Originally Posted On: https://www.iquanti.com/
What You Need to Know About Weak WiFi Security
If there’s one thing you need to know about weak WiFi security, it’s that it offers about as much cybersecurity as a door with a broken lock would to your office. This fact isn’t obvious to most people, who in many cases don’t know what they don’t know before they undergo security awareness training.
Thankfully, after completing security awareness training, many will realize fixing weak WiFi security is surprisingly simple. Being mindful about WiFi security is very similar to being mindful of locking doors.
But first, it’s important that you and everyone in your organization understands the basics of how and why strong WiFi security can protect everyone in your network.
What is Weak WiFi Security?
Most public WiFi networks have weak security. Operating on a public WiFi network is like being in a room where everyone can hear your conversations, see your screen, and even use your computer without your knowledge or permission — in other words, information shared over public WiFi is essentially public information.
How Unsecure WiFi Works vs Secure WiFi
WiFi is a transmission technology that allows devices, like computers and phones, to connect to the internet by sending data through signals that travel through the air. This data can be easily intercepted by cyber attackers if it’s not protected — they can use a tool which intercepts the signal and essentially snatches the data out of thin air.
Public networks enable data to travel freely between devices and its router, but private networks protect the data as it travels by encrypting it. Encryption essentially creates a tunnel through which data can travel, and it cannot easily be intercepted or deciphered by cyberattackers.
Similarly, the virtual entry points to private WiFi networks are encrypted and/or password protected. This makes it difficult for cyberattackers to gain access to the network and then infiltrate connected devices. But there are different types of WiFi connections, some more secure than others.
WPS stands for WiFi Protected Setup, and when it comes to cybersecurity, it doesn’t necessarily live up to its name.
WPS was designed to easily connect devices to a network. You can find a WPS button on the back of many routers as well as devices like printers. At the push of a button, these devices can connect to the network without using a password — which is a nice convenience as opposed to typing in a long and complicated password. But that creates a vulnerability that cyberattackers can exploit.
Sometimes you may need to use a PIN to use WPS, but this is a relatively easy lock for cyberattackers to pick, so to speak. This is why it’s generally recommended to disable WPS on a secure network. Otherwise, you’re essentially leaving a window open in your office that a thief could climb through.
What is Good WiFi Security?
Good WiFi security is the virtual equivalent of having security clearance measures inside your corporate headquarters: there are doors that lock properly and block intruders from seeing and hearing what’s going on inside conference rooms and offices.
Just like physical entrances can have passwords, so do the virtual entrances to your network. The stronger your password is, the harder it is for cyber attackers to “pick” the locks that keep them out of your WiFi network. Security awareness training programs teach employees how to make strong passwords.
Modernize your Security With WPA3 and Modern Devices
WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access; WPA2 and WPA3 are the latest protocols with WPA3 being the most secure to-date.
Imagine how hard it would be to open a number lock without knowing the combination. Now imagine how hard it would be to figure out how to crack the code when the combination is constantly changing. That’s the advantage WPA3 connections offer your network. A WPA2 offers similar benefits but is not as secure as WPA3. The main reasons why organizations are slow to upgrade have to do with upfront expenses — not only do they need to upgrade the WiFi protocol but also ensure everyone is using modern devices that can connect with modern protocols.
This is why, in some rare cases, organizations use outdated WiFi connection protocols like WEP, which was the first ever WiFi protection protocol invented in the 1990s. While WEP protocols are still more secure than a public WiFi network, they are very easy for cyberattackers to break into, effectively making their level of cybersecurity a liability.
If your network is using WPA2, you can still be well protected as long as your WPS is disabled and everyone stays compliant with what they learn from security awareness training. That said, it’s only a matter of time before WPA2 becomes as obsolete as WEP.
When it comes to cybersecurity, you want to stay ahead of cyberattackers by equipping yourself and your organization with the best cybersecurity available — and also the best security awareness training so that everyone can make good use of it.
Why Should I Care About WiFi Security?
WiFi Security is about keeping everyone and everything in your business safe. You don’t want to make it easy for cyberattackers to steal your personal information. You don’t want to look back on an opportunity to keep yourself, your organization, and your co-workers safer and regret that you hadn’t taken it.
Weak Wifi security makes all devices connected to the network vulnerable–including personal phones and computers.
If a cyber attacker can break into your network, they are one step closer to infiltrating the devices — similarly to a thief breaking into the office who can then can get into all the files. That said, there are second-line-of-defense measures that can help protect your network despite a cybersecurity breach.
Security awareness training helps employees understand how to keep each device secure, why they should care, and how everyone can do their part to make your WiFi security as strong and secure as it can be.