Securing Wireless Networks

Along with many other recent technological advancements, wireless networks have become increasingly popular over the years. As with all new technological advancements, there comes possible security risks as well. Here are several ways to minimize the risks to your wireless network:

Change default passwords- Most wireless devices, such as wireless access points come pre-configured with a default administrator password in order to make setting it up simple and easy to the average consumer. These passwords should be changed immediately when you get your device because these passwords can be found easily online and provide little to no protection. By doing so an attacker cannot easily gain access to your device and take control of it.

Restrict access- Only authorized user should have access to your network. Access to your network can be restricted or allowed by filtering MAC addresses. There are several technologies that require wireless users to authenticate before accessing the network.

Encrypt the data on your network- WEP (Wireless Equivalent Privacy and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) both encrypt information on wireless devices. WEP however, has a number of security issues, making it less effective than WPA, so you should especially look for hardware that supports WPA encryption. Data encryption helps secure your data and prevents it so that anyone who gains unauthorized access into your wireless network can’t see your data.

Protect your SSID- Avoid publicizing your SSID to prevent giving outsiders easy access to your network. It is suggested that you change your SSID to something that is not easily guessed.

Install a Firewall- It is in good practice to not only install a firewall on your network, but a host based firewall on all of your wireless devices as well. A host based firewall can prevent an attacker from directly tapping into your wireless network to circumvent your network firewall, and add an extra layer of security.

Maintain anti-virus software- You can reduce possible damage to your network and wireless devices by installing anti-virus software and keeping it up to date. Many of these programs also have features that help defend against and detect spyware and trojan horses.

http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST05-003.html

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5 thoughts on “Securing Wireless Networks

  1. Several companies have had “foolproof” routers out that make setup and security a breeze for someone who barely knows how to use a computer. The problem with these is that sometime the pre-configured security key is printed on the bottom of the router, or even worse yet, will automatically/semi-automatically securely connect to adaptors made by the same vendor. All you have to do is push a button on the router and a button on the adaptor and the router will add the device securly.

  2. I would agree that WEP is better then no encryption at all, but you should really treat a network with WEP as if it doesn’t have any at all. There are many programs like aircrack-ng or AirSnort that is able to decrypt the WEP RC4 stream cipher in a couple of minutes.

  3. I cant stand it when I am trying to connect to a network and I notice other networks around me that are not secured. Every device in the world can handle some form of security, so be if it has to be WEP, but most new devices can do WPA and WPA2 which is more secure and harder to crack. And it is a smart point that you should change all of the default passwords so no one can sign in and change your settings with out you knowing.

  4. You would be surprised how many people dont change their default passwords. Usually the same people who dont bother to event change the name of the router and add a password are the same that leave a default password for the connection settings.

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