryption technology, wireless transmission is equally, if not more secure, than wired networking mediums.  

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