Wi-Fi piggybacking, the illegal use of the wireless connection of another person without proper consent is a prevailing security risk. The Sophos research study shows that over 54 percent of computer users polled admitted to having used their neighbour’s or somebody’s Wi-Fi Internet access without permission.
Based on the report, many homes forget to secure their Wi-Fi connection with encryption and password, giving passers-by the opportunity to take advantage and steal Internet access instead of subscribing to an internet service provider. Wi-Fi piggybacking can slow down your home Internet connection and prolong the time you spend online adding to your power consumption.
Unsecured wireless networks can become a security nightmare as they become vulnerable to hackers and various attack vectors. If you have a Wi-Fi network at home, you can make it secure and minimise wireless attacks by following a few simple tips:
Use Strong Password
If you don’t want your home or business network to be at risk then use a strong password. It must be at least eight characters long composing of a mix combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Create a strong password but is easy for you to remember. For example, the business name “Cool Beers” can be transformed into a strong password “C00lB33rs!” but is easy to recall. You need to change it on a regular basis because the longer you keep a password, the higher the chances of a security breach.
Monitor Your Network
Always monitor your Wi-Fi network for intruders. Make sure that you are tracking wireless attack trends. Collecting scan logs and access attempts of malicious security crackers can give you information and become better at defending against them. Use statistics generating tools and configure your logging server to send you email automatically every time something anomalous happens.
Avoid Default IP Address
Using predictable Internet Protocol (IP) address make Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks easier. For example, instead of putting 192.168.1.1, use 10.9.8.7 or something else that is not common. It is a simple but effective method of decreasing the occurrence of CSRF attacks. You can also hide your Service Set Identifier (SSID), which is the name you give to your Wi-Fi network by configuring your wireless router so it does not broadcast your SSID. Hiding your SSID can help lessen the number of traffic that your Wi-Fi network receives from people who attempt to exploit random network vulnerabilities. Modern routers have firewall capabilities that offer this setting.
Use Secure Wireless Encryption
Although Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) can make connections between a router and wireless devices easier and faster, it is vulnerable to attack so you better turn it off. Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is also not a reliable encryption protocol. For instance, a free available tool called Aircrack can identify a WEP protected wireless network and can crack the network security in a matter of minutes. Instead, use Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) 2, the current encryption standard or any stronger version. You may also put additional layer of encryption when possible to improve the security of the system. For example, OpenSSH is a top alternative that provides secure communications among computers within the same network. Other encryption schemes, such as the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) can create an encrypted link between a browser and a web server ensuring that all the data remain private and integrated, which is vital especially in dealing with e-commerce websites.
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