Wireless Network Security Wants and Needs
Our Clients Want to Simultaneously Use the Latest Content Delivery Devices, Toys, and Gadgets, Yet Still Feel Secure That Their Network will Not be Compromised.
Network security is a multilayered process, as no single method, tool, or process can provide full protection. Network management tools such as firewalls can manage access from outside addresses and limitations on protocols and ports allowed. A managed switch can control which data gets where and control devices by setting up VLANs.
Wireless distribution of media and data can add yet another layer of security risk to the network. Although it’s the most convenient method for connecting devices, it is also the least efficient and problematic. Still, when it comes to end users, convenience almost always rules over stability.
From media streaming devices, such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, Apple TV, to tablets, mobile phones, and laptops, a fair number of devices will access a network via a wireless connection. Our clients want to simultaneously use the latest content delivery devices, toys, and gadgets, yet still feel secure that their network will not be compromised. It is our responsibility to verify all steps have been taken to satisfy their wants and needs.
SSID or Don’t
One of the simplest steps that one can take to project wireless devices is to turn off the SSID Broadcast function. By default, many wireless connection points provide a public broadcast of the name, making it easier to locate. While making it easier to identify the router or access point when initially setting up, it is best to not take Thomas Dolby’s call to ‘Be in my Broadcast.’ Once the need to call out the unit is done, this option should be turned off.
Truth be told, turning off the broadcast feature will provide only limited wireless security benefits, as most off-the-shelf Wi-Fi scanners can strip this information from the signal and report it back even with the feature turned off. As a first line of defense, however, and as a way to thwart the casual bandwidth thief, it is still worth implementing.
Complicated is Good
When it comes to interfaces, manuals, or set-up instructions, simplicity is always the best approach; get straight to the point with little fuss or unnecessary steps. On the other hand, when dealing with network security, the more complex something is, the safer it will be from hackers.
Wi-Fi devices often offer a selection of security standards, and most can be described as “harmless.” Always choose the highest level of security that the majority of devices can utilize. At a minimum, use WPA2 with PSK.
Complicated is also best when creating encryptions passkeys and passwords. We often make the mistake of choosing catchphrases or names that are familiar to us, easy to create, and easy to remember. The trouble is, these are also among the easiest combinations to figure out, often without the need of matching software. While it will seem like somewhat of a hassle, use the longest random combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.