Wi-Fi networks present unique security challenges that can leave businesses vulnerable to hacks and data snooping. The good news is that there are clear strategies you can implement at your own business to reduce the threat of hacks and keep your network safe over the long-term. Here are six winning strategies that will help you keep your network safe.
1. Use a Wi-Fi Firewall
A firewall is one of the key elements for an effective Wi-Fi security strategy. This tool helps monitor attempts to penetrate your network and blocks access attempts from unapproved sources. Remember to configure your firewall appropriately and actively monitor access attempts to your network.
Wireless network firewalls also track rogue access points (APs), which are essentially attempts by hackers to install an access point on your network where they scan the rest of your network for vulnerabilities. Sometimes this attack involves installing an actual wireless router at the physical location of your building. The right firewall will do the following:
- Log rogue AP activity
- Disconnect these rogue APs from your network
- Provide you with a physical map of an AP’s location if one is installed in or near your office
Wi-Fi networks with a good firewall will ultimately be able to stop a variety of attacks, such as Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks.
2. Enable Strong Encryption
Enable WPA2 encryption on your router, which is the gold standard for encryption. Many routers use WPS or WEP encryption, which makes it easier for attackers to discover passwords, even if the passwords are strong.
In fact, older security encryption options can be broken in seconds without any specialized equipment or techniques. Hackers can break this type of encryption with just a mobile phone application or a simple browser add-on.
3. Strong Passwords Still Offer Baseline Protection
If your company offers Wi-Fi to employees, you should implement a strong password policy as soon as possible.
- Your Wi-Fi network passwords should feature upper and lower cases letters, numbers and symbols.
- You should also ensure Wi-Fi passwords are at least 10 characters or longer.
- Many routers come with default passwords that offer full administrative access. You must ensure that all default passwords are reset, or your Wi-Fi network could be highly vulnerable.
Studies consistently show that top Wi-Fi routers for sale are relatively easy to hack, especially if you don’t implement the right security safeguards. Even with the latest WPA2 encryption protection, your password can still be compromised if a determined hacker is trying to break into your network.
These hackers use automated tools to try billions of possible password combinations. In general, the longer the password, the less likely these brute force attacks will be able to work.
4. Adjust the Range of Your Wi-Fi’s Radio
Each Wi-Fi router you have offers an access point that attackers can access on your physical property. However, if you want to get serious about business Wi-Fi security, you can actually adjust the range of how far your wireless routers transmit their signal.
By adjusting your radio signal to the right power level, you can help reduce the chance of your signal leaking out onto the street or onto other floors in your building, helping reduce the chances that someone can gain access to your network.
5. Keep Firmware Up-to-Date
Remember to keep your firmware, especially your router, up to date. Log in to your router and install patches on a regular basis; otherwise, a hacker may use a common exploit to gain access to your network. New vulnerabilities are discovered all the time, and many businesses fail to stay on top of the latest patches.
For example, a serious flaw found in Apple’s AirPort wireless routers allows attackers to execute malicious code on devices connected to the web through this device. New firmware fixes the issues, but companies need to ensure they’re downloading patches whenever a new vulnerability is reported, regardless of the brand of their router.
This rule also applies to Internet of Things (IoT) devices connected on your wireless network. Many small businesses are increasingly using smart thermostats, smart lighting systems, energy meters and monitors, and many other devices. As the amount of IoT wireless devices you use increases, the amount of attack surfaces increases as well.
6. Avoid Default IP Ranges
A variety of CSRF attacks rely on wireless routers that use predictable IP addresses like 192.168.1.1. Consider changing your IP address to something like 10.9.7.8 or another IP address that isn’t commonly used.
In many cases, CSRF attacks are only successful when the attackers know the IP address in question or can correctly guess the address they’re trying to access. It only takes a short amount of time and helps make your wireless network safer.
Help Is There When You Need It
Due to the unique threats seen with Wi-Fi networks, it’s important you implement the right security protocols to protect your network. If you don’t have the IT experience to ensure security or don’t have the resources to provide complete coverage, you should work with a security partner like Dobson Technologies for small business IT support that provides protection for the long-term.
Dobson provides managed IT support in Oklahoma City so businesses can focus on what delivers them value. Schedule a meeting with Dobson today to discuss your technology needs, and create a game plan for securing your wireless network from the many threats that exist.