Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 July 2010
Wireless Internet Security: Architecture and Protocols approaches wireless Internet security from the direction of system architecture. A system architecture is essentially a high-level blueprint that guides the detailed design, implementation, and deployment decisions that result in a real, usable system, just like the architectural plans for a building guide its construction. Architectures serve as tools for understanding how to design and evolve a complex information technology system. Architectures are regularly developed by wireless standardization bodies to guide the development of interoperable, standardized protocols on interfaces between equipment provided by multiple vendors, including wireless devices used by consumers. Corporations often provide architectures as guidelines for customers, describing how their products fit together with other equipment to provide solutions for their customers' information technology problems.
In the field of wireless security, the architectural approach has been neglected. This neglect is partially a result of the case-driven nature of network security. Most security systems have been developed in response to specific attacks that surface after the system has been deployed, rather than as a planned part of the initial system development process. Indeed, the original Internet architecture had almost no provisions for security. Internet users were assumed to be members of a co-operative community that would never attempt actions on the Internet harmful to others' interests. This approach is changing slowly, as system designers begin to internalize the disastrous results of grafting security onto a system after a successful attack has compromised the original design.