NCSAM/2011–Week 2 summary–wireless networking (Wi-Fi)
So, what did we learn this week?
Don't disable SSID broadcast
While it may sound like it helps you secure your network, it doesn’t really do anything of the sort. About the only argument in favour of this feature is that it causes casual users to select a different SSID to connect to when they’re looking to leech free WiFi. Not a security feature, because your SSID is broadcast by every device as it searches to connect to your router.
Don't use WEP or WPA
These encryption protocols are flawed and take seconds to break. WPA2 is the only current strong encryption mode for wireless traffic, and for enterprises, you can look to 802.1x as an alternative.
Beware Rogue Access Points
Whether it’s “HPSetup”, “Free Public Wi-Fi”, “attwifi”, “Starbucks” or a number of other SSIDs, there are people out there who set up their computer to look like a wireless router, and to offer free Internet, in the hope that they can steal your credentials, your traffic, your transactions, your money. Make sure you connect to the right access point for the environment you’re in, and take other measures to protect yourself.
Use a VPN
Connect back home to your own VPN. Ask if your ISP has a VPN you can connect through when you don’t trust the local network.
WiFi is MITM Central
Although we used to say that the Internet was somewhat safe – even if not secured – that isn’t true when the medium you connect over is a public, broadcast and interceptable signal such is Wi-Fi. On a wireless network, everyone can read your packets, everyone can write packets pretending to be from you, and anyone can pretend to be the local Wireless Access Point (WAP).
Up next week: Names and Addresses
And do, please, leave comments or email to let me know if you’re enjoying this series, which is published because October is “National Cyber Security Awareness Month”.