5 Most Common Security Threats in Wi-Fi Networks Today & How to Resolve Them

Wireless communication technology along with network operators have made it easy for anyone to access the Internet, even allowing multiple devices to connect to a network at once.

Although relatively easy to use and access, Wi-Fi networks are not secure at all times. Cybercriminals can easily break into Wi-Fi networks with vulnerabilities. They can compromise your data,   retrieve sensitive information, and use it as an advantage to launch malicious attacks.

Worried about your network security? Here are 5 of the most common security vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi networks today and how you can protect yourself from them.

#1. Denial of Service (DoS)

Denial of Service is one of the simplest network attacks because it only requires limiting access to services. Attackers can merely send a large amount of traffic at a specific target to prevent network users from accessing information. For wireless networks, things are easier as the signal can be interfered through a number of different techniques. For a  WLAN that uses  a 2.4 GHz band, an attacker will only have to cause enough interference. This can be  as simple as a microwave oven or a competing access point to its channels to cause service interruption.

What You Can Do:

There are now existing security tools to detect and prevent ICMP flood attacks. Web servers can also be configured to detect and block HTTP request attacks. Additionally, you can block the originating IP address, either at the firewall level or at the ISP level to kill HTTP requests and network-level floods, respectively.

#2. Packet Sniffing

Packet sniffing is a method that a skilled Internet eavesdropper uses to monitor all your activity without your knowledge or permission. It is like wiretapping phone lines that enables hackers to access private information, including your account information in detail, from a wireless network that is not secured.

What You Can Do:

Look up at the address bar of the website whenever you’re online. Seeing an icon of a lock and https:// in the address bar, means you’re connected to a secure website. In this case, all your transmissions, back and forth, are encrypted and would be unreadable. Additionally, using a virtual private network (VPN) is the best way to be online in public. It does not only encrypt your Internet activities but also hides your actual IP address from anyone who might try to track it and trace it back to your computer.

#3. Passive Monitoring

WLANs transmit data in certain distances. It can easily penetrate walls and as a result, the radio signals often go beyond the limits of control. For this reason, it is possible for a cybercriminal to passively retrieve sensitive information even from a distance without being noticed. This information may be used to compromise the security of your network.

Ethernet networks

This vulnerability also exists in wired Ethernet networks but to a lesser degree. The current flow through the metallic wires emits electromagnetic waves that a skilled hacker could pick up by using a listening equipment.

What You Can Do:

To resolve issues of passive monitoring, implement encryption between all devices and access points. Encryption alters the information bits in each frame, preventing hackers to analyze the data captured via passive monitoring.

#4. Rogue Access Points

One method that is often used by cyber attackers is to set up a rogue access point within the range of an existing WLAN. Its goal is to fool some devices into connecting to this access point over the legitimate ones. This way, it is possible for the attackers to access anything on the network. In cases when the WLAN being targeted only provides Internet access, it will be much easier for a rogue access point to offer an Internet access, leaving users unaware of their vulnerability.

Unauthorized Ad-Hoc Networks

Similarly, there are also situations where a legitimate user sets up access point or ad-hoc network without implementing proper security measures. This also provides an easy opening for attackers.

What You Can Do:

To detect and effectively mitigate rogue APs, deploy a WIPS that can trace, locate and block network-connected rogues that pose real danger to your network.

#5. WPA/WPA2 Attacks

A brute-force or dictionary attack is currently the only one known way of hacking into a WPA or WPA 2 protected Wi-Fi connection. To do this, a hacker uses a software that utilizes a dictionary attack list, which is basically a really long list of known passwords, to crack into the network.

What You Can Do:

Since WPA and WPA2 are already well secured, all you have to do is create a password that is completely unique or might as well absurd. You can also buy or download a second level of security if you’d like to take further countermeasures.

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