Wi-Fi has come a very long way since becoming available to consumers back in 1997. Nowadays most businesses have at least one Wi-Fi network, and some have many. Wi-Fi has become an essential tool in the workplace. Sadly, countless businesses, particularly small to medium sized businesses do not have the knowledge or capabilities to properly secure their Wi-Fi network correctly. This poses a serious cause for concern, having parts of your network vulnerable to attack may allow a hacker to enter the network and steal customer information and/or companies valuable data. Hackers know that the smaller businesses have less resources to protect themselves and therefor are more likely to be attacked than the larger company. I have listed out some beneficial tips to keeping your Wi-Fi network safe and secure.
Use WPA not WEP
If you are unaware, your router has different ways of protecting or encrypting your data so that it is protected, these are called security protocols. The outdated WEP or “Wired Equivalent Privacy” is very outdated and is known to be extremely susceptible to hackers. WPA or “Wi-Fi Protected access” is a more modern and much more secure choice. WPA has also received an upgrade over the years leading to WPA2. You should check your network settings and confirm that you are using WPA2. It is very possible that your router does not have. If your router does not have the ability to use WPA you should contemplate upgrading it.
Change the default name of the network
When you attempt to connect to Wi-Fi you will search for a network and connect. Tons of router default network names are displayed as the make and model of the router itself. For example, a Netgear routers default network name may be “NETGEAR143” and a Linksys router may be “LinksysXXX”. Leaving the default name as the network name is a bad idea. It gives hackers a leg to stand on knowing the make, model, or both allows them to further investigate exploits and bugs with said make and model of router. Change the name to something other than the make model.
Change the routers default login credentials
Even more important than changing the routers network name, changing the credentials in which you log onto the router as an administrator and make changes to the network. Almost all default usernames and passwords are “admin” or something along those lines, and most default passwords are available on the internet with a simple search. Making a strong password is also very wise. There are tools that allow hackers to crack simple passwords. A strong password will have a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, number and symbols, and the longer the better. Once you have changed the username and password, be sure only employees who are responsible for maintaining the network have access to them. It is very important to change the passwords frequently, especially after and employee leaves a company.
Update your routers firmware
You should check from time to time and see if there have been any firmware updates for your router. You may feel like the network has been working fine so what’s the point? The point is to be sure your network is secured as possible. Firmware updates happen to fix explicit, and typically documented vulnerabilities, disregarding them could leave your network exposed and you then could have serious problems.
WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup. It is a wireless network security standard that tries to make connections between a router and wireless devices faster and easier. WPS works only for wireless networks that use a password that is encrypted with the WPA Personal or WPA2 Personal security protocols.
Keep your Router in a secure location
Having your router in a secure location further ensures it will not be tampered with. Having a complex security system in place won’t stop someone from hitting the reset button on the router. The router should be in a restricted and locked area, video monitoring would also be advisable.
Have a separate Wi-Fi for guests
Having Wi-Fi for guests is becoming more a trend than ever. However, having quests and employees on the same network can be a recipe for disaster. Having a separate network for your guests ensures isolation, adding another layer of protection.
Wi-Fi is a wonderful tool for all businesses. It is very important however, that your network is maintained and secure. New Vertical Technologies is hear for you and your company. If you have any doubts that your Wi-Fi network may be at risk, contact us today for a free consultation.