14-May-2019

City wifi networks need to handle a lot of device connections, which can affect data security. Here’s how to make public wifi secure.

Government networks exchange large quantities of data including smart city solutions that track energy use, traffic density monitors, security cameras at public buildings, digital government solutions. And every new app, personal device, or IoT deployment creates a new gateway for a potential cyber-attack on your network. The government industry accounted for 13.9 percent of data breaches in 2018.*

We explored how to make public wi-fi faster. But how do you make public Wi-Fi secure? Securing mission-critical city infrastructure requires a layered security framework that combines both proactive and reactive defense mechanisms.

Get IoT-ready

IoT connections are expected to double by 2025. And, since they all rely on public Wi-Fi networks, IoT adoption is only a matter of time for government networks. Superior IoT security means optimizing your infrastructure and beefing up granular control, including the ability to “containerize” your existing network.

IoT containment technology helps public sector organizations deploy a significantly more secure network architecture to protect against cybercrime. In this safe, simple and distributed environment, separate contained network areas can be created that are only accessible by compliant devices. For example, different departments are on separate networks. Connected devices and security systems can be kept on separate networks too, in case of compromise. This segmentation facilitates enforcement of security policies and limits the damage in the event of a security breach.

Choose automation to lower risks related to human errors

Risks associated with manual configuration, often the main source of vulnerabilities are reduced by the automation mechanisms. The creation of "containers" in the network separates data exchanges, for example, servers and cameras communicate on separate network segments. As a result, an attack on a connected object affects only a small portion of the network, which eliminates unplanned service interruptions.

Set up strong access controls

Access controls are crucial for network defense and they are becoming more prevalent each day. A stronger need to authorize users and devices is growing, to guarantee that the network is secure.

Here are some ways to securely configure and manage access controls:

• Passwords: make them complex and renew frequently

• Certificates: Obtain X.509 certificates “for mutual authentication between the IOT device and the server.” They are also commonly known for being used for Network Admission Control (NAC)

• Encryption: a highly recommended secure protocol is Transport Layer Security (TLS), which should be used when managing devices.

• Switch access and login information: Users’ login information should be stored on an external server such as Radius or LDAP. External servers also have accounting purposes, which would allow access to statistics about user sessions.

Denial of Service (DoS) filtering

Lastly, it is important to mention the filtering of Denial of Service (DoS). Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch® automatically filters denial of service (DoS) attacks. Some DoS attacks aim at system bugs or vulnerability, while other types of attacks involve generating large volumes of traffic so that legitimate network users are denied access to the network service.

Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess® Stellar WLAN for government was designed to enable automatic on-boarding of smart and IoT devices to enhance the connected government experience across the spectrum of public sector services. Features include: 

• Automated deployment and integrated with Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch®

• Policy-based Bonjour/UPnP management

• Discovery of service devices

• Rules created based on: Location, user group and identity

• Automatic and secure configuration into the correct network profile acros wireless and wired networks

Looking for a public wi-fi solution for your city or community? Explore the different solutions out there with the vendor comparison tool

*Risk Based Security Report

Tags - WLAN, Mobile Communications, Internet of Things, Government

See the vendor comparison

 

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About the author
David Fortini blog author picture

David Fortini

Director of Business Development, Government


Dave is currently the Director of Business Development for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s Network Division. He is responsible for the business development of ALE’s Government Vertical associated with their Enterprise Network Portfolio. 

David is a Computer Science graduate of Pennsylvania State University and also possesses a Masters in Computer Science at George Mason University. He also has a Master Certificate in Information Technology Project Management from George Washington University.

 

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