Lincoln University Information Technology

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What Makes The LionNet Secure Wireless Network Secure?

What Makes The LionNet Secure Wireless Network Secure?

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Wireless computer networks use radio signals to carry information from laptops, phones, and other wireless devices to "access points" where the signals enter a wired network. Radio signals are radiated in all directions. This allows laptops to move around and still connected or remaind connected to the access points, but it also signals from one laptop to be received by other wireless devices. Information carried by the wireless signals can be captured by others.

Why is that a problem? Most web sites we visit, for mail, banking, private communication, academic work, banking, etc. require userIDs and passwords to protect our interactions with those sites. Someone snooping our wireless signals can capture those userIDs and passwords and act as if they are us. Identity theft is a serious problem for Internet users. Wireless Security is of great concern.

The answer to bad actors capturing our information is to encrypt that information while it travels over the wireless signals. Encyption encodes information with a special key and makes it very very difficult to decode. Although it is not impossible, the computing effort and time it would take to decde encrypted information makes it not worth the effort. The LionNet uses "Wi-fi Protected Access " (WPA), a very strong encryption algorithm for traffic.

One final element of security in LionNet is the requirement that users of the network be known to the university. Students, faculty, and staff use their Active Directory userIDs and passwords to log in to the student and employee networks within LionNet. These are the same userIDs and passwords used to log in to the network or to check email. Visitors have a special method of identifying themsleves and accessing the visitor's network within LionNet.

The existing insecure LU_Wireless network will be phased out. Until then please understand that it is not a secure network.

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