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AirTight Receives U.S. Patent for Router AP Rogue Detection

7/9/09 - AirTight Networks announced it has been granted US patent number 7,536,723 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for router AP rogue detection techniques. Rogue APs can get connected to enterprise wired networks accidentally or by malicious actions without the knowledge of the network administrator. Intruders can access enterprise wired network from RF coverage of rogue APs bypassing traditional wired and wireless security controls.

As a result, it is important for any wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) to continuously track APs visible in the enterprise airspace to determine if any of them is connected into the enterprise wired network and thus poses a security threat.

Among all the AP types, router APs (also called NAT APs) are by far the most common rogues, because they are the most common AP available to consumers. Moreover, router APs and particularly those which lack MAC adjacency between their wired and wireless interfaces, are undetectable by conventional MAC correlation techniques such as CAM table lookups. AirTight invented and pioneered active packet injection technology for comprehensive rogue detection in WIPS. The active packet injection technology provides highly accurate, comprehensive, instant and scalable AP network connectivity detection.

"Robust automatic AP classification and rogue detection via accurate on wire/off wire detection are among the factors which set AirTight's wireless intrusion prevention technology apart from the pack," said Dr. Hemant Chaskar, Director of Technology at AirTight Networks. "While other vendors are only now starting to implement router AP rogue detection capabilities, AirTight has been supporting it for years and now owns the patent on the technology which facilitates detection of router AP rogues."

With the granting of this new patent, AirTight now has a total of 11 U.S. patents, one Australian patent, and one UK patent. It has more U.S. and international patents pending, many of which are undergoing active examination at patent offices of various countries and are expected to be granted this year.

AirTight's patent portfolio covers the entire range from broad wireless intrusion prevention architectures to specific algorithms and techniques:

  • The seminal 7,002,943 patent for the wireless intrusion prevention was awarded to AirTight by the USPTO in February 2006. The USPTO Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) later ruled in favor of AirTight Networks and its U.S. Patent No. 7,002,943 in an interference action provoked by competitor, AirDefense, in an attempt to usurp the 7,002,943 patent from AirTight. That ruling re-affirmed AirTight's leadership position as the first company to invent, deliver and patent a truly effective WIPS solution.
  • The second patent, number 7,154,874 was granted by USPTO in December 2006, which expanded the scope and reinforced the strength of the first.
  • The third patent, number 7,216,365, was granted by USPTO in May 2007, which gave small to medium businesses the same accurate, automated protection enjoyed by large enterprise customers.
  • The fourth and fifth patents, numbers 7,333,800 and 7,333,481, granted by USPTO in February 2008, cover scalable prevention of prevalent wireless threat scenarios to reduce sensor density requirements and increase threat protection.
  • The sixth patent, number 7,339,914, granted by USPTO in March 2008, covers techniques for accurate autoclassification.
  • The seventh patent, number 200429804, granted in Australia in March 2008, extends the coverage of the seminal WIPS patent to Australia.
  • The eighth patent, number 7,406,320, granted by USPTO in July 2008, covers technology for robust location tracking.
  • The ninth patent, number 2410154, granted in the UK in August 2008, extends coverage of the seminal WIPS patent to the UK.
  • The tenth patent, number 7,440,434, granted by USPTO in September 2008, covers additional techniques for accurate autoclassification.
  • The eleventh patent, number 7,447,184, granted by USPTO in November 2008, covers techniques for accurate detection of local and distributed MAC spoofing attacks.
  • The twelfth patent, number 7,496,094, granted by USPTO in February 2009, covers techniques to counter wireless DoS attacks.
  • The thirteenth patent, number 7,536,723, granted by USPTO in May 2009, covers techniques to detect router AP rogues.

By Robert Hoskins

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