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Cisco Wireless Intrusion Prevention System Data Sheet

Data Sheet

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Updated:June 11, 2021

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Updated:June 11, 2021
 

 

Solution overview

Wireless is no longer a good-to-have secondary network. With advances and ratifications in Wi-Fi standards, dense environments with many concurrently connecting devices and Internet of Things (IoT) connections result in multiple use cases across industry segments. Today, there are more than 15 billion devices connected through wireless, and this number is expected to grow beyond 20 billion by the end of 2021.[[source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/802706/world-wlan-connected-device/]] Enterprises providing Wi-Fi access to employees and guests, public venues providing hotspots, industrial IoT devices connecting through wireless, and many more situations present a multitude of opportunities but also pose new threats to the network. The total number of global Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks is expected to double from 7.9 million in 2018 to 15.4 million by 2023. [[source: Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018-2023]] Savvy mobile users can set up wireless networks just by using their smartphones — providing connectivity for the user but also a potential entry point for an intruder. Hackers continue to target vulnerable wireless networks with ever-changing threats, so IT organizations are constantly challenged to both track and locate wireless threats throughout the organization and demonstrate compliance.

Cisco Advanced WIPS and Rogue Management: System overview -  Cisco Advanced WIPS and Rogue Management: System overview

Figure 1.               

Cisco Advanced WIPS and Rogue Management: System overview

Cisco® Advanced Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (aWIPS) and Rogue Management is a complete wireless security solution that uses the Cisco DNA Center and Cisco Catalyst® infrastructure to detect, locate, mitigate, and contain wired and wireless rogues and threats at Layers 1 through 3. Integration of aWIPS into the WLAN infrastructure offers cost and operational efficiencies delivered by using a single infrastructure for both aWIPS and WLAN services. The solution includes the following components:

     Access points: Cisco access points with Cisco CleanAir® are equipped with silicon-based intelligence to allow for Layer 1 threat detection of attacks that may come from non-802.11 sources, such as video cameras or RF jammers. Access points intelligently process over-the-air traffic through a large library of wireless intrusion attacks and anomalies to determine whether the network is being attacked. This processing occurs on the edge to allow for greater scalability. Access points relay information, such as the MAC address of the victim and attacker, Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI), and time of attack, to the WLAN controllers, using the Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP) protocol. The RF ASIC present on Cisco Catalyst 9120 and 9130 access points scans all channels without affecting the data-serving radios in the 2.4- and 5-GHz bands.

     Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers: The Catalyst 9800 series houses rogue detection and multiple aWIPS signatures logic to determine the type of attack. The Catalyst 9800 Series sends alerts to Cisco DNA Center when security events such as rogue access points are detected or an attack is in progress, as well as mitigates rogue threats as defined by the rogue policy.

     Cisco DNA Center: Cisco DNA Center is a powerful network controller and management dashboard that lets you take charge of your network, optimize your Cisco investment, and lower your IT spending.

The Rogue Management application in Cisco DNA Center detects and classifies threats and enables network administrators, network operators, and security operators to monitor network threats. Cisco DNA Center helps in quickly identifying the highest-priority threats and allows you to monitor these threats in the Rogue and aWIPS dashboard within Cisco DNA Assurance. The Threat 360 view on this dashboard provides further details on any specific threat. This includes a map view for quick location, and all affected clients.

Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management embeds complete wireless threat detection and mitigation into the wireless network infrastructure to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive, accurate, and operationally cost-effective wireless security solution.

Solution benefits

The Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management solution offers a superset of capabilities not architecturally possible with standalone, overlay aWIPS and rogue management systems. The infrastructure-integrated architecture of Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management allows network administrators to:

     See the whole picture: Typical aWIPS solutions rely solely on RF air monitoring for detection. Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management builds on RF air monitoring by employing network traffic and anomaly analysis within the access points and WLAN controllers, as well as real-time device inventory analysis and network configuration analysis to detect threats and monitor performance. This approach delivers more accurate and thorough detection.

     Take corrective action: Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management doesn't just detect threats, vulnerabilities, and performance issues; it makes it possible to take corrective action. Integration into the WLAN infrastructure enables aWIPS and Rogue Management to go beyond passive monitoring and reach into the infrastructure to fix security threats and performance issues in real time using containment.

     Take advantage of the entire WLAN footprint: Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management can use all the access points in the network for location and mitigation of rogue devices. This increases location accuracy and mitigation scalability.

     Benefit from flexible deployment architectures: Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management can use access points dedicated to full-time air monitoring or access points serving WLAN users or both. Deployment flexibility is provided by supporting multiple modes like local, FlexConnect central switching, FlexConnect local switching, SDA etc. Cisco DNA Center allows you to group devices based on location, beginning by laying out a hierarchy of areas, buildings, and floors as required to accurately represent the location of your network. A site hierarchy lets you enable unique network settings and IP spaces for different groups of devices. This deployment flexibility enables right-sized security models on a site-specific basis.

Comprehensive protection, accurate detection

Cisco’s advanced approach to detection — combining air monitoring, network traffic and anomaly analysis, real-time network device and topology information, and network configuration analysis – delivers a comprehensive view of the event to the Cisco aWIPS analysis, correlation, and classification engine on Cisco DNA Center. aWIPS can detect events not traceable with over-the-air signatures alone and makes more accurate detection decisions, thus increasing effectiveness while reducing false positives.

Building upon the core detection capabilities, Cisco aWIPS delivers rich attack classification, providing users with flexible rules for automatically classifying and mitigating security events. Automatic classification, coupled with the system's inherent accuracy, greatly reduces the operational expenses associated with manual investigation of potential threats detected by the system.

Cisco couples these advanced detection and classification techniques with an extensive attack, vulnerability, and performance detection library. Examples of event classes detected include rogue access points/clients, hacker access points such as honeypots and evil twins, network reconnaissance, AP impersonation such as address and identity spoofing, protocol attacks, Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks, over-the-air and network security vulnerabilities, and performance issues such as co-channel interference and coverage holes.

Complementing aWIPS with proactive threat prevention

The best way to secure your network is to design a system that prevents an attack before damage can be done. Network security hardening features embedded in the Cisco Catalyst access infrastructure complement the Cisco aWIPS solution to provide the following proactive threat prevention techniques:

     Remove security offenders from the network: Client exclusion policies can automatically respond to high levels of user authentication failures and IP address spoofing.

     Defuse network reconnaissance and spoofing attacks: Cisco Management Frame Protection, the basis for IEEE 802.11w, encrypts and authenticates WLAN management frames to defend against many common over-the-air attacks.

     Protect against data theft: Strong user authentication and the Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) and 802.11i encryption standards protect access to your network and data traversing the WLAN.

     Lock out rogue access points: Using 802.1X wired port authentication LSC provisioning or authorization list on Cisco access points virtually eliminates the possibility that a rogue access point will join the wired network.

Features and benefits: Technical overview

The sections that follow outline each functional area of the Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management solution and the associated benefits.

Rogue detection, classification, and mitigation

Cisco aWIPS and Rogue Management features rogue detection and mitigation, as shown in Table 1. Rogue access points and clients can create back-door access to your network and can be used to steal data from your wireless clients. The Cisco Rogue Management solution detects, automatically classifies based on customizable rules, and mitigates rogue access points, rogue clients, spoofed clients, and client ad hoc connections.

Table 1.           Features and benefits: Rogue detection, classification, and mitigation

Feature

Benefit

Detection

On- and off-channel scanning

Detects rogue access points, rogue clients, spoofed clients, and client ad hoc connections on all channels in the 802.11-related spectrum

Signature-based and network-analysis-based detection

Increases the breadth and accuracy of rogue, ad hoc, and spoofing detection, thus decreasing the time staff spend manually investigating threats

CleanAir/Spectrum Intelligence

Detects rogue devices and DoS attacks in non-802.11 frequencies, such as Bluetooth, radar, and microwave

Event classification

Customizable rogue event automatic classification

Automatically classifies the threat level of rogue events based on user-defined classification rules, thus reducing the need for staff intervention

Rogue switch-port tracing

Establishes whether a detected rogue access point is on the customer network, thus reducing the need for staff to manually assess the threat

Physical location of rogue devices

Plots rogue access points and clients on a floor map, thus helping staff assess the rogue threat and facilitate removal Location accuracy can be improved by integrating with CMX or Cisco DNA Spaces

Mitigation

Disabling of rogue switch-port

Remotely disables the Ethernet port to which a rogue access point is connected, thus speeding mitigation

Over-the-air mitigation

Mitigates rogue access points, clients, and ad hoc over-the-air connections using any Cisco access point deployed, thus speeding and scaling mitigation

Automatic or manual mitigation

Flexible mitigation actions enable tailoring to customer risk environment and operational model

Over-the-air attack detection

Cisco aWIPS features over-the-air attack detection, as shown in Table 2. Over-the-air attacks are launched by hackers adjacent to your RF environment. Since RF signals penetrate walls, an attacker could be sitting in the parking lot in front of your office. Attack types include network reconnaissance, authentication and encryption cracking, and DoS, as well as impersonation attempts and new or unknown attack techniques.

Table 2.           Features and benefits: Over-the-air attack detection

Feature

Benefit

Breadth of attack detection

Network reconnaissance and profiling detection

Analyzes traffic behavior and performs pattern matching to detect tools and techniques such as access point impersonation, honeypot access points, AirDrop sessions, and other methods, providing an early alert that a hacker is looking for avenues of attack

Detection of authentication/cracking and vulnerability exploits

Analyzes traffic behavior and performs pattern matching to detect tools and techniques such as fuzzed beacon, fuzzed probe request, fuzzed probe response malformed association request, malformed authentication, invalid MAC OUI, and other methods, providing an alert to potential or attempted data theft

Malicious or inadvertent DoS detection

Analyzes traffic behavior and performs pattern matching to detect tools and techniques such as 802.11 protocol abuse, RF jamming, resource starvation using authentication flood, association flood, Extensible Authentication Protocol over LAN (EAPoL)-start flood, PS-Poll flood, probe request flood, reassociation flood, Request-To-Send (RTS) flood, Clear-To-Send (CTS) flood, beacon flood, and other methods, providing an alert of potential or attempted network service disruption. DoS attacks toward clients, such as deauthentication flood, disassociation flood, broadcast deauthentication flood, broadcast disassociation flood, EAPoL logoff flood, authentication failure attack, probe response flood, and block ack flood, can also be detected

Impersonation and spoofing detection

Analyzes traffic behavior, performs pattern matching, and applies authentication methods to detect tools and techniques such as MAC/IP spoofing, fake access points, evil-twin access points, RADIUS server spoofing, and other methods, providing an alert to potential data theft or unauthorized network access

Zero-day attack detection

Analyzes traffic behavior to detect newly introduced or previously uncategorized attack methods, providing an alert to a potential threat

Ongoing threat and vulnerability research and detection development

Cisco has a wireless threat and vulnerability research team dedicated to finding out about new attack techniques, as well as proactively analyzing the network for vulnerabilities that could be exploited; the research team helps ensure that Cisco aWIPS detection capabilities stay ahead of the threat horizon

Event classification and tuning

Default detection profiles

Default detection tuning profiles, customized by customer type, enable effective operation minutes after system startup and provide a head start in system tuning

Knowledge-base-driven tuning

Detection tuning is tied to a threat knowledge base in Cisco DNA Center, giving operators plain-language descriptions of attack types and detection methods as well as tuning guidance, thus making tuning even easier for novice security operators

Security vulnerability monitoring

Cisco aWIPS features security vulnerability monitoring, as shown in Table 3. Understanding the security posture of the wireless network in real time is the most important aspect of attack prevention. Cisco DNA Center automatically performs automated, around-the-clock wireless vulnerability monitoring and assessment by proactively and persistently scanning the wireless network for weak security or out-of-policy configurations.

Table 3.           Features and benefits: Security vulnerability monitoring

Feature

Benefit

Automated, 24x7 configuration analysis

Analyzes all wireless controller, access point, and management interface security configurations; by analyzing actual configurations rather than relying solely on over-the-air vulnerability sniffing, Cisco DNA Center delivers greater accuracy and depth of vulnerability analysis, such as analysis of management protocol security and analysis of security services operating on the network with configuration compliance for out-of-band changes

Analysis for adherence to industry best practices or custom-defined security policies

Cisco DNA Center is prepopulated with industry best practices for wireless security vulnerability assessment; Config Audit enables analysis of configurations against the organization’s specific security policies. This dual approach enables the greatest flexibility and breadth of vulnerability analysis

Broad vulnerability identification through security advisories

Identifies vulnerabilities through Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) scans for vulnerabilities that can result in unauthorized management and network access, data theft, DoS attacks, and protocol attacks, and advises on security services to run on the wireless network

aWIPS alarm consolidation

Consolidates aWIPS alarms based on predefined rules and provides concise information to the user to determine the real attack or threat

Easy-to-use workflows

Wireless aWIPS and Rogue workflows enable users to fine-tune aWIPS signatures and rogue rules by providing the flexibility to select signatures and configure thresholds for signatures and threat levels for rogue rules with conditions

Signature-wise forensics

Ability to automatically start and stop packet capture when attacked for troubleshooting or debugging per signature or threat

Rogue access point zone of impact

Cisco DNA Center Threat 360 view provides a detailed view of each of the alarms, giving the context of the attack, threat level, and location and time of the attack

Performance monitoring and automatic optimization

Cisco aWIPS features performance monitoring, as shown in Table 4. A poorly performing network affects network and application availability and can be a result of malicious or accidental actions. Using Radio Resource Management (RRM), the system provides unmatched performance and network self-healing. Information about noise and interference, as well as client signal strength and other data, is used to dynamically assign channels and adjust access point transmit power in real time to avoid co-channel interference, route around failed devices, and minimize coverage holes.

Table 4.           Features and benefits: Performance monitoring and auto-optimization

Feature

Benefit

Continuous real-time monitoring of network health and performance

Defends against over-the-air interference, malicious or accidental

Automatic correction of problems in the RF domain

Remedies issues, such as RF-based DoS, without administrator intervention, thus increasing network uptime with minimal operational overhead

Complete RF management without specialized RF skills

RF management expertise is integrated into the system, thus reducing the burden on operational staff

Management, monitoring, and reporting

Cisco aWIPS features complete security management, monitoring, and reporting capabilities, as shown in Table 5. aWIPS management is fully integrated into Cisco DNA Center, providing a single, unified tool for both wireless network and wireless security operations. Unification of wireless network and wireless security management reduces challenges by keeping access point and client device inventories and security policies aligned, and by simplifying event management and reporting.

Table 5.           Features and benefits: Management, monitoring, and reporting

Feature

Benefit

Single management platform for wireless network and security

Real-time device inventories

Access point and client device inventory is always up to date, with no double-entry or cross-vendor management integration issues, thus enabling a high level of accuracy in rogue detection while reducing administrative overhead

Virtualized management domains

aWIPS enables split wireless security management and monitoring from other wireless management roles or geographies

No one-off management platforms

All aWIPS and general wireless management is performed from Cisco DNA Center, thus reducing staff training and support on disparate platforms

Integration with Cisco Unified Wireless Network features

aWIPS provides unified workflows integrating general wireless network configuration, wireless security policy definition, and location service operation

Command authorization and audit trails

All management commands can be authorized by authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA); configuration, investigation, and mitigation actions logged can be traced back to the administrator, enabling accountability

Designed for enterprise scalability

Cisco DNA Center is designed for the highest-scale environments: up to 96,000 rogue access points and 13,000 aWIPS access points per 112-core Cisco DNA Center appliance

Cisco DNA Center Rogue and aWIPS Assurance dashboard

Single, at-a-glance view

Single-screen summary of all security events and vulnerabilities, presented in a streamlined, at-a-glance format; ability to drill down on classes of events and individual events with a mouse click; eases day-to-day monitoring

Cisco DNA Center Health dashboard

Single, at-a-glance view

Single-screen summary of all performance-related events presented in a streamlined, at-a-glance format; ability to drill down on classes of events and individual events with a mouse click; eases day-to-day monitoring

Cisco DNA Center event management and reporting

Complete event forensics

Captures all traffic associated with an attack, for ease of investigation

Event escalation to staff

Automatically alerts staff regarding critical events, thus decreasing response time, on the Rogue and aWIPS dashboard in Cisco DNA Center

Per-admin reports

Historical reports can be customized for individual administrators based on their preferences and area of responsibility, thus streamlining event analysis

Automatic report scheduling

Historical reports can be scheduled to run automatically at specific times, thus streamlining workflows

Event storage and archiving

Security attack events are stored in Cisco DNA Center for 14 days, with long-term archiving available out of the box, providing historical analysis

Wireless IPS software

     All Cisco 802.11ac Wave 2 and 802.11ax access points are supported for Monitor Mode aWIPS monitoring and client serving mode with on and off channel scanning. Cisco Catalyst 9120AX and 9130AX Series access points have a built-in RF ASIC-based auxiliary radio that continuously monitors all the channels for rogue and aWIPS detection.

     For information on scaling Cisco DNA Center aWIPS and Rogue Management, see the Cisco DNA Center Rogue Management and aWIPS Application Quick Start Guide.

Licensing and ordering information

Cisco aWIPS is a licensed software feature set included in Cisco DNA Advantage and is available for all the releases. Cisco Rogue management features are available with Cisco DNA Essentials license.

For specific licensing information, see the Cisco DNA Software Subscriptions for Access Wireless Ordering Guide.

Service and support

Cisco offers a wide range of services programs to accelerate customer success. These innovative services programs are delivered through a unique combination of people, processes, tools, and partners, resulting in high levels of customer satisfaction. Cisco Services help you protect your network investment, optimize network operations, and prepare your network for new applications to extend network intelligence and the power of your business. For more information about Cisco Services, visit Cisco Customer Experience.

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For more information

For more information about Cisco aWIPS, visit https://www.cisco.com/go/aWIPS.

For more information about Cisco DNA Center, visit https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/index.html.

For more information about Cisco wireless, visit https://www.cisco.com/go/wireless.

 

 

 

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