Wireless networks, which provide WiFi signals or hotspots, have become the most popular means of Internet connectivity for homes and businesses. Today, most mobile devices now come with a wireless network associated with the device’s carrier.
Cafes, restaurants, hotels, and airports are just a few examples where you can expect to find public WiFi. Despite how convenient and popular wireless networks have become, they’re still vulnerable to security risks. To prevent stolen data and potential security breaches, organizations need to be aware of certain risks and protocols.
Security Risks with Wireless Networks
Although wired networks are more secure and stable, they’re not as practical in today’s mobile-driven world compared to wireless networks. However, security can be a significant concern with wireless networks since the data is transmitted “over the air” using the same technology as a radio. They’re easier for hackers and thieves to break into a network, even if it is password protected. These security concerns are particularly relevant to public WiFi hotspots and companies with older networks.
Even though there are security risks associated with a wireless network, there are advantages that make it worth a company’s time and money to install one or allow employees to use their own. Fortunately, wireless security protocols have been developed to improve encryption and protect your data from hackers and thieves.
- Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) – Developed in the late 1990s as the first encryption algorithm, WEP is designed to prevent hackers from accessing any data that gets transmitted across a network. Now virtually obsolete, the security behind WEP networks is prone to cyberattacks.
- WiFi Protected Access (WPA) – Designed to be a compatible alternative to WEP in the early 2000s, WPA provides a significant boost in wireless security.
- WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) – Considered one of the most secure wireless network protocols available for personal and business use, WPA2 offers several security improvements and seamless roaming from one access point to another without having to re-authenticate user access.
WPA2 has become a welcome replacement for both WEP and WPA security protocols. Although WPA2 was widely considered an impenetrable protocol for hackers, certain vulnerabilities have required additional patches and methods of encryption to level up security against hackers and thieves.
Fully Protecting Your Wireless Networks
To protect your data across a wireless network, you need to have proper security protocols in place. The most effective is WPA2, combined with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which uses symmetric block ciphers to deliver each message with a unique key. This method eliminates the patterns that hackers identify when trying to break an encrypted message.
Whether you’re offering free hotel WiFi for your guests or operate a dedicated network for your employees, utilizing the aforementioned wireless security protocol is vital to keep threats at bay. For more information and questions surrounding wireless security and managed WiFi solutions, contact BlueprintRF.