Security concerns

Security tends to be an afterthought in the drive to develop cutting-edge technology.

Mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) may continue the trend established by other wireless technologies, according to Stuart

McClure, president and chief technology officer of Foundstone Inc., a security software vendor.

"What we have seen with 802.11, or the 802.x model, is that young technologies don't build in security from the beginning," he said. Technology developers tend to include weak security measures and then add more security features as flaws become evident. Products based on the 802.11 wireless standard emerged in the late 1990s, but security features such as Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol didn't arrive until late 2001 and 2002, he said.

As MANETs move from theory

to practice, McClure expects to see "a lot of breaking of the theory and finally, given enough time, security features that allow a user/administrator to secure [MANETs] properly."

Given the history of 802.11 security, McClure said it may be three to four years before secure features solidify for MANETs. This development cycle, however, "may see some efficiency because of lessons learned with 802.11," he said.

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