Wireless – Security

This article will present both potential risks and how to secure a wireless-network.

Potential risks –
The potential risks faced by a Wi-Fi network are far higher than that of a wired one, due to the fact that information (data packets) are sent out from the network router to computers and devices connected to it, however any and all local computer system can also see the information being sent out by the network.

The only way to limit the ability of non-authorized computer systems to see this information in the original form is to encrypt it, jumbling up the original message so that they can not see it properly unless they have the correct encryption code or password, used to decipher the information.

All of the risks that are present upon the internet, and plague computer systems can be present upon any network, however there are some unique problems associated with a wireless networks, and these include:

The Evil Twin –
The Evil Twin is a Wi-Fi phishing scam setup to look like a secure or familiar network, and waits for users to log on to the incorrect network, once a user has logged on to the network information about that user can be taken and the users computer system can be attacked with malicious software.

War Driving –
War Driving is an unauthorized user trying to hack into unsecured or inadequately secured networks in order to gain information from the users and computer systems attached.

Bluejacking –
Bluejacking is specifically designed to attack Bluetooth enabled devices and access points in order to gain information and take control of those devices and access points. This can even include devices such as mobile phones.

MVW – Wi-Fi –
The MVW – Wi-Fi is a wireless network specific virus designed to infect the network and devices attached, and send out requests to other local wireless networks in order to infect them, it's potential damage could have been absolutely massive if it were to gain a foothold within a public network, as each user logging into that network would get infected and then take the virus with them, infecting even more networks and devices that they would later encounter.

Piggy backing –
Piggy backing is an unauthorized user getting into and using a wireless network to access the wider internet, they may or may not present any immediate threat to the wireless network itself, but they are still an unauthorized user and a potential risk.

Securing the network –
Even though wireless networks have risks, there are steps that can be taken to limit these risks and safety information, and these include:

Encryption –
Always encrypt a wireless network, and if you already encrypt your wireless network ask yourself – is there better encryption available? How can I better may encryption?
It is also a very good idea to periodically change your encryption password in order to prohibit potential unauthorized users from accessing the network.

MAC address lists –
Some wireless network routers allow an administrator to compile a list of the authorized users of the network by their MAC address, a unique hardware address specific to each wired and wireless network device. This will stop anyone not on the list from accessing the wireless network or using it to connect to the internet.

Firewall –
Installing and using a firewall on each device connected to the wireless network and upon the wireless router will prevent many malware software infections from accessing the network and infecting every device connected to it, this can prove a device saving measure as some malicious software attacks target hardware elements on a computer system, such as the motherboard BIOS and the graphics card.

Turn off –
If the network is not going to be in use for a period of time, turn it off. This will completely prohibit any malicious activity by any threat to your network.

Anti-viral –
Installing an anti-viral software package and keeping it updated will prevent any malicious software that does access the network from infecting the network devices and propagating itself from your network onto other local networks.

Anti-virals are increasingly available for free, offering basic anti-virus protection.

Source by Daniel Sanderson