Are Personal Wi-Fi Networks Secure?

A common misconception is that home Wi-Fi wireless network is very secure and cannot be accessed by hackers. Although it is true that wireless communications security has improved over the years with the introduction of WPA2 encryption protocol, there are still many weaknesses within the system.

Firstly, internet communication can be intercepted by hackers using sniffing tools such as Wireshack and analyse the many different packets such as SSID, IP address, MAC address and other important information that help identify the network setup. Secondly, using freely available tools, the attacker can use these tools to crack the encrypted signal using the dictionary word search or brute force technique.

If your network has SSID hidden, then unfortunately this will not provide additional security measure. This is because it is easy to scan wireless networks and identify its name (SSID). Furthermore, by disabling the SSID feature it will be more difficult for certain Wi-Fi devices to discover the SSID name and hence fail to connect.

Another Wireless security (Wi-Fi) feature that can be easily compromised is the MAC address filtering. In this case, all the MAC addresses of your devices are added to a list inside your router in order to prevent other devices from accessing the network. Unfortunately, Mac addresses can be discovered as they are available outside the encryption process, and hence the attacker can impersonate a MAC address to gain initial access to the wireless network.

Protect you Wi-Fi Network

  • Use a stronger wireless encryption protocol, and for this purpose it must be WPA2-PSK (AES).
  • Don’t use the default router password, instead the password for your wireless network must be unique and strong enough consisting of various combinations of small and capital letters, characters, numbers, etc.
  • Use a wired connection if available.