Technology has become an elemental part of our day-to-day life. The imperative role of technology is seen anywhere in the world, ranging from ordering any items on the internet to pre-booking a vacation on your smartphone. People have got accustomed to modern technology that no one can even imagine a world without them. Everything is interconnected with an invisible system controlled by the authorized person from our homes to our workspaces. Internet is the thing I was talking about, and it has become an indispensable part of our lives unknowingly. Every place we go, a wireless network is a common link where everyone is connected in a vast network.
The principal reason for the exponential growth of the wireless network is the remarkable things it can achieve in our passive lives. The wireless networks have a crucial impact on the way we live, conduct business, carry out shopping, access news publishing, delivering education, health care, transport and, important of all, constant interaction with people anywhere in the world. The devices we use, starting from a small mobile phone, tablets to laptops and IoT devices, everything requires an internet connection non-stop. Hence, the need for the wireless network cannot be made declined at any point.
There is always a dark side to any invention made in this digital world, and they are called hackers, intruders or cybercriminals. These are the people who illegitimately access your wireless network and steal your private information from credit card details to passwords for any account (bank, social media, work-related data). The wireless system extends beyond the walls of the room, and so, it is arduous to control the people who have access to it with or without authorization. Dealing with these security risks is the only way to protect your private data and information.
There are different types of Wi-fi security settings which is the first step to deal with these intruders. Wireless security is the vital element needed to prevent unwanted users from gaining access to your wireless network. It gives you the sole authority to decide which users will be given access to the network and data upon approval. The wireless security protocols are divided into two types, namely Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). These are the approved security protocols created by the Wireless Enterprise to manage wireless security and avoid data theft.
There are four types of wireless security currently being used :
1. Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP):
The WEP was the first wireless security protocol to be introduced and put into practice in every organization. It was devised in the year 1997, so it has been obsolete in the modern world, but we can still find footprints of these systems in older devices. It used an encryption scheme which generated a combination of user and system-generated key. However, this scheme was cracked by hackers using reverse engineering tactics, and it is the least secure network type in the world.
2. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA):
WPA was developed mainly to deal with the security flaw WEP retained. It used a Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), which was harder to crack than the WEP’s unchanging key since it was a dynamic 128-bit key. The improved feature was to scan the message for any altered packets sent by hackers and then allow it for proper communication.
3. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2):
WPA2 was the standard security protocol developed in the year 2004 after the WPA’s TKIP encountered some faults. The new security protocol used Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), approved by the US government. WPA2 was being used to share classified information, and hence it is good enough to be used by home or office networks securely.
4. Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3):
WPA3 was the newest security protocol to be introduced after 14 years Of WPA2’s success in the year 2018. The latest security protocol uses a 128-bit encryption key for personal networks and a 192-bit encryption key for enterprise networks. It provides more excellent protection for passwords, individualized encryption for open and personal networks and an enhanced authentication process.
Major issues regarding Wi-Fi Security:
The internet is accessible to anyone, even in public places, making data security a top concern for all wireless alliances. Data theft, data breaches, security and system malfunctions can cost individuals and businesses unbelievable losses, even up to millions of dollars. To rectify and strengthen the wireless security, one has to identify all the major threats involved in the network. They are as follows:
– Configuration disputes:
The biggest problem often comes from the simplest system vulnerability in the initial configuration procedures. The significant issues that can come from misconfiguration are weak access points, fragile security deployments and unsecured network entities. Any user can quickly gain access to the network if these problems persist in the wireless network.
– Denial of Service (DoS):
The DoS is one of the simplest methods to attack a network because it requires only limited access. By gaining this access, one can introduce viruses, worms or malware to your network and gain all private information. Denial of Service can create weak access points, proving to be another source for entering the wireless network.
– Passive Capturing:
The term also translates to eavesdropping, which means the intruder must come within the wireless network range to break the network and gather private information or desired data. The hacker can use highly advanced technologies to capture confidential files, encrypted user data and transaction exchanges.
– Hacking of Stolen or Lost Devices:
The loss of devices such as smartphones and laptops by an employee is often ignored as an issue, but it gives another opportunity to gain access to private information. The thief or finder just has to get past the password of the device to gain full access, and in modern times, it seems pretty simple.
Some unauthorized users gain access to your wireless networks and use them for their purposes. The unauthorized access is not done maliciously, but this also doesn’t seem right in piggybacking the network proximity. The main issues that can happen to your network are- slowing down of the internet, illegal content or spam may be downloaded through your server, and innocent snooping may occur.
How to Maximise Wi-Fi Security:
The immediate changes you can make to strengthen your wi-fi security are below:
- Frequently changing the default network password and SSID (Network ID).
- Empower the router’s firewall settings.
- Disable remote administration and enable MAC address filtering.
- Turn off the wireless network when not in use.
- Keep your router’s software up-to-date and enhance protection for the frequently connected devices to the wireless network.
The wireless network can never be absolutely secure at all times. The only way to go around this is to keep an open mind to accept the scale of risk one is ready to accept if an unlawful interference happens. The least we can do is to mitigate the occurrence of these events happening and build a robust network security system as possible. The above information could have scared some people, but it is, in fact, the reality with these poorly secured wireless networks. Hence, frequently update your password and keep every software updated in order to avoid the majority of these unprecedented invasions.