Why you should secure your wireless
Wireless networking has become far more popular in recent years. The advantages are clear - it makes surfing the Internet or accessing your network anywhere in your office or home easy. It removes the need for lots of expensive and messy cabling in place, and most laptops now come with wireless built in. Unfortunately security risks have also increased with the expansion of wireless technology.
Unsecured wireless gives hackers an easy time gaining access to your network, from where they can steal passwords, data and even cripple your network. However, most people will simply try to get into your network to use your broadband. If this happens, then not only are they using your bandwidth, but they could be downloading anything (legal or illegal) via your broadband; it is you that ultimately gets the blame for this.
How can you tell if your wireless is secure?
It’s fairly easy to tell if your wireless network is secure and not open to allowing anyone to access it. In the notification area there should be a wireless network icon (figure 1), double clicking on this will bring up a list of wireless networks as well as the one you’re currently connected to, if the one you’re currently connected to says “Unsecured Wireless Network” (figure 2), then your wireless is not secure and you have a security risk on your network.
What’s the best type of wireless security?
The best form of wireless protection is WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) – which protects and encrypts the data and stops anyone getting into your network.
WPA is a passphrase which also locks your wireless network. It can be any word from 8-63 characters long. Ideally your passphrase should be something completely obscure rather than a word found in the dictionary, otherwise it would be quite easy to gain access to your wireless through cracking.
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is another, older type of wireless security which can be effective but is less secure than WPA
Securing your network is usually done through the web interface on your router or Wireless Access Point. Once you’ve gained access, you can setup one of the encryption types with a strong password/key and then grant access to the required machines.
It is also good practice to take precautionary steps such as:
1. Educate all employees that use the wireless network on wireless security.
2. Secure all wireless devices within the business.
3. Monitor your wireless for breaches and weaknesses.
How can you get wireless?
If you don’t have wireless and would like to have the benefits of wireless, it is fairly easy to setup. You will require a wireless router and wireless cards forthe machines you are using to get started. You will also need to configure and secure your wireless router and grant access to the required machines. Depending on how many machines you have, this can take between 2-3 hours to setup.
If this article hasn’t made things clearer, or you would like your own wireless network setup or securing - simply give us a call on 0845 8990099, or head to our contact page. We will be happy to give you free advice on what solutions are best for you as well as how to secure your wireless and keep your network safe and secure.