Wireless Security

When using a wireless system, there are countless security concerns to be aware of, many of which require the system to be patched regularly to keep it up to date. Patches should be applied to both the operating systems and the applications, or the system will still be vulnerable. Keeping your wireless system patched gives hackers few places to get inside as well as warding off the new types of attacks that are being developed. While security patching is of the utmost importance, few companies are offering information about the security that is needed for wireless systems.

One of the threats that wireless users face is MAC spoofing. There are programs that allow hackers to “sniff” the traffic on the network and find MAC addresses that have privileges on wireless networks. This allows the sniffers to get through the MAC filtering systems that allow specific MACs to get that access. By using software that allows their own computer to pretend it has the MAC address it has sniffed out, it then has the same access to the network.

Another threat to wireless data is using WEP, which is notoriously easy to crack. WEP is an attempt to give wireless networks the same kind of   encryption  that a wired system has. The  encryption , however, is not as secure as most people believe. The  encryption  is flawed and can be hacked within minutes. It’s often the subject of hacking attempts both for its ease and because it’s been around so long that just about any wireless device supports it.

To get a better level of protection, use WPA2 instead. WPA2 adds a much stronger layer of protection to your wireless security than by simply using WEP. In its second generation, provides more than just  encryption – it also provides a controlled access entry. Using the network requires the use of a lengthy password that is unlikely to be hacked. The passwords to gain access can be up to 63 characters, making it easy to come up with one that will be virtually impenetrable. Of course, this is dependent on using a unique password that has never been found in any printed or online work.

If you use a wireless system often, leaving it running at all times to keep it available can be tempting. But, keeping the broadcast running around the clock only increases the amount of time it can be the object of an attack. If you turn off the network at times when you won’t be using it, you can remove some of its vulnerable time.

Using the system out of the box without implementing these strategies leaves it unsecured and vulnerable. If you run your system with WPA2, choosing a long password, and couple that with running the system only when it’s needed and patch your system often, you have a much better chance of keeping your system from being hacked. And if the system does come under attack, have an intrusion detection device in place. The standard products used for wired networks don’t always translate into the same service for wireless ones, so use one that is specifically for wireless networks.

Source by Ivan A Cuxeva