Boffins take Wi-Fi security back to school

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US academics are to examine live wireless network traffic across a university campus in an effort to learn how best to maintain data security..

The Dartmouth Internet Security Testbed will develop improved sensing methods for monitoring the multiple wireless networks to gather real-time data.

Researchers hope to learn how to discover patterns that may indicate malicious activity, and determine the best way to resolve such situations.

To protect privacy the researchers will not examine any of the content of wireless network traffic. They will see only the 'headers', information that distinguishes packets of data from a request to connect to the wireless network.

"Our campus environment is the perfect place for this project because we can examine live network activity at scale and in real time," said David Kotz, professor of computer science and principal investigator on the initiative.

"We have worked in laboratory settings with controlled parameters, but now it is time for a live real-world test. For organisations that depend on their wireless networks, like we do, this research should prove invaluable."

The project is funded by the Department of Homeland Security through Dartmouth's Institute for Security Technology Studies.

In addition to developing and testing technology, the Testbed will serve as a model for other enterprises to secure wireless networks.
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