Are your neighbors snooping through your computer?

Are your neighbors snooping through your computer?

Wireless networks are one of the most inherently insecure networks you can run.  Because of this fact, most businesses who take their networks seriously would not expose their valuable information through a wireless network.  But for those of us who use them at home for personal and convenience reasons (that being me), there are a few things you can do to deter would be hackers (or your next-door neighbor) from penetrating your network.  (2014, Difference between WPA and WPA2)

Encrypt your wireless network with WPA2 (Wireless Protected Access 2)

This encryption is fairly standard on almost every wireless router available for purchase.  WPA2 is an improvement on the previous version WPA by not using the TKIP algorithm and instead using the industry and DOD standard AES.  You may have heard of WEP, this is not an encryption we recommend due its encryption being extremely weak; however it is better than using nothing at all.

Disable SSID broadcast or make it unique

Another fairly common method of making your wireless network that much harder to detect is to disable SSID broadcast.  This is accomplished from the management console of your wireless router.  This ensures that your network is not broadcasting publicly which allows it to found much more easily, and targeted more often.  This can make it a little bit more difficult to add new devices to the network.

Enable MAC address filtering

Out of all of the different steps that can be taken to secure your network, MAC address filtering is one of the most important. Again, it can be cumbersome anytime someone comes over to visit or you need to add a new device.  MAC filtering does a good job of adding another layer of security to your network.  MAC filtering is not fool-proof though, it is susceptible to spoofing and MITM attacks.

Advance Persistent Security recommends not keep sensitive information stored on a computer attached to a public wireless network and if you use a private wireless network, ensure it has proper encryption.  There are many places to store sensitive data and a wirelessly connected computer is not one of them.

Other High Profile Breaches:

TalkTalk
Experian (includes T-Mobile)
Scottrade
Trump Hotels
Tesla and Chrysler (unrelated to each other)
Apple App Store
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Kaspersky & FireEye (unrelated to each other)
Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield
Ashley Madison
Ashley Madison (follow up)
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References

Difference between WPA and WPA2
Cracking WEP
MAC Address Filtering
SSID broadcast


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About Matthew Eliason

Matthew Eliason was born in Houston, Texas.  Upon graduating from high school, he joined the Navy.  His first tour was as an Information Systems Technician of a 130 client DOD network where he developed the documentation and maintenance procedures from 2007-2012.  In 2012, he transferred shore duty where he serves as a system and security administrator. He graduates with a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology from American Military University in November of 2015. He holds the CompTIA Security+ certification and has extensive experience in DOD Information Assurance (IA) and Cyber Security compliance and procedures.  He enjoys golf, hiking, watching football in his spare time.