These times, no small business can be considered fully operational without it. People prefer to get the best Wi-Fi connection free of cost as much as possible; and it’s not that difficult. Even small businesses can set up Wi-Fi hotspots and offer free Wi-Fi to their customers. And this free Wi-Fi connection is likely to boost the business prospects.

Wi-Fi hacking is an issue that small businesses need to address properly. They have to be aware that their free Wi-Fi connection is very much prone to hackers, especially that anyone can connect to their network. Can you say that you small business’ Wi-Fi network is as secure as it should be? If your answer is “I don’t know” or “Maybe,” then these following tips might help you, with minimal effort and cost, significantly enhance your network’s security.

Change the Router’s Default Password

When you initially set up the business router and chose your wireless network password, have you also gone through the extra mile and changed its default password? If not, now is the right time to do so. Default passwords for numerous brands and models are easy to find on the Internet, and with that information within reach, it’s very easy for someone to take control of your network to use your router (along with many others) to launch a DDoS attack. According to Webopedia, DDoS is a type of DOS attack where multiple compromised systems, often infected by a Trojan, are used to target a single system causing a Denial of Service (DoS) attack.

Extreme hackers even have the skills to change your network’s DNS settings in order to direct your Web traffic to fraudulent sites designed to trick people into divulging sensitive usernames and passwords. In fact, such an attack was perpetrated recently via spam emails.

Update Your Router’s Firmware

You may frequently update your smartphone, your PC, or your apps, but do you remember the last time you updated your router’s firmware? Firmware is a software program permanently etched into a hardware device such as keyboards, hard drive, BIOS, or video cards. It is programmed to give permanent instructions to communicate with other devices and perform functions like basic input/output tasks. Updating the router’s firmware can fix bugs — including security vulnerabilities — and it may even improve your wireless performance.

Many routers will automatically notify you whether a new firmware version is available when you log into the administrative console, and some will even download updates for you automatically. If not, you’ll typically find the firmware update settings under the Administration section, the same place where you can change the router’s administrative password.

Create a Long and Strong Passphrase for Your Wi-Fi Password

WPA requires a wireless passphrase, which is also referred as a network key/password, to be at least 8 characters. However, be reminded that it’s not enough to make your Wi-Fi network secure. If your WPA passphrase consists of a dictionary word or a proper name, there are various free tools and methods available to crack it — sometimes in matter of hours — by monitoring your wireless traffic. Make your WPA passphrase as long as random as possible, combining it with special characters and numbers to make it more complex; it’s the best protection you can make against possible decoding and hacking.

Create a Guest Wi-Fi Network

When you have an office visitor who needs to get Internet access, do you willingly hand over your Wi-Fi network passphrase? If that’s what you usually do, that’s a big no-no. Why? Think about this — what if that visitor’s laptop turned out to be infected with malware, it could potentially find its way onto your network and create numerous damages to your files and network.

Switch to WPA Enterprise

Consider the above example one more time. If you hand out the passphrase for an internal Wi-Fi network to a visitor, nothing prevents that visitor from sharing it with an unauthorized person. Or, what if an employee who knows the passphrase quits or gets fired? What’s to stop that user from using that passphrase to access your network (perhaps after-hours from a car parked outside the building?) You don’t even necessarily need to know the passphrase to a Wi-Fi network to use it on another device, because you can easily look it up from within Windows.

To guard against the second scenario in particular, you could change the passphrase each time it happens, but then you’d also need to update the passphrase on every device that connects to the network, which can be a disruptive and time-consuming process. That’s why a better approach for this is to configure your router to use WPA Enterprise.

Unlike passphrase-based WPA Personal, WPA Enterprise works along with a RADIUS server to authenticate users to a wireless network via user-specific names and passwords, and this makes it easy to terminate access for any individual when necessary. Some routers, though not many, have a built-in RADIUS server, but if yours doesn’t, you can build your own or get one hosted in the cloud.

Tags: ,

This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 4:57:37 AM and is filed under Computer Security & Data Protection.

Leave a Response