(This post is a guest contribution by Masha Winget. Read more about her in the author bio below the post.)
With wireless internet enabled you are practically teasing the hackers to break your network security and mess things up. While some of them will just check whether your wireless network is open or not and move on, there are others who may be determined to access it without your knowledge. So, let’s see what you can do to protect your network on your own.
Having unwanted guests in your network is nothing strange, especially for large companies. The existence of numerous access points made it a bit easier for hackers to join these big company wireless networks. The main reason for this is that these wireless networks have a strong signal which goes way beyond the company building walls. And hackers are just waiting for it.
Most companies provide free wireless access to their employees because they have to use their tablets, laptops and smartphones to do the job. Now, the best way for the company to protect its network would be to disable the wireless signal completely. But then their employees would be in an unpleasant situation, so this is not an option. Instead of it, the company can do the following things to make the network more secure.
TIP1 – Use WPA Encryption
The obsolete WEP encryption is still present in some wireless access points. Unfortunately, it is well known that this type of protection is easily breakable. It literally takes minutes to crack this type of security.
So, if you are worried about your network protection we recommend you to switch to WPA or WPA2 instantly. You can do this in the router or access point settings.
If you work in a smaller office, it would be better to use WPA with a passphrase. According to this, all the employees will connect to the network with that specific passphrase, and you will have to trust them they won’t share this passphrase with anyone outside the company. If you don’t trust them that much, that means you would have to change that passphrase every single day.
Additionally, you can also use WPS which was initially designed to help you easily connect devices to the network with a simple touch of a button. However, hackers found a way to break this type of security, so it is recommended to turn it off in the router settings.
Larger companies generally use WPA security in so-called Enterprise mode. This means that every user gets his own login details to access the wireless network. This is quite handy because you can manage the login details of users who no longer work there. All you have to do is to disable their login details and accounts.
TIP2 – Always Use a Strong WPA Password
Just like with your email accounts or PC login passwords, you have to make sure to use a strong password to protect your wireless network. Just make it as much as difficult as possible for the hackers to break your password.
There are services you can use to test the strength of your password like CloudCracker so feel free to test it out. It will imitate the process of cracking a password by asking you some details, the ones the hacker would need.
If CloudCracker doesn’t make it, the hacker won’t be able to break it too. If however, it succeeds, it means you have to come up with a stronger and more complicated password. Then make sure to use the maximum number of allowed numbers, capital and small letters and even special characters for the new password.
TIP 3 – Rogue Wi-Fi Access Points. Check them!
These types of access points can be a great threat to your network. Such access points are not the official ones set up by the company. They are most often set up by your employees mainly because of a poor wireless signal in their office or simply by hackers who brought one in the building and connected it to the network.
The main risk here is the fact that you can’t control such access points. You can’t use your default router IP address, for example, 192.168.l.l and control their settings. This is important because intentionally or unintentionally it may broadcast the network name outside the building’s walls and on top of that it may be unprotected. This practically grants access to anyone to your network.
What you can do is to use some “sniffing” software like Vistumbler and regularly check whether there is an unwanted access point in your building or near it.
TIP 4–Set up a Guest Network
If you have the need of your clients to connect to your network, then the perfect solution is to set up a guest network just for them. This means that they can browse the internet but won’t be able to browse your network in search for files. This is a great security measure because they won’t be able to infect your network unintentionally.
A good option is to have a separate internet connection just for them. However, some modern routers have the capability to operate with two separate networks at the same time, which means you can use one network for you and the other would be for the guests. Just make sure to add specific network names so they don’t have problems asking for which network they should be connecting.
It is also recommended to protect this guest network with a password i.e. WPA security, and here is why. You have complete control on who gains access to the guest network. The clients would have to ask for a password. Changing the password from time to time limits the number of clients who know the login details. At the same time, it protects the guest themselves from those who want to access their data.
TIP 5 – Hide the SSID aka Network name
By default, the access point is configured to broadcast the SSID or network name which makes your network easily discoverable and prone to attacks. However, you can choose to hide the network name from others, so only you and your employees know the network name.
Since this is a company network, there is no need for anyone else outside the company to know the network name. Right?
However, although it sounds great and promising in terms of network protection, this shouldn’t be used as an only security measure. The main reason for this is that hackers have tools which can search for networks and it doesn’t matter whether it is hidden or not. On top of that, if it’s unprotected they will have free access.
Although these steps may look simple and not so strong, please don’t ignore them. As you can see the security is actually made of layers or smaller security measures. So, do all that you can: change the default login details for your router or access point, change the SSID or hide it, use the proper type of security (WPA or WPA2) along with a strong password, change the wireless password often, set up a guest network and so on. By doing this, you will have multiple security layers and the one who want to gain access to your network will have some rough time trying to access it.
Hi, my name’s Masha Winget. I am passionate about technology, internet marketing and I am a writer who writes on computer technology questions like router settings, computer security, ip address and many more questions about computer problems.There is a solution for every problem, and I love writing about them. Visit my site 192168ll.net to find all information about IP address 192.168.1.1