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Guard your Wi-Fi closely!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

With most homes opting for wireless networks, the risk of getting hacked is high. The need to stay on guard is now more than ever, says Gajanan Khergamker

Once again, Mumbai’s cyberspace is in the limelight and for all the wrong reasons. The latest terror attack on Varanasi brought to focus the holes in our security processes...once again! Terror emails continue to be despatched from hacked Wi-Fi networks from Mumbai or nearby.

In a survey conducted by NASSCOM-KPMG and the Mumbai police a few months back, it was revealed a third of the city’s Wi-Fi networks continue remaining unsecured. In all, experts maintain that the number of unsecured networks amounts to a scary figure. The survey revealed that 60 per cent of total business Wi-Fi networks had little or limited protection, while 48 per cent of all home networks were similarly unsecured.

Consider the risks you face while operating a Wi-Fi network. For one, a hacker can easily look at your data access and see the websites you regularly access. If it’s a banking site, he can easily unscramble your user id and password and transfer balances and control your bank account fully. Also remember, access points or APs as they are known to permit data transfer between laptops and the Internet and with the adoption of wireless networks, firewalls are easily bypassed exposing internal systems to free external access.

Ask your engineer to secure your connection that should be turned off, when not in use. Also ensure that you use WPA or WPA2 security on your wireless router and never WEP security and ensure you disable remote administration to prevent anyone from changing the settings of your wireless router on the internet.

Using cryptic SSIDS, turning off the DHCP or disabling the SSID broadcast will not help in securing your wireless connection. If possible, choose a wired network over a wireless one and in case you have to opt for a wireless one, secure it thoroughly before it’s too late.

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