Wi-Fi Security Introduction

wi-fi security introduction

Wi-Fi Security Introduction

This is a great subject, that is becoming more and more important.

Wi-Fi is now ubiquitous and it is mission critical, not only in our hospitals and our enterprises, but also in our homes. If you don’t believe me, turn off your Wi-Fi at home, and see how long it takes before your spouse/kids/grandma/dog starts to complain at you!

Wi-Fi security is an important subject, especially in today’s digital age. It is crucial to ensure your wireless network is secure to protect your personal information and prevent unauthorized access.

What do you need to do? Here follows some general rules for good security (which we will expand on in future blogs):

  1. Be location-aware - Consider where you are and what you are doing. Who can look over your shoulder (in the coffee shop, at the airport, on the plane)? 
  2. Be more paranoid - The monsters ARE out there! Run separate networks – at your place of business and even at home! Separate the networks for your data and for your family (used for games and watching TV). If you think this is too much, let me make a point: I bet that all your kids’ friends know your home Wi-Fi password?!
  3. Use the best Wi-Fi security available to you – WPA2 or, preferably, WPA3.
  4. Use Strong Passwords – Use long password >18 characters, mix up lower/upper case and use numbers. Don’t forget to throw in a special character at the end.
  5. Always Encrypt – Use Wi-Fi encryption. When you are out of the office, consider a VPN, especially if you are on a guest network, or at a coffee shop, or airport, or other public venue.
  6. Router Security – Change the settings on your Wi-Fi router. Including login credentials. Do not write this information down and append it to the router. Keep it in your safe. What do you mean you don’t own a safe!!! Disable remote management, keeping firmware up to date. Don’t call your Wi-Fi “27_Weatherby_Street” or something like that. Call it something generic like “MyWi-Fi”, or “network”.
  7. Own a safe!!!
  8. Network Monitoring - Consider monitoring your Wi-Fi network for suspicious activities. Use an intrusion detection system (IDS) or other network monitoring software. I hear you saying, “But I cannot afford it!” Raspberry PI, running Kismet, is a good enough starting point.
  9. Guest Network – Maybe (or maybe not) at home, but in any business environment, this is a “must”. Most Wi-Fi APs and routers - even home ones - come with this option today. See point 2…
  10. Public Wi-Fi – See point 5, when out of the office, use a VPN.
  11. Firewall – Hardware at home or business. As a minimum, run a firewall on your devices, with anti-virus and anti-malware products. Use this for everyone’s devices, your kids too! Remember a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
  12. Software Updates – Keep up-to-date. Understand the importance of regularly updating all devices connected to your Wi-Fi network, including computers, smartphones, and IoT devices.
  13. Be aware of bad advice! – MAC address filtering or disabling SSID broadcasts are not effective security precautions. (A malicious hacker can bypass these techniques in seconds!)

My parting advice for this blog is: it’s ok to be Wi-Fi security paranoid and to do everything you  can to protect yourself.

Until we next meet: keep looking over your shoulder, my friend!

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