5 Methods For Improving Your Wireless Security

Free of wires doesn’t mean free of risks.

John Teehan
Mar 24 · 5 min read
Photo by Su San Lee on Unsplash

The very fact that one can still purchase cabling suggests there are still some businesses employing miles of wires to connect computers and other devices to the Internet. Still, it’s a method that is pretty much totally outdated. Most new companies won’t even consider messy, wired networks except for particular industry needs.

Wireless networking is the new standard. But just as we’ve become accustomed to no longer tripping over wires or fixing loose ethernet plugs, we’ve also become more aware that while some old security issues still exist, new ones have joined the risk pool.

On a more positive note, wireless cybersecurity solutions are readily available. This means you can consider wireless networking at least as secure as traditional wired connections.

Wireless network weaknesses

The whole point of wireless security is to prevent unauthorized access or damage to the computers and data sitting on your Wi-Fi network. Typically, wireless network security is handled by the router encrypting and securing all wireless communication. If a hacker gets into your wireless network, the encryption prevents them from viewing any data.

But there is still more to learn about wireless network security.

Wireless threats come in different flavors. Some are specific to wireless networks, such as rogue access and passive data capture. Others can attack both wired and wireless network setups with distributed-denial-of-service attacks.

When hackers decide they’re going to target your organization’s wireless network, they may choose to try for rogue access. To accomplish this, they set up a separate Wi-Fi within range of your wireless network and attempt to trick devices and people into logging onto the false network. From there, hackers can access data and information from legitimate devices that would otherwise be secure.

Photo by Misha Feshchak on Unsplash

Like rogue access, passive capturing also involves setting up a device within the range of your business’s wireless network. The purpose here, however, is to capture and record data traffic flowing through your network. Information got this way allows hackers to analyze your online wireless activity, look for security holes in your system, and sift through the non-secure network activity for potentially sensitive information on your business, employees, or customers.

This form of cyberattack has been around almost as long as the Internet itself. Just because you’ve gone wireless doesn’t mean you aren’t still susceptible to this classic (for lack of a better term) attack and having your network overwhelmed with traffic.

Simply, a DDoS attack directs multiple systems — usually with the help of pre-programmed “bots” — to flood the target’s network to overwhelm its bandwidth and shut down service. This disruption can happen wirelessly as easily as it could with traditional hard-wired connections.

Dealing with wireless security threats

There are a few different methods for protecting your wireless networks. One way is to look at how effective your internal policies regarding safe practices are in terms of email, web use, and passwords. You could also examine your network security structure by determining if your firewalls, encryption procedures, and anti-malware software are doing the most they can.

Here are some specific things to consider when it comes to wireless network security, although you’ll find most are equally applicable to any network you run.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Firewalls are an essential security component for all business wireless networks. With an effective firewall, you can control what information goes back and forth within your network and how it’s accessed. This keeps unauthorized access at bay while still allowing secure connectivity for both on and off-site staff, vendors, and customers.

Intrusion detection and prevention software is one of those tools that can help both wireless and traditional network setups. Using software intelligence, this software allows you to identify and halt a range of cyberattacks, including breaches, viruses, malware, and suspicious internal behavior.

Not all security hazards come from outside your network. Occasionally, employees’ careless use of email or web browsing can leave your wireless network vulnerable to exploitation. Content filtering software lets you monitor and block content on the Internet that could damage your business’s networks. It can also scan and block most phishing emails.

Should the worst happen and a hacker successfully steals some of your data, you can make sure that they can’t do anything with it by having encryption procedures in place. Data encryption software scrambles your data whenever it goes from one place to another and will only allow it to be unscrambled with the correct security keys. In addition, data encryption helps keep information stored on servers — both onsite and off — from being exploited.

As far as employees and customers go, they should use proper login and authentication procedures at all times. Strong passwords are a must, of course. Still, you can add layers of additional protection by including two-factor authentication that incorporates biometrics or physical components like key fobs or card swipes.

It won’t matter how good a network sniffer is if access can’t be fully achieved without an authentication method that requires physical human interaction.

Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

Upping your security game

Most of these suggestions can be set up by anyone with even little technical knowledge. It’s certainly within the standard skillset of an IT department.

If you’re not sure how to best proceed and don’t have the in-house expertise to get you set up, contact experts for help. It could be as a one-time security installation and training, or it could be an ongoing service contract with an entire team of experts who can assist you.

Whatever methods you choose, don’t let your wireless network go too long without adequate protection. Data breaches and business disruption are inconvenient, embarrassing, and expensive.

Don’t get taken by surprise.

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John Teehan

Written by

Writer specializing in tech, business, parenting, pop culture, and gaming. Visit wordsbyjohn.net for more info and rates. Twitter: @WordsByJohn2

Technology Hits

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John Teehan

Written by

Writer specializing in tech, business, parenting, pop culture, and gaming. Visit wordsbyjohn.net for more info and rates. Twitter: @WordsByJohn2

Technology Hits

Important, high-impact, informative, and engaging stories on all aspects of technology.

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