WiFi Breaches

Recently, security researchers discovered that the WiFi networks at many of WeWork’s global office spaces had security issues.

According to these articles, WeWork used the same weak WiFi password at all of their locations. Putting their systems, and their customer’s information at risk.

You can read more about the specifics here: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/weworks-wifi-security-worryingly/, and here: https://www.fastcompany.com/90391748/weworks-wi-fi-network-is-easy-to-hack.

Impact

But, what’s the big deal? At least the WiFi network wasn’t open, right?

WiFi passwords not only prevent thieves from stealing your Internet connection bandwidth, but also keep the traffic on your network confidential.

Using a known password is the same as not using a password. While password protecting a WiFi network will provide encryption and prevent eavesdropping, even unskilled attackers can steal sensitive information once the password is known. In other words, if the password isn’t a secret, then the information isn’t either.

System’s on the same network are also directly accessible, exposing sensitive data and communications to each other. Thieves can leverage this to exploit customer data, or other sensitive systems on the same network.

Mitigation

Setting up WiFi networks is cheaper and easier than wired networks, but in order to get some of the same privacy and security back:

  1. Use strong passwords
  2. Use different passwords
  3. Change the password periodically
  4. Separate sensitive systems

If you operate more than one wireless network, it’s important to use a different password for each. Attackers know that people reuse passwords, so don’t make it any easier for them.

Attackers also share information with other attackers. Once one knows the password, it’s a matter of time before it’s coming knowledge. The best thing to combat this is to change the password periodically. Monthly or quarterly is sufficient for most wireless implementations.

Finally, don’t put sensitive systems on the same network as non-sensitive systems. As an example, point of sale systems (such as cash registers or credit card readers) should not be connected to the same WiFi networks that customers connect to. This is the equivalent of leaving the cash register alone with your customers. Even if it’s locked, it’s just a matter of time before it’s broken in to. Unless you’re monitoring every communication on your WiFi network (and even if you are, why risk it?), you cannot trust your sensitive systems to be on the same network as less trustworthy systems.

Cassidy’s Can Help

WiFi is easy to setup, certainly easier than wired. But, it’s also easy to setup insecurely.

If you’re setting up a new network, expanding an old one, or just concerned about your WiFi security let us know. We can help you set it up securely.

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