Types of Wireless Network Attacks: Insertion

Computer technology has rapidly evolved over the past decade or so. Much of this can be attributed to the internet as many computers now have a need to be networked together to establish an online connection. As the technology continues to move from wired to wireless, the wireless LAN (local area network) has become one of the most popular networking environments.

By far, a wireless LAN offers some of the best computing convenience available. According to a report by Cahners In-Stat Group, the wireless LAN industry expanded by more than 200% from 2000 to 2003 with revenue going from $1.2 million to $4 million. The market continues to flourish today profiting well over $100 million per year Despite widespread popularity, this recent explosion has several observers concerned about the rising numbers in snooping and cracking exploits on wireless networks.

Wireless security has become just as prevalent as the technology itself. This issue has been openly publicized in the media with much press on how easy it is to gain unauthorized access to a wireless network. It seems as if this attention has fallen on deaf ears as these networks are still incredibly vulnerable.

The standards in wireless technology continue to evolve, introducing more ways to better secure a network. Unfortunately, too many home computer users and businesses still aren't making good use of them, leading to an unsettling number of victimized wireless networks. Armed with simple tools, a mildly curious snooper or experienced hacker can jump right in their car and drive around in search of wireless access points, an activity that has become a pastime for some. If they are able to successfully latch onto a signal, your network is wide open to an array of attacks.

One of the most commonly employed wireless exploits is the insertion attack. This practice involves bypassing security mechanisms and inserting unauthorized devices on a wireless network. The device used is usually a laptop or PDA in which the intruder tries to connect it to the base station. Although a base station should be configured to require a username and password to allow access, many times they are not. A more experienced intruder can even physically insert a base station on a targeted network to remotely enable access. Base stations and other wireless devices have become rather affordable and available, giving unscrupulous characters the ammo need to carry out network attacks.

Protecting Your Network

Without implementing sound wireless security, it is a great chance that insertion attacks and other exploits will eventually compromise your wireless network. While the attackers are persistent, there are a few ways to protect yourself.

Use strong encryption - Most wireless access points come with built-in encryption features. When it comes to dependability, WPA is the preferred choice over WEP. Make sure that encryption is enabled to prevent intruders from decoding your sensitive information.

Change default administrative passwords - Always change the password of your router before connecting to the internet. These passwords are vulnerable and can typically be figured out in seconds.

Disable remote management - Never leave on the remote management function unless absolutely necessary. If it remains enabled, anyone can get in through your route and take complete control.

Disable SSID broadcast - SSID is a useful but dangerous technology that allows anyone to connect to your network. If security is an issue, you have no need for this feature so it should be disabled as soon as possible.

MAC address filtering - It's also a good idea to configure MAC address authentication so that only your clients and devices can access the network. While this mechanism is not perfect, it is an additional layer of protection.

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With the advent of wireless Internet, more and more computer users are entering the world of cyber space.

Yet, while these users are well aware of the importance of the protection of their computer when hooked up to regular internet providers, they are often oblivious to the fact that the same cyber dangers, and in fact even more, exist in the world of WiFi.

What you may not know is that same Internet connection that makes it possible to check your email from the comfort of your bed also makes it easier for hackers to access your personal information.

It is for this reason, the sharing of the wireless Internet connection, that protecting your computer when wireless is even more important than ever before.