Thursday, 26 Apr 2018

Is Your Wi-Fi Safe?

Is Your Wi-Fi Safe? Make Sure You’re Protected Against The Hackers!

Wireless internet can be found everywhere today, from luxury coffee shops to homes in even the poorest neighbourhoods. Thanks to the widespread nature of Wi-Fi, many of us have lost much of the suspicion we had for the Internet in its early days. We no longer question whether or not a hacker may be trying to break into our computer and steal our data because we feel so safe on our wireless connection.

But this feeling of safety may not match the reality of the situation. Our personal data may be at risk of ending up in the hands of hackers thanks to software bugs in our wireless routers. As many of us do not pay much attention to the equipment and software we use we may not notice these things. A revealing investigation carried out by the Wall Street Journal shows us just how at risk we may be!

A Revealing Investigation

The Wall Street Journal recently decided to commission a cybersecurity expert to put 20 new wireless routers to the test. New wireless routers should be fully patched up with the latest software to keep you safe from outside threats to your network.

Unfortunately, the expert found that many of them were not even remotely up to scratch! Half of the routers tested had outdated firmware with security flaws, several routers even had well-known problems that could have been fixed with a patch.

While outdated software containing security flaws is not a new issue, it is becoming more of a concern with the way that the Internet is used today. This is increasingly becoming a major concern as more people are working remotely and sharing data over Wi-Fi. The kind of information now available to a hacker could potentially be more damaging today than it may have been 10 or 15 years ago.

According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 3.7 million employees work from home at least half of the time. This means that poorly protected wireless networks could potentially put sensitive company information into the hands of a hacker. According to a survey carried out by Neilsen Online, 85% of people worldwide now carry out their shopping online. This means that your credit and debit card information could become compromised if a hacker is able to access your system.

But Peter Tran, GM of network security company RSA believes that although people should be concerned about this, most people aren’t. “The average consumer has their network’s broadcast ID and access point easily accessible. All the settings are on the router, they could configure their own firewall, they could do what they need to secure themselves, but that isn’t something they realize,” he explained.

How To Keep Yourself Safe

Although it may seem like it is all doom and gloom when it comes to Wi-Fi security – it isn’t the case. Once you are aware that you need to keep an eye on the security of your wireless network, you can start to keep yourself safe. Peter Tran has four “Internet hygiene” practices that you can carry out to keep your wireless network safe.

  • Ask your service provider if the “Firmware” (the software permanently programmed into your routers memory) is up to date.
  • Find out what wireless encryption is used by your service provider.
  • Restrict your internet from being discovered by people outside.
  • Set up a complex password which hackers will find difficult to crack – and change it every 90 days.

One final thought from Peter Tran is very important to consider – are the printed circuit board industry part of the problem? He explained that 88 percent of manufacturers that make routers are in Asia and 42 percent of those are manufactured in mainland China. According to Tran, there is a lot of debate about the source of state-sponsored cyber-attacks and corporate espionage at the minute.

Despite this fact, most people don’t pay much attention to where their electronics come from. Tran noted that while people take a lot of care to find out where their food comes from, they do not do the same with electronics. His final thought is something we all should consider: “People look for non-GMO, fair-trade-and-sourced food products. They should do the same thing with the tools they use for their Internet connections.”