Nowadays, there are so many devices that it can be challenging to remain secure while browsing the internet, shopping online, or communicating with co-workers. Businesses need to implement strong security strategies to protect themselves from malicious actors.
Hackers are finding innovative ways to gain unauthorized access to company computer systems. However, one of the simplest ways to do so is through an unsecured Wi-Fi network. One U.K. survey suggests that 72% of companies that suffered a data breach found that their network was infiltrated using an unsecured wireless device.
Companies worldwide and in every industry need to focus on protecting their wireless devices and network to prevent hackers from exploiting their vulnerabilities.
Let’s learn about some of the issues associated with using an unsecured network, vulnerabilities that crop up, and how you can secure your network to keep hackers at bay.
Issues With Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks
Unsecured Wi-Fi networks, as their name suggests, are Wi-Fi networks that can be connected to and lack any securit
y features such as a password and username requirement.
On the other hand, secure networks require users to log in with an email, agree to legal terms and conditions, enter a password, or register an account with the provider.
Companies often use various security technologies and techniques to protect their Wi-Fi networks. These include routers with firewalls, including pre-programmed security features, antivirus software, and public and private access control methods.
It is worth noting that connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network is more convenient. However, users should be aware that some data may be exposed when using these networks.
When a Wi-Fi network is not secure, it can lead to several vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Let’s explore some of these vulnerabilities so you’re more prepared to expect them if you plan to use unsecured networks.
Vulnerabilities Caused by Unsecured Networks
Below are some of the most common risks and vulnerabilities associated with using Wi-Fi networks that lack basic security features:
● Piggybacking: When a hacker can access your internet connection, even if they’re 150-300 feet away. This can open your network to unintended users.
● Evil twin attacks: Malicious actors create another network meant to impersonate your network, and as people connect to this false network, they can steal user data.
● Unauthorized access: Hackers can gain access to files you’ve unintentionally made available to those who connect to your network.
● Wardriving: A specific kind of piggybacking where hackers drive through cities and towns with a Wi-Fi-enabled device to search for unsecured networks.
● Wireless sniffing: Hackers use sniffing tools to locate sensitive information, including usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers.
● Shoulder sniffing: This is a simple yet dangerous issue — hackers spy over your shoulder in public areas to steal personal or identifiable information.
All of these potential issues, among others, such as cyberattacks or data breaches, are some of the risks you open yourself up to when you fail to secure your wireless network.
Secure Your Wi-Fi Network to Protect Your Business
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a website dedicated to helping people and businesses secure their personal or company Wi-Fi networks to ensure their protection. We will focus on how companies can improve their cybersecurity measures by securing their wireless network.
Here are some FTC suggestions:
● Change pre-set router passwords and continuously update the router’s software.
● Enable full-disk encryption for laptops and mobile devices that connect to your network remotely.
● Turn off the automatic connection setting on company smartphones.
● Use updated antivirus software on any company devices connected to your network.
● Secure remote access to your network.
And here are some final tips to maintain a secure network:
● Before letting devices connect to your network, ensure they meet your security standards.
● Warn your employees about potential vulnerabilities that come with using unsecured wireless networks.
● Help employees understand current cybersecurity practices.
● Always provide new employees with cybersecurity training.
● Encourage staff to use strong, unique passwords.
● Create a VPN for employees to use when connecting to your network remotely.
● If you offer Wi-Fi to guests at your business, do not allow them to connect to your business network.
Hopefully, you know why it’s important to secure your wireless network to avoid falling victim to hackers or other cybercriminals.
Avoid Using Unsecured Wireless Networks
While they are more convenient than your secure Wi-Fi network, unsecured wireless networks threaten your company’s security. It’s best to take preventive steps to lessen the chance of experiencing a cyber incident.