written by Chris Griesemer

Isn’t wireless technology great? I think I have a total of 10 wireless devices attached to my wireless network at home. I use my notebook to browse the web, I use my phone to send emails and texts, my son’s Xbox, I even print to a wireless printer.

How many businesses have notebook computers or other wireless devices that wonder into the wireless world without so much as even a guideline for them to follow? Whether it is an employee using their notebook on their unsecured wireless network at home, using it at a public hotspot like a local coffee shop or using it at a hotel when they are on the road. All of these locations are security risks.

So what can a business do to help mitigate this risk? The first and most important is to come up with policies and procedures that explain what an employee can and can’t do with their wireless device. Using the device on an unsecured wireless network should probably be restricted. What about using the device at home? Here are some guidelines that will help lower risk associated with home wireless networks:

  1. Use some form of encryption
  2. Disable the SSID broadcast.  This prevents your network name from being displayed.
  3. Filter your network by MAC address.  Wireless devices have a MAC address.  You can program your network to only allow certain MAC addresses on your network.
  4. Filter by IP address.  Again, you can program your network to only allow 2 or 3 IP addresses.

As convenient as wireless networks are, they also pose a security risk to businesses. There are actually people out there sitting at public hot spots “sniffing” the air with their computer so they can grab a username and password or a worse, a credit card number. Make sure employee’s understand the risks associated with wireless networks.

Contact me for more information about securing your wireless network.

By Chris Griesemer, IT Security Specialist