Understanding Wireless Networks In Computer Security
Wireless networks allow Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops and tablets, to connect to the network by way of the network identifier, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID).
To prevent intruders from entering your home wireless network, the pre-set SSID and default password for the browser-based administrative interface should be changed. Hackers will be aware of this kind of default access information. In this article, I will talk about all that you need to know about wireless networks in computer security.
Optionally, the wireless router can also be configured to not broadcast the SSID, which adds an additional barrier to discovering the network. However, this should not be considered adequate security for a wireless network.
Furthermore, you should encrypt wireless communication by enabling wireless security and the WPA2 encryption feature on the wireless router. Even with WPA2 encryption enabled, the wireless network can still be vulnerable.
In October 2017, a security flaw in the WPA2 protocol was discovered. This flaw allows an intruder to break the encryption between the wireless router and the wireless client, and allow the intruder to access and manipulate the network traffic. This vulnerability can be exploited using Key Reinstallation Attacks (KRACK).
It affects all modern, protected Wi-Fi networks. To mitigate an attacker, a user should update all affected products: wireless routers and any wireless-capable devices, such as laptops and mobile devices, as soon as security updates become available. For laptops or other devices with wired NIC, a wired connection could mitigate this vulnerability. Furthermore, you can also use a trusted VPN service to prevent unauthorized access to your data while you are using the wireless network.
Click here to learn more about KRACK.
When you are away from home, a public Wi-Fi hot spot allows you to access your online information and surf the Internet. However, it is best to not access or send any sensitive personal information over a public wireless network. Verify whether your computer is configured with file and media sharing and that it requires user authentication with encryption.
To prevent someone from intercepting your information (known as “eavesdropping”) while using a public wireless network, use encrypted VPN tunnels and services. The VPN service provides you with secure access to the Internet, with an encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN service provider’s VPN server. With an encrypted VPN tunnel, even if data transmission is intercepted, it is not decipherable.
Click here to learn more about protecting yourself when using wireless networks.
Many mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, come with the Bluetooth wireless protocol. This capability allows Bluetooth-enabled devices to connect to each other and share information. Unfortunately, Bluetooth can be exploited by hackers to eavesdrop on some devices, establish remote access controls, distribute malware, and drain batteries. To avoid these issues, keep Bluetooth turned off when you are not using it.
Use Unique Passwords for Each Online Account
You probably have more than one online account, and each account should have a unique password. That is a lot of passwords to remember. However, the consequence of not using strong and unique passwords leaves you and your data vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Using the same password for all your online accounts is like using the same key for all your locked doors, if an attacker was to get your key, he would have the ability to access everything you own. If criminals get your password through phishing, for example, they will try to get into your other online accounts. If you only use one password for all accounts, they can get into all your accounts, steal or erase all your data, or decide to impersonate you.
We use so many online accounts that need passwords that is becomes too much to remember. One solution to avoid reusing passwords or using weak passwords is to use a password manager. A password manager stores and encrypts all of your different and complex passwords. The manager can then help you to log into your online accounts automatically. You only need to remember your master password to access the password manager and manage all of your accounts and passwords.
Tips for choosing a good password:
- Do not use dictionary words or names in any languages
- Do not use common misspellings of dictionary words
- Do not use computer names or account names
- If possible use special characters, such as ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( )
- Use a password with ten or more characters
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