Even though Wi-Fi allows you to connect to high speed Internet wirelessly, if your Wi-Fi network is not secured using a strong password, hackers can easily access gain access to your network and steal your personal and confidential information without your consent.
Wi-Fi security attacks can be classified into two types, namely passive attacks and active attacks.
Passive Wi-Fi Attacks
Since hackers do not connect to the Wi-Fi network directly in passive attacks, such security attacks can go undetected. In fact, the attack is all about using software for capturing gigabytes of network traffic from an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Here are two examples of passive attacks.
Stealing Account Details and Passwords
Sound frightening? By using some software, hackers will be able to receive your account details and password over the network. Whenever you check your email account or perform Internet banking by entering user id and password, the text that you enter will be sent to the hacker and you won’t know about it. Once such details are gained, hackers can access your accounts at their leisure.
Emails and text messages that we exchange are sent in HTML. These can be monitored easily on an unsecured Wi-Fi spot, and hackers will monitor your browsing habits and the content you view on your PC.
Active Wi-Fi Attacks
Active attacks are comparatively more dangerous as hackers can not only connect to your Wi-Fi network but also they can actively attack the devices connect to the network in a bid to steal sensitive information. Here are three types of active attacks.
Accessing your PC’s Data
If you have enabled file sharing on an unsecure Wi-Fi network, hackers will not face any difficulties in accessing the data present in your hard disk. Hackers will be able to access your PC, gain control over it, and steal your important files and personal documents that you have stored on your PC whenever they want.
Attacking a Corporate Network
If your unsecure Wi-Fi network has been set up to connect with a corporate network by using VPN, hackers will be able to attack any system that connects to that network. If the VPN is not configured correctly, hackers can launch attacks through the VPN.
Through unsecured Wi-Fi spots hackers can send spam messages and perform virus attacks. Such attacks are so powerful that investigators will not be able to trace the original point from which the attack began. Investigation will show that attacks were launched by your network and it won’t be able to trace the real culprits.
Securing Your Wi-Fi Network at Home
On an open Wi-Fi network, hackers can easily steal sensitive information such as driver’s license and social security numbers. They can also steal your email account to create new accounts in financial institutions in your name without your consent.
They can tamper with your investment accounts and can also use your confidential information to get utility services like telephone and cable. They can use your details to apply for loans or can even file bankruptcy in your name.
Avoid such cases of identity theft by securing your Wi-Fi network at home by using the following security tips:
- WPA and WP2 are security protocols used for protecting Wi-Fi networks. Do not use WEP encryption as it cannot completely secure your network.
- Set a password for your router.
- Change your SSID (Service Set Identifier) name from its default name to something unique. The SSID is the public name of a wireless network.
- Disable SSID broadcasting so nobody will be able to see your network in available Wi-Fi networks.
- Install a firewall on your PC.
- Turn off your Internet and router when not in use.
- Disable remote login and wireless administration through your router.