Wireless Convenience & Risk

Wireless Convenience & Risk 

Though wireless communication has enabled easier connection and sharing across networks from almost any location, there are many risks that one has to protect themselves against when using wireless communication. Your “internet traffic is easily intercepted…such as passwords or credit card information” or your wireless connection can be “hijacked…to conduct abusive or illegal activities” (Bailey, 2015). Ways to safeguard against such risks are to set up passwords to protect your router, privatize, or encrypt your wireless connection (Bailey, 2015). It is important to enact these safeguards to protect your computers from hackers and hacking techniques such as “war driving.”

I had never heard of the term before, but after doing some research, I discovered that war driving is “the act of cruising for unsecured networks.” Literally, there are hackers who will “drive around searching for unsecured wireless connections using a wireless laptop and a gps system” with the intention of getting onto your network to steal PPI for potentially harmful use (Siciliano, 2014).

With techniques like war driving and flying happening, I don’t think I’d be comfortable using a wireless “hot spot” Wireless “hot spots” are “wireless access points providing network and/or Internet access to mobile devices like your laptop or smart phone, typically in public locations” (Pinola, 2017). So when you take your laptop to work at Starbucks or at the airport before your flight lives, you are most likely using a hot spot. There could be hackers waiting in any of these hot spot locations to steal information from unsuspecting users. 

Ways to protect yourself when using a public network is to “connect to websites via HTTPS, which encrypts anything you send or receive from the website”, subscribe to a VPN service which also encrypts all of your information or utilize two-factor authentication, which mandates a password and ever-changing code to log in to certain websites (Harper, 2016).

I think you are more at risk when using your cell phone than a laptop on a wireless connection simply because many people don’t think to secure their smartphone the same way they secure their laptop. When purchasing a laptop, often security software, such as McAfee or Norton is mentioned at the checkout. However, when purchasing a smartphone, you often do not think to install protection software.  Smartphones “may be more easily breached than personal computers since many consumers do not secure their smartphones or tablets with antivirus software or take simple precautions such as enabling password protection” (2013). 

(2013, June 5). Mobile Devices and Cybercrime: Is Your Phone the Weakest Link? Retrieved from: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/

article/mobile-devices-and-cybercrime-is-your-phone-the-weakest-link/

Bailey, Matthew. (2015, August 18). Business on the Move: Risks and Dangers of Wireless Networks and “Hotspots.” Retrieved from:

http://www.europeanfinancialreview.com/?p=4775

Harper, Elizabeth. (2016, October 19). How to Protect Your Privacy on Public WiFi  Networks. Retrieved from: https://www.techlicious.com/tip/

how-to-protect-your-privacy-on-public-wifi-networks/

Pinola, Melanie. (2017, March 1). What Is a Wi-Fi Hotspot? Retrieved from: https://www.lifewire.com/wi-fi-hotspot-definition-2377357

Siciliano, Robert. (2014, July 5). What is Wardriving?. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-siciliano/what-is-

wardriving_b_5559721.html

100 words for this 

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part 2 100 words 

What risks and safeguards are associated with wireless communication? 

Risks associated with wireless communication would be leaving your personal data essentially open to a potential hack if proper security, and safeguard measures are not in place. For instance, free wireless networks, in most cases, have no obligation to protect your data, and personal information (Gray, 2016). Be precautions before blindly connecting to a wireless network. Ensure that the network is intended to exist, and that it is not a fake network set up by a hacker to try and obtain, and hack your data, or device. It is also equally important to secure your home wireless network as well. Sometimes a password simply is not enough. A determined online criminal might exploit your network to launch malicious attacks, or to obtain sensitive information about you (Cucu, 2016). There are a couple things you can do to help safeguard, and secure your home wireless network. Some of these steps include changing the name of your Wi-Fi network, activate encryption, double up on firewalls, turn off guest networks, use a virtual private network (VPN), turn off your network when you are going to be away for extended periods of time, be sure your router software stays up to date, and simply make sure your password is different than the password that came with the router (Cucu, 2016; Griffith, 2016).

What is “war driving” or “war flying”?  

War driving, and war flying are similar in the sense that they are both related to searching for Wi-Fi networks that are not secure, and that hackers can potentially exploit for malicious intent, or to access the Wi-Fi owners personal information, and sensitive data (Helm, 2016; Rouse, 2005; Timko, 2012). War driving more specifically relates to the act of driving around cities, or neighborhoods to see what accessible, or hackable Wi-Fi networks are around.  War flying would be more related to the same act of searching for Wi-Fi networks, but by means of the air. For instance, on a plane, or with a drone. 

Are you comfortable (or would you use) a wireless “hot spot” to do computer work?  

It would depend on if the “hot spot” is a secured network or not. If it does not have a password, and allows free access I would more than likely try to find another way to connect to the internet. For personal use, I use my personal cell phone as a hotspot, but I do not connect to it using Wi-Fi. I connect to my phones network using a USB-C to lightning adapter, and turn off my computers Wi-Fi when I am not at home. On my phone I ensure that the network password is enabled when the hotspot feature is engaged. This obviously would not be seen as wireless connection because I am connecting to my hotspot using a wire, but it does enable a more secure connection from my phone to my computer. If I do not have my USB-C adapter wire with me, and I have to connect to my personal hot spot though Wi-Fi I ensure the password is enabled, and that I am notified when more than one connection is made to my device. From this discussion topic I have learned that there are other security measures I can take, but I feel as though for me personally, I will stick to using my USB-C connection. 

What safeguards might you use in accessing an unprotected (public) wireless communications?  

Some safeguards you can use when using an unprotected public wireless network would be to only visit encrypted websites (HTTPS), and never stay logged into personal accounts. Also make sure the sharing function is turned off, enable a firewall, or use a VPN (Gordon, 2014).

Are you more at risk using a wireless connection via laptop or a connection via a smart phone?

The risk factors involved in wireless connections really boil down to what safeguards are being utilized, rather than what device you are using to connect. To clarify, according to an article I read titled Mobile Devices and Cybercrime: Is Your Phone the Weakest Link (2013), a mobile device user might actually be more susceptible to cyber attack than a laptop user due to the fact that the mobile user simply does not have a password in place, or antivirus software installed. According to the same article mentioned above, in a Harris Interactive Survey, less than half of wireless device owners use a password or PIN on their phones, much less than computer users (2013). So, in essence, a laptop connection may actually be more secure depending what type of safeguards you are utilizing on your handheld device. 

Sources: 

Cucu, Paul (November 2016) 10 Steps to Maximize your Home Wireless Network Security Retrieved from:https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/home-wireless-network-security/

Gordon, Whitson (November 2014) How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks Retrieved from:https://lifehacker.com/5576927/how-to-stay-safe-on-public-wi-fi-networks

Gray, Joe (Sept 2016) Security Issues of WiFi – How it Works Retrieved from: https://www.alienvault.com/blogs/security-essentials/security-issues-of-wifi-how-it-works

Griffith, Eric (October, 2016) 12 Ways to Secure Your Wi-Fi Network Retrieved from:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409751,00.asp

Helme, Scott (October, 2016) Wifi Wardriving++ Retrieved from: https://scotthelme.co.uk/wifi-wardriving/

Mobile Devices and Cybercime: Is Your Phone the Weakest Link? (June, 2013) Retrieved from:http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/mobile-devices-and-cybercrime-is-your-phone-the-weakest-link/

Rouse, Margaret (September 2005) War Driving (Access Point Mapping) Retrieved from:http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/definition/war-driving

Timko, Michael (March, 2012) WarFlying: UAVs and Wi-FI Hacking Retrieved from:https://cmu95752.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/warflying-uavs-and-wi-fi-hacking/

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