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Improving Wireless Network Security: 9 Effective T

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Improving Wireless Network Security: 9 Effective Tips

Ensuring wireless security is important and will help ensure your details and vital information is safe. Here are some tips to do so.

1) Use A Strong Password

In my previous article on password security, I pointed out that when coupled with a properly-coded password protection system, a strong password actually makes brute force attacks virtually impossible. A weak password, in contrast, literally invites a system attack.

2) Keep Your SSID Concealed

The SSID is the "name" your wireless network takes. You can easily set your router not to broadcast your SSID . While this will not stop a determined and talented cracker from finding your system, it does protect you from "attacks of opportunity" by crackers casually looking for weak networks. Both human crackers and malicious programs (e.g. botnet worms) will trawl for publically-available network information and use it to target attacks. Hiding your SSID takes you out of this loop, and crackers looking for "low hanging fruit" like this will turn their attention elsewhere. Concealing your SSID is an option available on most good commercial devices today.

3) Use Good Wireless Encryption

When I say "good" encryption, know that I definitely mean something better than the casual WEP encryption provided for most wireless networks. Today there are free and easy-to-use tools available to sniff out WEP traffic and crack through that encryption in just minutes. WPA is a much more secure option and it's available practically everywhere that WEP is. Note that encryption is a constantly-evolving arms race; check your encryption regularly and upgrade to superior standards as they become available. Sone providers now provide this with their broadband - if yours doesn't then compare broadband providers .

4) Use Secondary Encryption

Wireless encryption shouldn't be your first and last line of defense. You can vastly improve the security of devices and systems connected to the network by adding another layer of encryption to protect data even if the network itself is compromised. OpenSSH is a great option for securing cross-network communications and traffic going to and from the internet, too. Note that the sort of wireless encryption described in the previous point does nothing to protect communications that pass beyond your network. Sensitive internet communications still need to be protected by an encryption scheme like SSL. Remember, a single encryption layer will always be less secure than a multi-layer system.

5) Restrict Access According To MAC Addresses

Your wireless network can be set up to accept only devices with known MAC addresses . This is another precautionary measure (like concealing your wireless SSID) that does not grant you immunity from dedicated crackers. However, it's far from a waste of time; this is another step that can protect your network from casual intruders who are probing for weaknesses. Think of these sorts of measures as protecting you from garden-variety illnesses like the common cold. While they won't stop a "superbug," they'll still keep your system healthier.

6) Take The Network Down When It's Not Needed

This is a very situational piece of security advice, but it can have a positive effect on the security of networks where it's practical. If the people using your network don't require full-time day-in day-out access, make it less of a target to crackers by turning it off when it's not going to be used. This measure would be particularly useful for small business networks where employees have no need to use the network outside of regular business hours. While this step obviously doesn't work for a lot of networks, where it can be applied it provides terrific security. It's impossible to crack a network that's not active!

7) Shut Down Wireless Network Interfaces On Devices

Every device that's capable of connecting to a wireless network also gives you the optionn of disabling that connection. Mobile devices that you use in public - phones, laptops, tablets, etc. - should all have wireless network interface disabled by default. Turn this functionality on only when you actually need it. When you're not using it, an active wireless network interface simply represents a weakness to be exploited. Keeping interfaces disabled is an important security habit to cultivate; you should follow this advice on both public and private networks.

8) Monitor Wireless Networks Actively

Maintaining a better degree of awareness is one of the foremost general security tips you can take advantage of. When it comes to protecting your wireless network, this means taking a closer look at unsuccessful attempts to access it. There are many different analytical tools that can record and report on scans and access attempts for you. Use a tool that's capable of sending you email alerts when anomalous activity occurs. Once you see the suspicious activity that threatens your network, take active steps to protect it. Remember, it's not possible to adapt to new threats if you're unaware of their presence!

9) Practice Broad-Spectrum Security

You should always operate with a strong firewall in place - if not on your wireless router itself, then on the devices you use to connect to the network. Unneeded services should always be disabled. Pay particular attention to this point if you use MS Windows; you'll be amazed to see the services that are activated by default. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you're safer by default if you use a different OS, though; you should be taking active steps to enhance your security no matter what sort of system and network you're operating.

Latest Activity: Mar 14, 2018 at 12:31 PM

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