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Wireless AP MAC Authenticaction on Switch

Posted on 2013-06-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
I am configuring a wireless/wired network and want to make sure it is a secure as possible. To that effect we are implementing EAP-TLS with machine authentication to ensure only domain machines are on the network (no systems from home.)

My question is: Should I try to implement MAC authentication for the access points connected to my switch? I am referring to the actual access points being authenticated by MAC address on the network not the users connecting to them (those would auth with EAP-TLS.)

I have read a few articles from MS technet on implementing the MAC authentication and tried a few setups without success and wanted to determine if it was worth the effort to track down the issues or just force the port on the switch to auth (using multiple session so each machine on a port has to auth to gain access to network.) From the articles it looked like we would have to use PAP for the MAC auth which almost seems to defeat the purpose of authing at all since it is plain text right?

My variables are:
Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard running NPS, CA, AD
Cisco SG500 set to 802.1x auth and MAC as needed
Unifi AP Pro

Thanks!
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Question by:ND_2007
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rauenpc earned 200 total points
ID: 39217470
Just force the port to the auth state. MAC authentication is no more secure than putting a "do not enter sign" on your front door. It's much too easy nowadays to download a MAC spoofing application and take over the MAC of a device that is automatically authenticated.

When it comes to the best wireless security, two things are the most important in my opinion:
The first is the obvious one - encryption and authentication. WPA2-Enterprise with AES and TLS are definitely the best so you are on the right track.
The second isn't quite as obvious - rogue AP mitigation. Your wireless is only as secure as the weakest wireless AP available on your network. 802.1x is great until a Linksys router appears on the network or an unsecured AP bridge. Being able to automatically detect and lock down rogues is key to true wireless security.
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by:ND_2007
ID: 39218777
Thanks for the feedback. Do you have any recommendations on a tool for rogue detection and isolation?

Thanks,
Keith
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by:ND_2007
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I have confirmed forcing the port is the recommended way with a Cisco support tech while I was investigating another issue. Thanks for the input.
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by:rauenpc
ID: 39244675
Sorry about my lack of response on your last question. There are multiple tools you can use, but if you are running a Cisco system you would be looking at the MSE combined with your controllers/NCS. This would give you the ability to classify rogues, locate, and mitigate. Other vendors have similar solutions.
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by:ND_2007
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Thanks I will look into those.
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