Wireless networking has proved to be a popular and
convenient technology for both homes and businesses,
but this new connectivity option also has the
potential to be an easy way for computer criminals and
troublemakers to gain access to your computer and the
information it contains.
Wireless networking, popularly known as WiFi, allows
computers and personal digital assistants to connect
to a local area network as well as the internet
through the use of radio waves. By not having to be
physically connected to the network via a networking
cable, the user has the freedom to do their work
anywhere within the transmitting range of the network
This ability to work anywhere allows offices to be
configured without having to be concerned of where the
network jack is in relation to the computer, you can
place the computer anywhere you have electricity.
When using a laptop, the user can be connected just
about anywhere. Wireless networking can also save
users money in that as new employees are added or
offices are moved, new networking cable does not need
to be installed.
The drawback to this new high-tech wonder is the
potential security risk. In the past, if someone
wanted to gain access to your home or office network
they needed physical access to the equipment or they
would need to try to break in from the Internet—not an
easy task usually. However, with a wireless access
point on your network, a person sitting in your
parking lot with a laptop and freely available
software can potentially gain access to your network,
computers and data just as easily as you can. This
practice is know as wardriving.
If your office computer systems contain sensitive
information such as personal information, medical or
financial records, etc., you will want to have other
precautions in place to prevent the theft of that
information to protect yourself and others from
identity theft, lawsuits, fines and other liabilities.
There are also Federal regulations that deal with
computer security such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
(GLB) and the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (HIPAA) that impose additional
These regulations dictate the computer security
standards that financial, health care and insurance
offices have to adhere to or face penalties and fines
depending on the severity of the violation.
One way to reduce your chances of getting hacked is
to encrypt your wireless network. Refer to the owners
manual for your access point on how to configure this
option. This will prevent the casual wardriver from
getting onto your network.
Additional measures involve changing the way your
wireless network appears to outside users, restricting
the computers that can access the network and adding
additional layers of encryption.
Wireless networking can be a great benefit to your
office if you take the right precautions and keep it
safe and secure!
If you have any questions or needs regarding wireless
network security, please contact us!
Man charged with tapping into wireless computer system