You can access a WiFi network anywhere – from your work to your home to airports and public transit. It’s easy to connect to the Internet nowadays but does that mean WiFi networks are safe? Unfortunately, not. Lists of vulnerable airports and stories of hacker groups using hotel WiFi to spy on business executives show that WiFi networks, especially public hotspots, are vulnerable to hackers. As we continue to rely on the Internet to run businesses and do work, it’s become more important to keep WiFI networks safe and secure.

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Source: Symantec

How Do WiFi Network Attacks Happen?

WiFi networks are susceptible to hackers because anyone within the transmission radius can connect to them. Attacks on wireless networks usually occur on wireless hardware, like routers. Earlier this summer, a malware attack on home and office routers caused the FBI to issue public warnings telling people to reboot their routers. Failing to secure your WiFi can also lead attackers to hack your routers and enter your network. A security researcher showed how easy this was by hacking into the WiFi network of the city of Tel Aviv. He managed to find a vulnerability that could be exploited to take full control of the network.

Common WiFi Network Attacks

Hackers can engage in many different attacks once they get into your network. Here are three common ones: Man-in-the-middle attack: In this attack, hackers try to spy on users connected to the WiFi network by hiding in between a user and a legitimate hotspot. They typically do this by setting up fake WiFi hotspots around businesses or public areas that have similar names to real ones. Once potential victims connect, the hackers start snooping and collecting data on the users. Denial of Service (DDoS) attack: Hackers use DDoS attacks to make service unavailable. They do this by flooding traffic or causing systems to crash. As a result, intended end users of the service are unable to use it or experience slow connections. Packet-sniffing: Information sent over the web is sent as data packets. These packets can be read by anyone over the web if they are not encrypted. This can lead to hackers capturing information like your keystrokes, login data and other confidential information.

How You Can Protect Your WiFi Network

One of the most common ways people protect their WiFi network is by using a password. While this is a good start, WiFi network security needs more than that. Here are some other ways you can secure your WiFi.

Disable remote access

The best way to prevent rogue actors from entering is to restrict their access. Limit WiFi access to specific IP addresses so that only legitimate users can access your network.

Change Your Service Set Identifier (SSID)

Your SSID is the name of your WiFi network. Make sure you do not use the default SSID issued by the manufacturer. This can give hackers information about the type of router you use. They can use this information to exploit vulnerabilities you may not have patched yet and infiltrate your network.

Use a firewall

Firewalls act as a barrier between your network and the Internet. It acts as an added layer of security by filtering incoming and outgoing network traffic. Firewalls help prevent unsecured connections from entering your network. For protection against advanced persistent threats like malware, consider getting a next generation firewall.

Secure your hardware

Failing to update your hardware can lead hackers to exploit vulnerabilities. In addition, physical security of your hardware is also important. Most wireless network hardware, like routers and access points, have buttons that allow factory resets. This means that anyone can easily restore the settings to factory default with the push of a button. By resetting your hardware, hackers can use the default credentials on your routers to log in and enter your network.

Set up wireless intrusion prevention

Rogue access points can be installed onto your network to allow outsider access. Remove or disable unused ports or cables to prevent unauthorized hardware from being installed. Using wireless intrusion prevention will help detect unauthorized access points. It will scan your infrastructure and notify you if any new access points are detected. At Jolera, we believe in keeping every part of your network safe. Our Secure IT WiFi solution protects your wireless network by providing 24/7/365 monitoring and remediation.