Protect A Wireless Network Against Intrusion

No amount of security features can withstand a determined and knowledgeable hacker. Fortunately, the chances of your home network becoming the target of a determined hacker are slim to none. Your knowledge of standard security options will be sufficient to prevent the vast majority of intrusions. Here are a few techniques to secure your wireless network against intrusion.

Protect Wireless Network Against Intrusion

WEP Encryption

WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. This is the oldest method of password verification. 64-bit encryption uses ten digit hexadecimal characters as password, and the 128-bit version requires 26 hexadecimal characters as password. Higher bit versions are also available at some vendors. None can withstand an intruder armed with easy-to-find cracking software, and other security options, including WPA, WPA2 and WPA3, will provide better access control.

WPA Encryption

Wireless Protected Access, or WPA, encryption takes the WEP standard two steps further. Most wireless networks now rely on it, and hackers have predictably devised tools to help crack it. WPA passwords can be from 8-63 ASCII encoded characters. WPA uses encryption to protect your data and the encryption keys used change with each packet of data making WPA more difficult to hack.

WPA2 Encryption

WPA2 appears to the user to function exactly the same as WPA. However, WPA2 avoids a problematic algorithm in WPA called the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol. WPA2 instead uses multiple algorithms to accomplish the same task as WPA, and this would make it obviously more secure than WEP and WPA.

WPA3 Encryption

WPA3 is the latest standard and is what you must use if you want the highest level of protection for your wireless network. It was released in 2018 and addresses many of the weaknesses found in WPA2. Like WPA2, WPA3 uses even more complicated algorithms to encrypt your network connection thereby, increasing the time and resources needed to hack a WPA3 connection.

Some may find WPA3 actually slows the network connection precisely because of the added security in multiple algorithms. It should be easy to test surfing and download speed using each option to determine whether a little gain in performance is worth sacrificing security for.

SSID Masking

SSID is the name of your wireless network. If you have a wireless modem, it is possible to see the SSID of all networks in the area. The idea of preventing a break-in by hiding the front door is an appealing one, and SSID masking is a hot topic in wireless security. Despite coming up repeatedly, it is not effective at all.

All router manufacturers now support SSID masking, but it makes little difference. Several freeware utilities are available to perform an action called network scanning. Some of the older versions of utilities, like inSSIDer 1.0 and Kismet, won't show the SSID, but they will provide other information, including the security protocol in use.

Hidden SSIDs can even work against you. They require more effort during setup, and you will experience connection problems. Also, mobile devices will have to ping to find the hidden network. They will continue pinging no matter where you go, and this lets anyone with a network scanner know you have a hidden network at home.


Every wireless device with a network adapter has a unique Media Access Control, or MAC, address. It is possible to spoof another device's MAC address, but this requires special software and dedication. Enabling a MAC filter will prevent any device from connecting that is not pre-configured into the system. This can be a pain for visitors trying to access the network, but it creates a more secure environment when used with WPA, WPA2 or WPA3.

Most home networks will be safe by simple virtue of anonymity. Hackers will use network scanners to locate WEP-encrypted networks due to the ease of cracking them, but other security features are generally too much trouble.Photo credit: jimsjunk

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Akhilesh Sharma maintains and writes Tweak And Trick. He is a technology enthusiast and a science student.
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