Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>

Matt Brunk | February 17, 2017 |


Turning Wi-Fi Logs Into Law Enforcement Tool

Turning Wi-Fi Logs Into Law Enforcement Tool A good WLAN will have historical, on-demand, and real-time reporting capabilities -- and a good law enforcement agency will know how to use them.

A good WLAN will have historical, on-demand, and real-time reporting capabilities -- and a good law enforcement agency will know how to use them.

In some of my recent posts regarding Wi-Fi actionable data, I focused on the importance of using logs to learn what traffic is on the network, discover traffic patterns, determine which devices are in use, and more. The amount of data can be overwhelming, but not to law enforcement.

A good WLAN will have historical, on-demand, and real-time reporting capabilities -- all important for providing insight into what's on your network what data is being consumed. But there's a bi-product of WLAN logs -- .rogue access points, from the wireless LANs of nearby residential or commercial users, can get caught in the logs. The same goes for wireless device hotspots, including those in vehicles. The logs will show broadcast SSIDs, and these include MAC addresses and other identifying information.

I pointed out this problem in my recent post, "Wi-Fi RFID Keeps Campus Traffic Flowing." In this example, logs reflected data picked up from vehicle traffic for a school drop-off and pick-up lane. This leads me to the realization that police investigating a person's whereabouts could easily use logs from Wi-Fi networks in a given area and at a given time.

In "Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement," the National Forensic Science Technology Center advises:

    "If no cables or USB modem are apparent and multiple devices are in the area, consider that a wireless network (Wi-Fi) may be present. Work closely with an electronic evidence collection expert in this situation."

Of course, this brings up privacy and legal issues regarding how the information is obtained and used, and leads to operational questions such as how long logs should be archive? In one sense these logs may be like security camera footage that carries a limited shelf life.

The U.S. Department of Justice report, "Investigative Uses of Technology: Devices, Tools, and Techniques," specified that investigators should look for information such as connection destination, connection time and date, disconnect time and date, method of connection to system (e.g., telnet, FTP, HTTP), and data transfer volume.

Along with the log data, network admins working in airports can capture movement of people with Wi-Fi-enabled devices, and this means airport security can track movement of people carrying the devices. This may creep some people out, but mobility use keeps growing.

The one concern that I always have about logs is the timestamp, as they can be unreliable for use as forensic evidence (technical or criminal). Log data timestamps often reflect the location of the host or default settings not reflective of the physical premises. Hosted services end up with wrong timestamps as do onsite gear simply because admins haven't set Network Time Protocol to sync with local time settings on the gear.

Is this being too picky? Not for those who troubleshoot networks daily... or law enforcement personnel using WLAN logs to solve crimes.

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter and Google+!
Matt Brunk on Google+


July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.