Wi-Fi networks might be the most helpful part of your business IT infrastructure. Sadly, unless they are well protected, they could be the source of your worst nightmares, too. Like any other tech advancement, this one can also be used by network attackers to:
- Instigate attacks against your business servers
- Hack into your employees’ connected devices
- Steal (intercept) data from any connected devices
- Act as a hijacked or “slave” network by international criminals who use it to hide their identities
It goes without saying that you should always be one step ahead of attackers by taking necessary precautions to keep your Wi-Fi network secure at all times. There are a few ways to do that, so let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways you can start.
1. Change Default Passwords
You’d be surprised how many people leave their networks open to attacks by ignoring this simple step. How can you not think of changing the password that so many others know (the manufacturers, their workers, anyone who can Google “default password,” etc.)? The very first thing you should do is change any and all default passwords – and always remember the safe password rules.
2. Change Default Network IDs
Changing your default network name will make it difficult for automated attacks to occur, as they won’t know what network lies behind it. If you keep the default name, it will make it easier for attackers to figure out the default password and use it to get into your network.
3. Activate Encryption
If attackers should get their hands on the data coming out of your network, they would be holding onto randomized characters they couldn’t read, let alone change and pass on – that is, if you’ve had your data encrypted. That’s why this should be one of the very first things you do.
Advanced Steps in Securing Your Wi-Fi
We’ve got the easy steps out of the way – now, let’s look at some more advanced security options you should look into if you’re worried about your network’s security.
4. Add a Router
Although your Wi-Fi access point does come with its own in-built router, you would be well advised to add another buffer layer with the addition of another router.
5. Add a Firewall
A firewall makes sure only the data you want going in and out of your network does so. Invest in one; it doesn’t matter if you opt for an actual independent device or just software installed on individual devices. With some software firewalls, you’ll be protected against the likes of phishing attacks. They can also act as anti-viruses. If you think it’s an expensive investment, (keep in mind the heavy price following an attack) get some of the free firewalls that can also do the job.
6. Remove Guest Access
Although it’s a nice gesture to offer anyone who walks through your doors the luxury of free Internet access, you are doing so at a risk. While most customers may just be checking their Facebook pages or Twitter mentions, there are others who can exploit an open guest account and won’t be as nice. If you want to make sure your visitors do get their browsing time, set up a password and give it to them, but change them on a regular basis. It defeats the purpose if everyone around the block knows you’ve been giving the same password out for the past 3 months.
7. Use VPNs
It might seem to be a bit over the top, but you can make sure your identity remains hidden by using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. These security applications cloak your data as it traverses the Internet, making sure no one knows who you are and changing your IP address – keeping the average hackers at bay.
8. Turn off Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)
This feature is an enhancement made on certified Wi-Fi products that allows them to add new devices to a secure Wi-Fi network. When someone presses a button on the access point, the WPS automatically sends the Wi-Fi network’s name (SSID) and password to a client device and allows it join. This means that if a potential attacker was to make it into the vicinity of your hardware setup, all they need to do is push the button and they are in.
Take Digital Security Seriously
Remember that only after a small business is hit hard by virtual attackers do they begin to realize the importance of Wi-Fi security. Don’t be a victim! Lock your network down and keep your business and employees safe. You’ll be glad you did!