Is Wi-Fi Secure?

The internet has gone from an entertaining novelty to an essential part of life over the last few decades.

When the internet was first conceived, back in the late 1960s, academics in the US were trying to create an interconnected computer network that drew on research conducted in the 1920s about how information could be shared.

Input from computer scientists the world over resulted in a working network, named the World Wide Web which allowed computers on a network to access information in a shared space. Further innovations, including the development of fibre optic cables and wave division multiplexing, led to the rapid expansion of internet capabilities.

From email and instant messaging to voice over internet protocol and video chatting, the internet has become increasingly important in all kinds of capacities. The way we do almost everything, from watching television to communicating with friends and family, has been changed by the internet.

The proliferation of mobile phones and other devices, alongside the development of wifi technology, allowed internet use on the go. Whole sections of society now rely on the use of wifi technology to complete a variety of tasks, from ordering in restaurants to buying train tickets.

The importance of online security

From international finance to household grocery shopping, the way we use the internet requires robust security systems to ensure that data is appropriately protected. Wifi technology means that we are able to transmit data over wireless networks, using radio frequencies that are translated into data that can be accessed by nearby devices.

Wireless routers are connected to the internet by cables, and they can broadcast a signal to all the devices in their networks, such as televisions, phones, computers, and tablets. The fact that this data is transmitted wirelessly does make it vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data harvesting, but there are plenty of ways to secure a wireless network.

Businesses are massively invested in securing their networks against anything that could cause a data breach or loss, including:

  • A targeted cyber attack
  • Keystroke recording
  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Password guessing
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

Any organisation could be a target for a cyberattack, so it’s important for any company to invest in their security systems to reduce the likelihood of falling prey to hackers.

How do businesses protect themselves?

Having robust policies on the management, storage, and access arrangements for data can reduce the risk of errors and oversights and increase security significantly. These range from strict rules for staff about securing hardware, phones and printed documentation, to high-tech solutions to collect and process card payments and customer details securely.

Internal processes to prevent data loss can include things such as regularly updating all software, installing and maintaining security software and firewalls including anti-virus software, spyware scanners, and spam filters. Most businesses have staff policies on using a company’s network and managing electronic devices including protocols for connecting to public networks and using portable hard drives and USB sticks to avoid picking up malware and spyware.

Storing personal and sensitive data is also a key concern for businesses, and most use strong encryption systems. Many use a cloud VPN to provide a secure private network that is accessible to users all over the world, allowing them to use shared resources and access a secure business environment no matter where they are.

Other security measures to protect businesses and their clients

Many also opt for measures such as automatic wifi security that can protect users from threats that are inherent when logging on to public wifi in cafes, hotels, and airports. This is ideal for any remote workers that have access to sensitive information, whether that’s client payment data or high-level reports detailing company expansion plans.

There is an entire industry dedicated to assessing data security, identifying potential risks and preventing issues from arising. They can offer advice on a range of solutions, from payment processing software to ensuring compliance with ISO standards and other industry- or region-specific codes and legislation.

Businesses that operate in different countries can use cloud services for data storage, so long as they have appropriate security measures in place. Customers and clients want to be sure that their data is safe and both individuals and businesses are more likely to deal with an organisation that can demonstrate that it takes online safety and data protection seriously.

Different industries have different security requirements and need software that can offer a range of solutions. From healthcare providers and government contractors to multinational retailers and social media sites, the solutions required for different businesses will vary hugely.

Using multi-factor authentication, monitoring the use of computer equipment and conducting regular backups of all data can all help businesses to keep their networks and data safe and secure. Nevertheless, businesses often take out cyber security insurance to cover the costs of any breach of their systems that causes network downtime plus the cost of contacting customers in the event of a data leak.

The insurance doesn’t just pay for the costs of any equipment that needs to be replaced, software that needs to be upgraded, and databases that may need repairing and reviewing. Such policies are usually tied in with advice and support from experts in preventing attacks as well as support with reputation management and any regulatory involvement in the aftermath of any breach.

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