There’s no doubt that wireless network attacks can have a devastating impact on both homes and businesses. Unfortunately, many people simply don’t have a good understanding of what a wireless attack is, or how it can be prevented.
Yet, with more people now moving away from wired networks to the convenience of wireless networks, it’s vital to understand the risks associated with wireless network attacks. Let’s take a look at the various types of wireless attacks, and most importantly, how to prevent them to protect your home or business network.
What is a wireless attack?
A wireless attack is a form of cyberattack that exposes a specific Wi-Fi network. Once a cybercriminal has gained access to a network, they’re often able to retrieve sensitive or private data stored on the devices connected to it. This exposure of private information can lead to identity and money theft, and in a corporate environment, leaked client and business-related data.
Types of wireless attacks
There are various types of wireless attacks, with each having its own set of risks. For this reason, it’s imperative that both businesses and individuals are aware of the different forms of a wireless attack. Let’s take a look at each type:
Smishing is a common type of attack, mainly targeting smartphone users. This is quite concerning, given the huge volume of smartphone users worldwide. Cybercriminals use smishing in a number of ways — a common method involves the sending of an SMS with a link to a user’s phone. The link ultimately infects the smartphone, which then gives the cybercriminal access to confidential information stored on it, via its wireless internet connection.
Although not as common as smishing, bluejacking is nevertheless a form of attack that people should still be aware of. It involves the sending of an unauthorised message to a device via a Bluetooth connection. Harmful software contained within the message then infects the device, giving the unauthorised user access to information stored within it. Similar to bluejacking is bluesnarfing — this involves a cybercriminal copying data from another user’s device to their own, again via a Bluetooth connection.
A WEP attack involves an unauthorised user accessing a particular network by bypassing the router’s WEP security module. WEP, or Wired Equivalent Privacy, helps protect against unauthorised network access, by providing a level of protection similar to that of a LAN connection. Once a cybercriminal has successfully accessed the network, they effectively gain entry to a range of user accounts with encryption keys that can be monitored for the purpose of finding a gap in the network’s security.
Fake access points
Fake access points are a type of wireless attack that involve fake networks posing as free Wi-Fi networks that are commonly offered by facilities such as hotels, restaurants and shopping malls. These fake access points can be difficult to identify, as they usually have a similar SSID (Service Set Identifier) as the facility’s free network. Once an individual has connected to the fake access point, the cybercriminal gains access to data stored on the user’s device.
Most Wi-Fi routers now use WPA or WPA2 technology to enhance the security of network connections. Both of these technologies use different encryption methods to older WEP technology to help prevent cyberattacks, yet there are still instances of attacks on routers with WPA/WPA2 protection. When it comes to WPA technology, cybercriminals will monitor either network traffic or packet data to search for vulnerabilities, or a way to break through the network’s security.
How to prevent wireless network attacks
Thankfully, there are a range of protective measures that can be taken to protect both home and business networks against wireless attacks. These include:
- Be cautious of free Wi-Fi networks — If you find yourself needing to connect with a free Wi-Fi access point, you should confirm the correct SSID details with the provider. It’s also a wise idea to connect only to networks that require a password.
- Check your home router’s security — It’s imperative that appropriate security modules are implemented in your home router, as it provides Wi-Fi access to all devices connected to it. Ensure you change the default SSID and password during the initial set-up process — this will equip your network with an extra layer of security.
- Ensure business networks are adequately protected — Again, avoid using the router’s default SSID and password. Additional security measures should also be taken in a business environment to protect sensitive business data.
Along with a network firewall system that prevents unauthorised users from gaining access, it’s important that each computer connected to the wireless network has firewalls and antivirus programs installed. This can help keep invaders out of your network, as well as prevent access to confidential data should they be successful in gaining access.
- Undertake regular network checkups — For businesses, regular checking and testing of the wireless network are important to ensure that you remain adequately protected from the risk of attack. A reputable IT support service provider such as Jim’s I.T can assess your network for any vulnerabilities or weaknesses that may leave it open to attacks, before they’re identified by cybercriminals.
Jim’s I.T — Your local Wi-Fi and network security specialists
Hopefully, this guide has helped answer your questions on how to prevent wireless network attacks. At Jim’s I.T, we take network security seriously. As your local Wi-Fi and network security experts, we provide a range of professional services designed to ensure that your network stays up and running, efficiently and securely, at all times.
From Wi-Fi and network security, to virus and malware removal and more, you can be sure that our team has all of your home and business IT needs covered. To keep things easy, we offer free quotes, fixed pricing and same-day service for calls booked before 10am. Request a quote or get in touch with our professional team today!