The Ultimate Guide to Wireless Network Security for Small Businesses

The Ultimate Guide to Wireless Network Security for Small Businesses

September 2, 2022
| Shelby Vankirk |
Network Security

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.

This blog post will discuss the different types of wireless networks, how they work, and the security measures you need to take to keep your information safe. So if you’re ready to learn more about securing your data, read on!

What is Wireless Network Security?

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).

WPA3 security is the most recent version of WPA and is the most secure of all Wi-Fi security types. WPA3 uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to encrypt data sent over a wireless network.

What Type of Security Is Needed on a Wireless Network?

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.

When configuring security for a wireless network, it’s important to use strong passwords and encryption. Changing your passwords regularly and using different passwords for different networks is also important. Avoid using personal information, such as your birthdate or mother’s maiden name, as hackers can easily guess these.

Why Is Wireless Network Security Important?

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.

Cyberattacks are becoming more common and can have grave consequences on wireless network security. Hackers may be able to access sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or passwords, or they may be able to take control of devices on the network. This can lead to identity theft and financial loss.

Wireless network security is essential to protecting your data and devices from these risks. By taking measures to secure your Wi-Fi network, you can help to keep your information safe from hackers.

How Do I Secure My Wireless Network?

The best way to secure your wireless network is to use WPA2 security. WPA2 uses AES encryption, one of the most secure types of encryption available. You should also use strong passwords and change them regularly. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency suggests that users of wireless networks, whether individuals or enterprise, must continually change default passwords since they are susceptible to manipulation and only provide marginal protection. Additionally, you should avoid using personal information in your passwords.

If you have a business network, you may need to use other types of security, such as VPNs or firewalls. A cloud network security solution is also recommended to protect your data if your network is hacked. Other practical suggestions include maintaining antivirus software, carefully using file sharing systems, and protecting Service Set Identifier (SSID). You can read more about SSIDs here.

No matter what type of wireless network you have, it’s important to take measures to protect your information. By utilizing wireless security techniques, especially WPA2 security, and strong passwords, you can help keep your data safe from hackers.

What Are the Five Techniques Used for Wireless Security?

There are several different techniques that serve to improve the security of a wireless network. The most common techniques include:
  • Encryption: This is the process of converting data into a code that authorized users can only decrypt.
  • Firewalls: A firewall is a system that helps to block unwanted traffic from entering a network.
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): A VPN is a private network that uses encryption to secure data. VPNs can provide a secure connection between two networks or allow remote users to access a network.
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): An IDS is a system that monitors activity on a network and looks for signs of intrusion. If an intrusion is detected, the IDS can take action to block the attacker.
  • Access Control Lists (ACLs): An ACL is a list of permissions that specifies who can access a network resource.

What Are the Three Main Types of Wireless Encryption?

The three main types of wireless encryption are WEP, WPA, and WPA2. WEP is the least secure type of encryption and should only be used if necessary. WPA and WPA2 are more secure, and WPA2 is the most secure type of encryption available. When configuring wireless security, you should always use WPA2 if possible.

What Are WPA and WEP?

WEP is the Wireless Encryption Protocol, considered the least secure type of wireless encryption based on current standards. WEP uses a static key that is shared between all users on a network. This means that if one user’s key is compromised, all users on the network are at risk. WEP also uses weaker encryption than WPA and WPA2; it uses basic (64-/128-bit) encryption, which is hard to configure and susceptible to malicious manipulation.

WPA is the Wi-Fi Protected Access protocol. WPA uses a dynamic key generated and shared between networks. This means that if one user’s key is compromised, only that user is at risk. WPA also uses stronger encryption than WEP.

WPA2 is the most recent version of the Wi-Fi Protected Access protocol. WPA2 uses a dynamic key that is generated and shared between users on a network. WPA2 also uses stronger encryption than WEP and WPA.

Which Is the Strongest Wireless Security?

Presently, WPA3 is the strongest wireless network security system. It supersedes WEP, WPA, and WPA2, in providing security upgrades and wireless network security protection. WPA3 has better data encryption and key sharing capabilities than its predecessors (Sagers, 2021).

What Is the Difference Between WPA2 and WPA3?

WPA2 is the second most recent version of the Wi-Fi Protected Access protocol. WPA2 uses a dynamic key generated and shared between users on a network. WPA2 also uses stronger encryption than previous versions, including WEP and WPA.

WPA3 is the most recent generation of Wi-Fi security, offering more robust protection against potential threats. WPA3 uses enhanced encryption methods, making it more difficult for attackers to access data on a network.

WPA3 has additional security protocol features, including individualized data encryption, which encrypts each user’s data with a unique key. This means that even if one user’s data is compromised, the rest of the users on the network will remain safe. Others include greater protection for passwords and more security for enterprise networks. When configuring wireless security, you should always use WPA3 if possible.

What Is Enterprise Wireless Security?

Enterprise wireless security is securing network or providing wireless network security protection in an enterprise environment. Enterprise wireless networks are typically more extensive and complex than home networks, requiring more sophisticated wireless network security mechanisms. For instance, enterprise wireless security secures a network that connects systems, mainframes, and personal devices within organizations such as Government institutions, schools, and companies.

Enterprise wireless security measures include firewalls, access control lists (ACLs), intrusion detection systems (IDS), data leak prevention systems, and virtual private networks (VPNs). ACLs are often referred to as Identity and Access Management, especially in the business world. You can read more about these measures here. When configuring enterprise wireless security, you should always use the most secure methods possible to help protect your network from potential threats.

Why Are Enterprise Companies So Concerned About Wireless Network Security Threats?

Enterprise companies are genuinely concerned about wireless network security threats because they have sensitive data they need to protect. They hire wireless network security experts to help secure their data from potential security threats. Credible certifications for wireless network security experts like the Certified Network Defender (C|ND) show that an expert has the skills and knowledge needed to help secure an enterprise network.

Credible certifications make potential employers confident and comfortable with your competencies and your ability to deliver. C|ND certification assures your client that you know how to use the most secure methods to secure their enterprise networks. Visit EC-Council to start your journey of becoming a Certified Network Defender.

Visit EC-Council to start your journey of becoming a Certified Network Defender.

References

Amy, N.& Watts, R. (2022). What Is A VPN And How Does It Work? Forbes Magazine. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/what-is-a-vpn-and-how-does-it-work/

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. (2013). Alert (TA13-175A): Risks of Default Passwords on the Internet. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Department of Homeland Security. https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/ncas/alerts/TA13-175A

Khan, A., Al-Zahrani, A., Al-Harbi, S., Al-Nashri, S., & Khan, I. A. (2018, February). Design of an IoT smart home system. In 2018 15th Learning and Technology Conference (L&T) (pp. 1-5). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/LT.2018.8368484

Mitchell, Bradley. (2021, June 27). What is wi-fi protected access (WPA)? A step beyond WEP. Lifewire. https://www.lifewire.com/definition-of-wifi-protected-access-816576

Sagers, G. (2021, December). WPA3: The Greatest Security Protocol That May Never Be. In 2021 International Conference on Computational Science and Computational Intelligence (CSCI) (pp. 1360-1364). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/CSCI54926.2021.00273

Reddy, B. I., & Srikanth, V. (2019). Review on wireless security protocols (WEP, WPA, WPA2 & WPA3). International Journal of Scientific Research in Computer Science, Engineering and Information Technology, 28-35. https://www.academia.edu/download/65316864/CSEIT1953127.pdf

Wi-Fi Alliance. (2022). Wi-Fi Alliance: The worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Alliance. https://www.wi-fi.org/

About the Author

Shelby Vankirk is a freelance technical writer and content consultant with over seven years of experience in the publishing industry, specializing in blogging, SEO copywriting, technical writing, and proofreading.

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