must-follow wireless network security tips
- Network Security

Top 8 Wireless Network Security Tips For Businesses

8 practical wireless network security tips to enhance your business’s cybersecurity defense

Wireless networks are experiencing higher traffic levels than ever. However, this increased usage has attracted the attention of malicious attackers aiming to exploit poorly secured wireless access points. Therefore, securing a wireless network is critical for organizational security. This article explores the top wireless network security tips to keep you ahead of the attackers.

Adjust Your Default Login Settings

  • Most wireless access points and Wi-Fi routers have default names for the Wi-Fi network (SSIDs) and administrative passwords. These defaults are often left unchanged due to reluctance to make changes or the challenge of keeping track of multiple devices. This can be an understandable but insecure approach in organizations with numerous wireless routers and access points. The same issues occur to those working from home networks.

Unfortunately, most home users are unaware of the need to modify default admin credentials or may not know how to do so. However, it is crucial to alter the default admin setting as this change can significantly enhance the security of your wireless network. Skilled hackers can easily identify devices connected to the internet. Once they know a device’s model, they can search for passwords in product manuals and lists available on the internet. As a result, they can gain access to the device and the network. Changing the default passwords can keep the hackers out and protect your network.

Restrict Physical Access To Your Wireless Equipment

  • Allowing physical access to wireless devices can lead to various potential issues. Some manufacturers print the default Service Set Identifier (SSID) and the default admin password on a label attached to their wireless devices. For instance, if the password for a wireless device remains unchanged, a person with minimal technical knowledge can easily see the SSID, input the password provided on the device label, or find the default password for that specific make and model online.

Changing the admin password and, if necessary, the SSID is a helpful step. However, if a malicious attacker gains physical access to a device, they may be able to manually reset the device to its original factory settings, which would nullify any password changes. Install wireless routers and access points in secure locations to prevent this.

Utilize a Strong Password for Your Wi-Fi Router

  • wireless network security tipsIt’s important to select your password thoughtfully in addition to changing the default admin passwords. The availability of cheap, high-performance computing power has made brute-force password cracking accessible to many individuals. A simple 10-character password consisting of only numbers or lowercase letters can be cracked in under 24 hours. However, many users make it easier for hackers by setting common passwords like 123456789 or shorter variations of these numbers.

These risks apply to both admin and user access passwords. Strong admin credentials protect the device and prevent potential security issues. Mitigate security risks by selecting strong admin and user access passwords. Choose longer passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and symbols.

Establish a VPN

  • Virtual private networking establishes an encrypted connection between the user’s device and the host server. When used with access control solutions, it allows for precise control over which users can access specific hosts and systems within a network.

This approach greatly enhances the security of home networks and network connections. Moreover, a VPN offers an added layer of security by encrypting the traffic between the user’s device and the enterprise server or host they are connecting to.

Employ MAC Authentication

  • Implementing alternative authentication mechanisms, such as Kerberos, x.509 certificates, or multi-factor authentication, can provide additional protection to your wireless network. However, they are complex to implement and manage. A simpler yet potent approach is based on a device’s Media Access Control (MAC) ID.

Each network interface card is assigned a unique 12-digit hexadecimal number, the MAC address, during production. Enabling MAC authentication involves creating a list of authorized MAC addresses permitted to access the Wi-Fi network, commonly called MAC filtering. It adds an extra difficulty for a potential hacker to randomly connect to a discovered Wi-Fi network.

Set Up a Guest Network

  • When visitors arrive at an office, one of the first requests often revolves around the Wi-Fi password. In many instances, companies readily share this information without much consideration, unaware of the potential security risks associated with such practices. However, providing unrestricted access to the corporate network can be one of the most significant security risks. Granting outsiders access to the corporate network via a shared Wi-Fi password opens the door to potential threats.

Malicious users could exploit the vulnerabilities within the network, while well-intentioned users might inadvertently introduce malware, ransomware, and keyloggers or engage in activities that could be traced back to the corporate IP address. Businesses should take a proactive approach by establishing and providing a dedicated guest network for visitors. This can be easily implemented through the settings of most Wi-Fi routers and access points. Visitors gain access solely to the Internet by doing so, safeguarding corporate data, systems, and network integrity.

Turn Off the Network Name Broadcasting

  • Keeping certain information hidden in cybersecurity can prevent malicious attacks and enhance overall security. A simple application of this principle is hiding critical information by, for instance, changing the name of a folder or system. One commonly employed security through obscurity tactic in wireless networks is to turn off network name broadcasting. This hides the Wi-Fi SSID (Service Set Identifier), making it invisible to anyone scanning for available networks.

However, it’s essential to recognize that, much like other security applications only hiding the network name is not a foolproof solution. Sophisticated tools exist that can scan for all SSIDs, even hidden ones. While turning off name broadcasting can prevent less determined hackers, enterprises must employ a comprehensive approach to wireless security. This includes changing default passwords on admin accounts, enforcing strong passwords, implementing encryption measures, and more.

Software and Patch Updates

  • Keeping software and firmware up to date is not just a best practice; it’s a crucial line of defense. Home Wi-Fi equipment, particularly, is susceptible to vulnerabilities. While devices managed by cable or internet service providers may receive routine updates, users who opt for privately owned Wi-Fi routers could face challenges.

Some may be unaware of the need for software and firmware updates or lack the knowledge to execute them. The severity of the issue becomes apparent when considering that outdated Wi-Fi routers are prime targets for hackers. However, maintaining the updated software and patches protects your network against potential threats.

Take charge of your organization’s cybersecurity today and stay ahead of evolving cyber threats. Outsource My IT provides IT security services that aim at making your data as safe as possible. Our cyber security solutions include a wide range of services to safeguard your organization’s critical data no matter what industry you are in. Call us at (973) 638-2722 for all your cybersecurity needs.