Wi-Fi’s Threat to Enterprises

Earlier, obtaining a wireless network connection was quite expensive and the set up was also difficult. As years passed, the various advancements in technology brought down the costs associated with obtaining and setting up a Wi-Fi connection and also improved the features of the same, giving rise to a network connection that is now affordable and easily manageable. As a matter of fact, the presence of Wi-Fi networks has grown largely, making it totally unavoidable these days. People love using wireless networks mainly because of the following basic reasons:

  • Mobility: The first main reason for people to prefer Wi-Fi connections is mobility. By using such a connection, a user can drag their computer or laptop typically anywhere within the range of the network, without having to remain in the same place throughout using the internet.
  • Expandability: When you add a PC to a wired network, you will be able to notice that it requires quite a lot of wiring, and you will also have to make sure that there are sufficient network ports. But with a wireless network connection, you can add a computer with just some mouse clicks.

Security Challenge

Though wireless networks are advantageous, especially for those users who keep traveling frequently, it also carries with it various security challenges, which mainly affect business organizations as every business employs remote workers who, when moving from country to country, have no other choice but to use a Wi-Fi network connection. The following sections of this article will mainly focus on the security challenge faced by enterprises by adopting Wi-Fi networks, and solutions for the same.

IT departments of organizations all around the world have started to use Wi-Fi networks, and this has increased the vulnerability of being attacked by casual intruders and malicious hackers. Companies that integrate wireless network connections are found to reap benefits, including reduced overhead of IT infrastructure because of the usage of lesser cables, reduced rates of failure pertinent to wired networks, and faster deployment. However, the downside of such connections is that data that are transferred and accessed through Wi-Fi networks leads to intruders and other cybercriminals accessing the same network easily and laying their hands on important business data, if proper practices and tools are not in place to protect the network.

There are organizations that try to follow the “no Wi-Fi” policy thinking that it will make their company immune to the threats of Wi-Fi, since several IT personnel assume that they will be safe of such threats without a Wi-Fi infrastructure. But the fact is that, even when organizations implement such a policy, Wi-Fi will still enter their company by way of rogue access points or through the usage of embedded mobile devices by their employees or clients. Also, the benefits pertinent to the productivity gains of the organization that comes from using Wi-Fi networks will make it extremely difficult for the IT personnel to give up using the network for security concerns. Hence, IT personnel of many organizations are starting to look for ways and tools to deploy secure Wi-Fi, and also to scan and avert Wi-Fi threats before anything goes wrong.

Categories of Wi-Fi Threats

Before we look at the solution to avert Wi-Fi related threats, let us first see the different categories of threats that an organizations is prone to face.

  • Rogue access points: Rogue access point is considered to be the most dangerous and also the most common type of Wi-Fi threat around. This is basically a low cost access point that might be brought inside the company by an employee or any other staff who is looking for a Wi-Fi connection. The default settings of these access points do not have any security features enabled, which is why they will be easy to be penetrated by any individual who is present within the range, when the employee connects to the corporate network.
  • Ad hoc connections: There is a possibility for wireless clients to establish ad hoc or peer-to-peer connections, which can be easily exploited by hackers who can then attack the network in different ways in order to delve into and exploit the vulnerabilities of the organization.
  • Access points’ mis-configuration: If the organization has a wireless LAN, then chances are that it faces threat from its own equipment. A mis-configured access point can lead the organization to potential threats, especially if the security settings are disabled or the access point gets reset to default network settings.
  • Rogue clients: Those clients who are unauthorized to access the wireless network of an enterprise are referred to as rogue clients. This usually occurs due to the mis-configuration of an authorized access point when its encryption is disabled, or by way of an access point that has a compromised authentication or encryption.

In addition to these threats associated with in-house Wi-Fi networks of organizations, an organization is prone to lose its business data even in circumstances where its employees access the corporate network from a public Wi-Fi hotspot. As every internet user would be aware, public Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecured network connections that make it easy for even a non-techie hacker to easily monitor, track down, and steal the identity, details, files and other information about other users using the same network. When an organization’s employee uses such networks to access their corporate server or transfer files, they are most likely to put their company under risk. Fortunately, there is a tool that can help both individual internet users as well as business organizations from falling as prey to such online threats.

Protection from Wi-Fi Threats

One of the best available tools to protect an organization’s Wi-Fi network as well as stay secure when using public Wi-Fi hotspots is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN has been into existence for several years now, and many individuals and business organizations are using the service for their online security. A VPN connection encrypts the browsing session of an individual, enabling the circumvention of several internet-related issues. Once a user logs on to his or her VPN account, all of their browsing activities will be encrypted, preventing hackers or other cybercriminals using the same network from trying to monitor the activities of the user. In case of a business organization, a VPN connection will completely encrypt the company’s network connection, thus averting all the threats discussed above.

Many small and medium sized businesses have already deployed VPN connection in their office network. However, for those organizations that are not ready to use the service yet, they can make sure that their employees install personal VPN client on their devices, such as personal computer, laptop, tablet, and also on their mobile phone. This will enable them to perform any business transaction, transfer files, and access the corporate server, etc. from any network connection, without having to worry about being monitored or snooped.

Top VPNs for Wi-Fi Safety

In order to stay safe when using a wireless network connection, users can sign up for the services offered by one of the following leading VPN service providers:


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