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Madiha Rizvi Group

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Archipp Likhachev
Archipp Likhachev

Wireless Network Security

Wireless network security is the process of designing, implementing and ensuring security on a wireless computer network. It is a subset of network security that adds protection for a wireless computer network.

Wireless Network Security


Wireless network security primarily protects a wireless network from unauthorized and malicious access attempts. Typically, wireless network security is delivered through wireless devices (usually a wireless router/switch) that encrypts and secures all wireless communication by default. Even if the wireless network security is compromised, the hacker is not able to view the content of the traffic/packet in transit. Moreover, wireless intrusion detection and prevention systems also enable protection of a wireless network by alerting the wireless network administrator in case of a security breach.

Wi-Fi security is the protection of devices and networks connected in a wireless environment. Without Wi-Fi security, a networking device such as a wireless access point or a router can be accessed by anyone using a computer or mobile device within range of the router's wireless signal.

Using open or unsecured networks can be risky for users and organizations. Adversaries using internet-connected devices can collect users' personal information and steal identities, compromise financial and other sensitive business data, "eavesdrop" on communications, and more.

Another basic approach to Wi-Fi security is to use MAC addresses, which restrict access to a Wi-Fi network. (A MAC address is a unique code or number used to identify individual devices on a network.) While this tactic provides a higher measure of security than an open network, it is still susceptible to attack by adversaries using "spoofed" or modified addresses.

A more common method of protecting Wi-Fi networks and devices is the use of security protocols that utilize encryption. Encryption in digital communications encodes data and then decodes it only for authorized recipients.

There are several types of encryption standards in use today, including Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). See the section "Types of wireless security protocols" on this page for more details about these and other standards related to Wi-Fi security.

There are many types of consumer and enterprise software that also can provide Wi-Fi security. Some Wi-Fi protection software is bundled with related products, such as antivirus software. For more information about Wi-Fi security software, see the next question.

A vast array of security software aimed at the consumer and enterprise markets can provide protection to wireless networks and Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as routers, switches, controllers, and access points. Many of these solutions are downloadable to wireless LANs (WLANs) and mobile devices.

Some newer software solutions designed to secure Wi-Fi are built into the backbone of the internet and are available via cloud platforms. These solutions provide a first line of defense against breaches of wireless networks by preventing users from accessing malicious sites.

There are four main wireless-security protocols. These protocols were developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, an organization that promotes wireless technologies and interoperability. The group introduced three of the protocols, described below, in the late 1990s. Since then, the protocols have been improved with stronger encryption. The fourth protocol was released in 2018.

The first wireless security protocol was WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). It was the standard method of providing wireless network security from the late 1990s until 2004. WEP was hard to configure, and it used only basic (64-/128-bit) encryption. WEP is no longer considered secure and should be replaced by a newer protocol such as WPA2, described below.

WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) was developed in 2003. It delivers stronger (128-/256-bit) encryption than WEP by using a security protocol known as Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP). Along with WPA2, WPA is the most common protocol in use today. But unlike WPA2, it is compatible with older software.

WPA2, a later version of WPA, was developed in 2004. It's easier to configure and provides even greater network security than WPA by using a security protocol known as the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Versions of the WPA2 protocol are available for individual users and enterprises.

A new generation of WPA, known as WPA3, is designed to deliver simpler configuration and even stronger (192-/256-/384-bit) encryption and security than any of its predecessors. It is also meant to work across the latest Wi-Fi 6 networks.

One type is known as an "active" device, which is hardware configured to block surplus network traffic. Examples of these devices for Wi-Fi network security include firewalls, antivirus scanners, and content-filtering devices.

Passive Wi-Fi network security devices detect and report on unwanted network traffic. Passive devices use less power than other Wi-Fi devices. They also have an extra layer of security because they can communicate with Wi-Fi routers only when the routers are seeking them.

A preventive device, such as a wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS), can scan networks to identify potential security issues. A WIPS can be integrated into networks or overlaid using standalone sensors. Some WIPSs, however, conduct only intermittent monitoring, leaving networks occasionally vulnerable.

UTM systems incorporate vital elements of network security: firewalls, content filtering, VPN, antivirus detection, and others. A UTM system offers a simplified way to integrate multiple security functions. It provides these functions at a single point on the network, eliminating the need for point solutions from multiple vendors.

The global health crisis has helped to emphasize the importance of Wi-Fi security, since many organizations now need their employees to work from home. Home Wi-Fi networks that lack strong security are vulnerable to attack. That vulnerability can threaten the security of company networks.

The proliferation of public Wi-Fi also creates security issues for individual users and organizations. These networks are by definition "open" and, therefore, unprotected. Devices accessing public networks are highly susceptible to malware, spyware, and other malicious activity, such as the MITM attack described earlier.

Attackers use IP spoofing to penetrate wireless networks by impersonating trusted IP addresses. This approach may allow attackers to plant malware, initiate distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, or carry out other nefarious acts.

Wireless networks are also susceptible to a threat known as DNS-cache poisoning, often called DNS spoofing. This tactic involves hacking a network and diverting network traffic to an attacker's computer or server or to another out-of-network device. The risk for users is connecting to a malicious version of a legitimate network they want to access.

As noted earlier, bad actors can use open or unsecured wireless networks to conduct illegal activity, monitor web traffic, steal information, and more. They can do this by "piggybacking" on the internet service of real subscribers. The bad actors tap into the unsecure service to set up their own internet connections, without the legitimate users' knowledge.

There is another version of this practice, known as "wardriving." Individuals drive, walk, or cycle slowly through densely populated areas with wireless-equipped laptops or smartphones, searching for unsecured wireless networks to connect to. While instances of piggybacking and wardriving are often cases of people who are just seeking "free" internet connections, there's certainly a question of whether these practices are ethical. And many individuals who engage in these activities are intent on mischief. That's why Wi-Fi security should be a top-of-mind concern for all users of Wi-Fi networks.

Multiple, siloed network management tools increase complexity and risk. Unify remote, branch, campus, and data center connectivity by converging the management of wired, wireless, and WAN networks onto a single cloud-native platform.

Detect and resolve issues before users notice them. AI-powered insights, alerts, and troubleshooting help IT solve problems 90% faster and fine-tune settings with ease, so the network keeps business running at peak levels.

Protect users and networks by replacing static VLANs and ACLs with policy-based automation, advanced threat intelligence, and AI-based device profiling. Ensure users have reliable access, no matter how or where they connect.

Wireless networks have become an integral part of our lives in the digital age. We use them to stay connected with family and friends, conduct business, and access the internet. A wireless network allows devices to connect to the internet without being physically connected to a router or modem. While this convenience can be a lifesaver when you need to get work done on the go, it can also leave your devices vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Wireless security prevents unauthorized access or damage to computers using wireless networks. The most common type of wireless security is Wi-Fi security, which protects information sent through a Wi-Fi network.

Several different types of security measures can be used to protect Wi-Fi networks. The most common type of security is Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), a technology that was developed in response to the weaknesses of Wire Equivalent Privacy (WEP) (Mitchell, 2021).

The type of security you need depends on the type of wireless network you have. If you have a home network, you may only need to use WPA2. However, if you have a business network, you may need to use cloud security best practices and other types of security, such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or firewalls.

Wireless network security is vital because it helps protect your data from unauthorized access. Wi-Fi networks are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks because they use radio waves to transmit data; this means that anyone within range of the Wi-Fi signal can potentially intercept and read the data being sent. 041b061a72


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