Today’s Wi-Fi networks are now more secure than the typical wired network in the same building. While that may seem like a bold opening statement, today this is often the case.
It is true that WLANs got off to a chequered start 20 years ago, with attackers finding ways around the early security procedures and protocols in place. Consequently, though, the industry devoted a great deal of effort and innovation towards making WLANs much more secure – and they succeeded. There are, however, still challenges in securing any network.
As we know, wireless “leaks out” to the surrounding environment, which means passers-by can see and attempt to connect to any network they choose. As a response, we need to put steps in place to mitigate this threat. For wired networks, physical barriers with locks on the doors and containment physically within the building are the traditional wired networking means of defense. However, if a person with malicious intent is able to gain physical access, perhaps through social engineering, or tail-gating, a device can be connected and access gained which, then, is an opportunity for an attack to commence.
So how have WLANs been addressing security concerns?