As the internet evolves and computer networks become bigger and bigger, network security has become one of the most important factors for companies to consider. By increasing network security, we can decrease the chance of privacy spoofing, identity or information theft and so on. Network security is becoming of great importance because of intellectual property that can be easily acquired through the internet.
Securing a network is highly essential for any organization, but when the WiFi access point is introduced to the network, it leaves many devices insecure and open for attackers. Allowing strangers or anonymous users to your network are alarming and devastating for an organization. However, WiFi networks are taken way too seriously when deployed for corporate users. All the security measures are analyzed and assessed before it is deployed.
So, the question is, if security testing is already done to secure WiFi networks then what’s making it a security risk or threat?
While making a WiFi network secure, the organization unknowingly introduces many security threats to their network. Over protection is also a risk to business operation and access of data. There are some common mistakes that organizations perform while securing their WiFi network. It’s common that the best way to protect your home Wi-Fi network is by using a strong password. It keeps uninvited guests away and protects your network so eavesdroppers can’t intercept your communications.
There are some other security measures as well that are taken by organizations which leaves network infrastructure vulnerable due to unnecessary configurations.
Default Wireless Settings:
Some modem manufacturers and internet service providers pre-configure their devices with Wi-Fi encryption using a default password which is printed on a label on the device itself or on its shrink wrap, so that your wireless network is protected from the instant you take it out of the box. One of the insecure default setting schemes used by various companies is putting a portion of the device’s MAC address and/or default SSID (network name) in the Wi-Fi password.
A hacker could do some easy research to find known security holes in the device and can easily exploit the security layer to access the network, which is unbearable in any organizations.
Lost or stolen Wi-Fi devices:
The WiFi access point can be locked down for security reasons, but if end user loses his smart phone, tablet, laptop or any other mobile device that is once connected to the organization’s WiFi network, then whoever recover the device can access the network due to saved password configuration.
Such scenarios are nightmare for an organization, so change of password should be considered as a routine practice to avoid these unwanted accesses. Moreover, lost devices should be locked instantly when reported to prevent any loss of information.
Disabling SSID broadcasting:
Most of the organization avoids SSID broadcasting of their WiFi networks and assumes that it is an easy way to prevent unwanted access to the company network. But, when you configure your router to not broadcast your network’s SSID, you’re only removing the SSID from the beacons the Wi-Fi router sends to notify nearby Wi-Fi devices of the presence of that network. These beacons are what populate the list of available networks on your laptops, smart phone, tablets, and other Wi-Fi devices. If the SSID isn’t included in the beacons, Windows devices these days will still indicate the presence of a network; it will just identify its name as “Hidden Network.”
So, disabling the SSID broadcasting after enabling WPA2 with a strong password might prevent hackers from attacking your network.
However, changing the password regularly and monitoring the access log will help a lot in preventing WiFi security threats. Moreover, WiFi security should be added to regular practice rather than one time deploying job.