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The next time you look at your device’s available Wi-Fi connections when in public, take a look at what some of the local connection names are. Chances are that you’ll see some names that match a nearby organization or family. Others might still be using the default SSID, like Linksys/Netgear-something-or-other. Others might get a little more creative. The latter example may have the right idea; using an obscure wireless network name is much more secure than naming your connection after what it’s associated with.
That’s not to say that those who have named their home Wi-Fi networks things like “FBI Surveillance Van 3” or “Pretty Fly for a Wi-Fi” are in the right, but you get the idea. Instead of misleading people with your SSID, you want to think of your wireless network’s name as a shield against possible hacking attacks. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t broadcast it at all if you can help it, but this isn’t always an option–especially for organizations that offer Wi-Fi to the public as part of their consumer obligation.
One website in particular highlights the importance of naming your Wi-Fi network something inconspicuous. A service called WiGLE collects information from wireless networks and compiles it in an online database that’s searchable. WiGLE also offers software solutions that can map, query, and update these databases. Among the uses for WiGLE are: educating the public, research projects, site surveys, journalism, analyzing wireless usage, and finding usable networks while on the go.
Knowing that a tool like this exists, should make you stop and ask several questions. If your wireless network’s data is being collected, is it at risk? Is it something that you should be worried about? How do you remove your business’s wireless network from WiGLE? Well, WiGLE has posted answers to all of these questions:
“If your network is in WiGLE and you don’t like it, we’ll take it out immediately, but you should look into making your network harder to detect AND more secure; remember that you’re the one bombarding passers-by with your signal. We aren’t affiliated directly with any particular community or interest (other than our own), but we applaud the efforts of the people who wrote the stumbling software that feeds our project, the people looking to use wireless in innovative ways, and especially the community of people who just dig wireless network access and dig sharing it.”
To learn more, you can access the website here.
What are your thoughts on WiGLE? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to reach out to us for help securing your company’s wireless network.
Are you confident in the security of your wireless network? Don’t hesitate to call us at (703) 288-9767 if you feel it’s time to audit one of your most targetable entry-points.