12 best practices for wireless network security

The importance of wireless network security cannot be underestimated. With the proliferation of mobile devices and the popularity of public Wi-Fi hotspots, the potential for data breaches and other cybersecurity threats has grown exponentially.

While there are many different steps that can be taken to secure a wireless network, these 12 best practices are key to ensuring your data and devices are safe from malicious actors.

1. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to the login process. It requires users to enter both a username and password, as well as a code generated by an authenticator app. This makes it harder for someone to gain unauthorized access to the network.

To enable two-factor authentication, go to the wireless router’s configuration page and enable the feature. Make sure you download an authenticator app such as Google Authenticator or Authy and have it available when logging in.

You can also consider using passwordless authentication like cloud radius for even more robust protection. This is an important best practice because if someone manages to get your password, they will be able to gain access to your network. By using a cloud-based solution, you can be sure that only authorized users will be able to access your network.

2. Use a strong password

Using a strong password is one of the most important best practices for wireless network security. A strong password is at least eight characters long and includes a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Passwords should be changed regularly to ensure their security.

3. Data encryption

Data encryption is another important best practice for wireless network security. Data encryption scrambles data so that it can only be decrypted and read by authorized users. This helps to protect sensitive information from access by unauthorized persons.

Encryption can be implemented in several ways, including through the use of encryption software, hardware, or services. Make sure employees are aware of the importance of encrypting sensitive data and know how to properly encrypt files.

4. Disabling SSID Broadcast

Disabling SSID broadcast is another best practice for wireless network security. When SSID broadcast is enabled, it allows anyone within range of the wireless network to see the network name. You can disable SSID broadcast by going to the wireless router’s configuration page and disabling the SSID broadcast feature.

The aim is to make it more difficult for unauthorized people to connect to the network. The SSID can still be seen if someone is within range of the network and uses a wireless network scanner, but it won’t be as easily accessible.

5. Using MAC Filtering

Using MAC filtering is another best practice for wireless network security. MAC addresses are unique identifiers assigned to devices that connect to a network.

By only allowing devices with specific MAC addresses to connect to the network, you can help prevent unauthorized access. MAC filtering can be implemented by going to the wireless router’s configuration page and adding the MAC addresses of devices allowed to connect to the network.

6. Enabling WPA3 Security

Enabling WPA3 security is another best practice for wireless network security. WPA3 is the newest and most secure wireless security protocol. It offers better protection than WPA2 and should be used whenever possible.

When shopping for a router, be sure to look for ones that support this latest security protocol. Earlier protocols were easier to compromise, so it’s important to make sure WPA3 is enabled.

7. Use a VPN

Using a VPN is another best practice for wireless network security. A VPN encrypts all traffic between a device and the VPN server, making it harder for someone to eavesdrop on the connection. This is especially important when using public Wi-Fi networks, as they are often less secure than private networks. Make sure to only use VPNs from trusted vendors and make sure employees are aware of the importance of using a VPN when working remotely.

8. Disabling remote administration

Disabling remote administration is another best practice for wireless network security. When remote administration is enabled, it allows anyone with the proper credentials to access the router’s configuration page and make changes to the network. This can pose a security risk, as it allows unauthorized people to potentially gain access to the network. To disable remote administration, go to the wireless router’s configuration page and disable the feature. This will help prevent unauthorized network access.

9. Change Default Password

Changing the default password is another best practice for wireless network security. Many routers come with an easy-to-guess default password. This can pose a security risk, as it allows unauthorized people to potentially gain access to the network.

To change the default password, go to the wireless router’s configuration page and change the password to something harder to guess. Be sure to choose a strong password that is at least 8 characters long and includes a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

10. Use a firewall

Using a firewall is another best practice for wireless network security. A firewall helps protect the network by blocking incoming traffic that is not authorized. This can be especially important in preventing attacks from malware and other malicious software.

To use a firewall, go to the wireless router’s configuration page and enable the feature. There are generally two types of firewalls: network-based and host-based. Network-based firewalls are typically used in business environments, while host-based firewalls can be used on individual devices.

11. Disable UPnP

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a protocol that allows devices to automatically discover and connect to each other. This can pose a security risk, as it allows unauthorized devices to potentially access the network. To disable UPnP, go to the wireless router’s configuration page and disable the feature. You can also disable UPnP on individual devices by accessing the settings menu.

12. Disabling unnecessary services

You often find that routers come with a number of unnecessary services enabled. These can pose a security risk because they can provide potential attackers with information about the network. To disable unnecessary services, go to the wireless router’s configuration page and disable any services that are not needed. This will help reduce the attack surface of the network. Common unnecessary services include things like telnet, SSH, and HTTP.

Conclusion

Implementing these best practices for wireless network security is important to protect the network from potential attacks. By disabling unnecessary services, changing the default password, and enabling two-factor authentication, you can help make it more difficult for unauthorized people to gain access to the network.

Additionally, using a firewall and disabling UPnP can also help protect the network. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your wireless network is secure.

Kevin M. Risinger