wireless-securityTry to wrap your brain around these numbers: In a mere six years, an estimated 24 billion devices will connect to the Internet. (Yes, that’s “billion” – with a “b.”) And half of those devices will be mobile.

Those figures from the GSM Association (GSMA) are so astronomically high, they can indeed be difficult to fathom. But considering the current explosion in wireless networks and Wi-Fi-enabled technology, the GSMA’s estimates are entirely believable.

Heck, until recently, a single pharming attack that could hijack more than 300,000 Wi-Fi routers seemed far-fetched. But hackers proved it is doable. (Remember this GFI blog post?) As a result, it is crucial that businesses be proactive in their approach to wireless management and security.

In that spirit, here are five tips from for enhancing security on your wireless network:

1. Add some complexity to your credentials.

Make sure you change the default login and password on your wireless network. Cracking the code to a network with default credentials is easy for many cybercriminals. Would you believe attackers don’t need to know the make or model of a router? They just need Internet connectivity to be in business.

2. Treat your wireless network like an exclusive club.

You can grant network access to select devices – those whose media access control (MAC) addresses are recognized and authorized. A rogue device cannot gain entry on the network unless its unique 12-character MAC code, which represents the network adapter, is approved by the IT administrator.

3. Operate in anonymity

There’s no rule that says you must broadcast your wireless network’s name, also known as the service set identifier (SSID). The SSID is what mobile users see when searching for networks. Disabling transmission of the SSID, for folks old enough to remember, is akin to keeping your home telephone number out of the phone book.

4. Flip the wireless security switch.

It may sound silly, but make sure your wireless network security is turned on. The recommended level of security is 802.1X authentication, which is stronger than common consumer-grade approaches.

5. Avoid the “all-for-one” mentality.

The mantra is excellent for team sports. But in wireless security, using the same username and password for the websites you visit can backfire if those credentials are cracked in a hack. Do yourself a favor and mix it up.

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