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Oman Cybersecurity CTF competition

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Securing Data Over the Air!

Securing Data Over the Air!

Category: Wireless Security | Published Date: 11/08/2012 | Author: Ahmed Hassan Al Lawati | Rating: Securing Data Over the Air!(3034 Votes)


Wifi or wireless is one of the dominant communication technologies that we commonly use these days. It was first released in 1997, with very limited features. Now it is an essential element of our day to day life, regardless of our location; whether you are at an airport, coffee shop or even at home.  Mobile devices such as; cell phones, pads, notebooks, etc. play a big role in promoting the technology, as it is the most convenient communication method offered enabling access to social media, emails, and ecommerce.

The question is? Is it a secure platform to carry out electronic Transactions? Can it be trusted for the required level of security? These are serious issues to consider.

This article is about how to improve the security of home wireless networks. It discusses some practices that can be adopted by home users; to increase the security of their wireless network.


Step 1: Securing wireless router or access point administration portal

Most of the routers and access points have an administrator page which can be accessed using a browser. It requires a user name and a password to log into the device and modify configuration settings. Most devices are provided with a weak default password like "password" or the manufacturer's name, and some don't have a password at all.  As soon as you set up a new WLAN router or access point, your first step should be to change the default password to something else. Make sure you memorize the password or store it somewhere safe; as without it, the only way to access the router or access point may be to reset it to factory default settings which will wipe away configuration changes you've made.


Step 2: Disable SSID Broadcast:

Service Set Identifier (SSID) is the WLAN network name broadcasted by the access point. This makes setting up wireless clients extremely convenient since you can locate a WLAN without having to know what it's called, but it will also make your WLAN visible to others. Turning off SSID broadcast makes it invisible to your neighbours and passers-by (though it will still be detectible by WLAN other methods).


Step 3: Enable WPA2-AES encryption:

Majority of Wi-Fi equipment supports some form of encryption. Encryption technology scrambles messages sent over wireless networks so that they cannot be easily read by humans. Several encryption technologies exist for Wi-Fi today. Go with WPA or WPA2-AES if at all possible, since WEP is relatively easy to crack.


Step 4: Disable remote administration

Most routers provide the feature of remote administration over the Internet. Ideally, it is recommended to disable this feature as you may not need it. Otherwise, almost anyone anywhere could potentially find and access your router. It's best to keep remote administration turned off. (It's usually turned off by default, but it's always a good idea to check.)


Conclusion

We are fully dependent on wireless technology whenever we share connectivity among several devices, whether we admit it or not.  The technology can truly serve us at its best when we tune it adequately secure enough to facilitate our day to day activities.


Easy steps to secure your wireless routers and access points