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The SSID (Service Set IDentifier) is a token which identifies a 802.11 (Wi-Fi)
network. The SSID is a key which is set by the wireless network
administrator. You must know the SSID to connect to a 802.11 wireless
network. However, the SSID can be discovered by network
sniffing/scanning. By default, the SSID is part of the packet header for
every packet sent over the WLAN
SSID access points continuously broadcast radio signals which are
received by client machines if enabled. Based on the automatic or manual
configuration, the client can connect to the access point. A SSID is
generally 32 bit long, but when displayed to the user, it is projected
into a human readable ASCII format. Multiple access points can possibly
share same SSID if they are for the same wireless network. Many wireless
access points support broadcasting multiple SSIDs, permitting the
formation of Virtual
Access Points. Such Virtual Access Points partition a single physical
access point into many logical access points, each of which can have a
special set of security and network settings.
SSID Security Issues
Every user of the network must configure the SSID into their system.
If the network administrator seeks to lock a user out of the network,
the administrator must change the SSID of the network, which will
require reconfiguration of the SSID on every network node. Some 802.11
NICs allow you to configure several SSIDs at one time.
Most 802.11 access point vendors allow the use of an SSID of "any" to
enable an 802.11 NIC to connect to any 802.11 network. This is known to
work with wireless equipment from Buffalo Technologies
Cisco, D-Link, Enterasys, Intermec, Lucent, and Proxim. Other default
SSID's include "tsunami", "101", "RoamAbout Default Network Name",
"Default SSID", and "Compaq".
Every time a client connects to the wireless network, the SSID is
communicated in plain text format, which can easily be sniffed by
eavesdropper using sniffing applications like Kismet. Hence, additional
security techniques are required to be implemented in order to enhance
the wireless security.
All the best