Integration of the Captive Portal paradigm with the 802.1 X architecture


In a scenario where hotspot wireless networks are increasingly being used, and given the amount of sensitive information exchanged on Internet interactions, there is the need to implement security mechanisms that guarantee data confidentiality and integrity in such networks, as well as the authenticity of the hotspot providers. However, many hotspots today use Captive Portals, which rely on au- thentication through Web pages (thus, an application-level authentication approach) instead of a link-layer approach. The consequence of this is that there is no security in the wireless link to the hotspot (it has to be pro- vided at upper protocol layers), and is cumbersome to manage wireless access profiles (we need special applications or browsers’ add-ons to do that). This work exposes the weaknesses of the Captive Portals’ paradigm, which does not follow a unique nor standard approach, and describes a solution that intends to suppress them, based on the 802.1X architec- ture. This solution uses a new EAP-compliant protocol that is able to integrate an HTTP-based registration or authentication with a Captive Portal within the 802.1X authentication framework.

arXiv preprint arXiv:1908.09927