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How to Use Wi-Fi Securely

Using wireless internet access can be convenient – but it does expose your computers, and the information on them, to others. It is easy for an outsider to access your computer and its files, and even hijack your accounts.

Wi-Fi at Work

If you are using wireless systems in your business, you should make sure they are secure and kept private:

  • Don’t broadcast the name of your private network (Service Set Identifier - SSID) to others. Read more about SSID here.
  • You should encrypt your Wi-Fi by enabling WPA2*-Personal Security, or if your business has several users, WPA2-Enterprise Security. Learn more about WPA2 here.
    * Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2
  • A complex password should be used to connect to the Wi-Fi (check out our tips for creating a strong password).
  • Some recommend that you switch off the Wi-Fi when you are not using it.

Offering Wi-Fi to Customers

As a business, however, you may want to offer your customers free Wi-Fi, for example if you are running a café or accommodation.

If you are offering this service, then you should make sure that guest users cannot access your private network. Guests should access a network which is segregated from your private network via a separate SSID.

Staff using Wi-Fi at Home

If your staff are using Wi-Fi at home they will have a wireless router which provides wireless access to the Internet. It's important that their Wi-Fi is secure. You should include something about this in your security policy - check out our article on Why Businesses Should Have a Cyber Security Policy.

Their home Wi-Fi should have the following should set up:

  • A strong password is used to connect to the Wi-Fi network.
  • The Wi-Fi is switched off when it's not in use.
  • The router is not broadcasting the name of the private network (Service Set Identifier – SSID) to others.
  • The Wi-Fi is encrypted with WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2) - a type of security protocol.

Using Wi-Fi in Public Places

Be aware that if you or your staff use Wi-Fi networks in public places such as cafes, libraries, hotels and airport lounges, then these networks are not secure. It's easy for other people using the same Wi-Fi to see what you/ your staff are doing online.

So, when using Wi-Fi in a public place, it's important staff understand that using email or websites that require a password can put your organisation at risk. You should consider installing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) as this enables information sent from your laptop or smartphone to be encrypted.

For more information check out Comparitech's Guide to using public Wi-Fi safely and securely.

Education

Don't forget to educate your staff so they are clear on what is expected. Acceptable behaviour should be outlined in your Cyber Security Policy, as well as consequences for not following the Wi-Fi recommendations.

 

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