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Security Improvement for Management Frames in IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks


Mina Malekzadeh, Abdul Azim Abdul Ghani, Zuriati Ahmad Zulkarnain, Zaiton Muda


Vol. 7  No. 6  pp. 276-284


IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN (WLAN) has gained popularity. WLANs use different security protocols like WEP, WPA and WPA2. The newly ratified WPA2 provides the highest level of security for data frames. However WPA2 does not really mention about protection of management frames. In other words IEEE 802.11 management frames are always sent in an unsecured manner. In fact the only security mechanism for management frames is CRC-32 bit algorithm. While useful for unintentional error detection, CRC-32 bit is not safe to completely verify data integrity in the face of intentional modifications. Therefore an unsecured management frame allows an attacker to start different kinds of attack. This paper proposes a new model to address these security problems in management frames. First we summarize security threats on management frames and their influences in WLANs. Then based on these security threats, we propose a new per frames security model to provide efficient security for these frames. Finally simulation methodology is presented and results are provided. Mathematical probabilities are discussed to demonstrate that the proposed security model is robust and efficient to secure management frames.


Management frames, security, wireless networks, cyclic redundancy check, IEEE 802.11