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WiFi Security with NetSpot

Wireless network security is a top priority for anyone building or restructuring such network. NetSpot provides you with all necessary tools to decrease WiFi security risks to the lowest possible minimum.
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What is WiFi network security?

WiFi network security, or sometimes wireless network security, deals with the prevention of unauthorized access to data transmitted across WiFi networks and other wireless network security risks.

As such, it’s a subset of computer network security, which also deals with wired networks that connect computers, servers, and other devices together using physical cables.

What is WiFi network security

WiFi security has never been more important than it is today because the networks it aims to protect play a critical role in virtually all aspects of our lives. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to communicate with our loved ones, collaborate with work colleagues, browse the web, stream music and movies, and so on.

Thanks to wireless security, we can do these and many other activities without our personal data falling into the wrong hands and being used for all kinds of malicious purposes — at least if the right wireless security network standard is used to encrypt transmitted data.

How does wireless security work?

The foundation of wireless security are the following security protocols, which are used to encrypt wireless traffic to provide data confidentiality:

Wireless security protocol
  • Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP): WEP is the original wireless security protocol. It was in use from the late 90s until 2004, when it was declared and declared unsafe, although some manufacturers of WiFi equipment continued to use it for several more years.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA): WEP was superseded by Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) in 2003. WPA introduced the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) security protocol to prevent many known attacks.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2): The original WPA security protocol was a stop-gap solution intended to strengthen WiFi security without breaking compatibility with existing equipment. In 2004, it was replaced by WPA2, and this standard is still widely used to this day even though multiple vulnerabilities have been discovered since its introduction.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3): The latest wireless security protocol is called WPA3. It was announced in 2018, and all newly certified WiFi devices are required to support it since 2020. This protocol implements 192-bit and stronger WiFi encryption, and it also uses Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) instead of the pre-shared key (PSK) exchange.

For the best wireless security, you should always use the newest type of network security protocol supported by your WiFi device. The good news is that most new routers default to WPA3, so you don’t need to manually choose between multiple available wireless network security types.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to check if you’re really using the newest protocol available, and we explain how to do so later in this article.

Check your encryption with NetSpot

Powerful advanced tool for multiple Wi-Fi networks Surveys, Analysis and Troubleshooting.

The general security issues for wireless networks

The possible problems are:

  1. Confidentiality: the data you send through the network should be encrypted really well in order not to be intercepted and read by an unintended person. The proper way to decrypt the data is a key and a proper authentication process.
  2. Integrity: Wireless networks are more exposed to attacks aiming at data integrity.
  3. Availability: Radio jamming can easily restrict the availability of a network. Another type of attack, called battery exhaustion attack, is where unauthorized parties continuously send messages or some data to connected devices to exhaust their batteries.
  4. Eavesdropping and Authentication: As wireless networks are broadcast, there are a lot of access points that are prone to be used for accessing the network. Prevention of eavesdropping is important.
  5. Bluesnarfing or bluejacking: These attacks are performed through Bluetooth in order to steal or tamper the data.
  6. Wardrivers: They perform security attacks with wireless devices like laptops by trying to connect to an unprotected network with the intention of recording private data of other users on this network.

However it is not as difficult as it may sound to make your wireless network secure. Securing your network will prevent others from stealing your bandwidth and will stop hackers from taking control over your machines via your own WiFi network.

Wireless Security: what to start with

Firstly conduct a site survey with NetSpot WiFi Site Survey tool. It will immediately help you detect and eliminate rogue APs — the ones that were deployed without permission.

Site survey also helps expose unauthorized workstations. Organize an inventory of laptops and PDAs with wireless adapters, with user, MAC address and operating system information. This data is used for WLAN access controls. In case WLAN adapters are misplaced or stolen an up-to-date list is crucial.

You may discover close-by APs and stations not belonging to your network. A good thing to do is survey public areas neighboring with your facility, including all levels. The MAC addresses should be recorded, along with network name (SSID) and channel. Use this data to avoid the cross-interference and scratch the possibility of false-positive intrusion alerts.

It is recommended to get APs with high-grade antennas with strong yet tight signal. Their narrow focus will provide better security for the signal and less leaking outside where a wardriver can intercept it.

How to secure your wireless network

A few simple steps have to be taken to secure your WiFi network:

Step 1

Use the newest security protocol

To secure your wireless network, you need to use the newest security protocol supported by your router. Ideally, that protocol should be WPA3 because that’s the only protocol without severe vulnerabilities.


Here are just some examples of how WPA3 delivers better security:

  • The WPA3 protocol introduces the new key exchange process, protecting you from dictionary attacks that are so popular with WPA2.
  • Another weakness of WPA2 — the use of a four-way handshake between clients and access points — is eliminated in WPA3 with its secure and reliable Simultaneous Authentication of Equals handshake.
  • Even if your password gets compromised while using WPA3, your data should remain safe thanks to the protocol's forward secrecy.
  • Public WPA3 connections are automatically encrypted thanks to the "Opportunistic Wireless Encryption" standard.

If your router doesn’t support the WPA3 security protocol, then you should consider getting a new one because older protocols contain severe vulnerabilities that could put your personal information at risk.

To check if you’re currently using WPA3, you can download NetSpot, a free wireless analyzer.

NetSpot — Inspector mode

With the help of its Inspector mode, you can instantly see the security settings of all available WiFi networks, including your own.

Step 2

Use a strong, unique password

While the WPA3 security protocol does minimize the risk posed by weak passwords, you should still use a strong, unique password to secure your WiFi network and router.

Ideally, your password should meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 12 characters long.
  • Use uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Not be a word that can be found in a dictionary.

If you have trouble remembering random nonsensical passwords, then you can use a long passphrase instead. Again, it should be at least 12 characters long, consisting of four or more randomly selected words.

Check your encryption with NetSpot

Powerful advanced tool for multiple Wi-Fi networks Surveys, Analysis and Troubleshooting.
Step 3

Keep your router up to date

As unfortunate as it is, critical router vulnerabilities are discovered on a regular basis. Reputable router manufacturers regularly release updates to address them, but not all users install them — at least not in a timely manner.

Keep Your Router Updated

Unpatched routers represent a huge security issue because they are exposed to the internet and are routinely targeted by hackers. That’s why you should always patch your router as soon as you can, even if it means losing your internet connection for a few minutes.

Step 4

Limit the range of your network

When it comes to wireless networks, most users want to achieve the widest signal coverage possible. In some cases, that’s really the correct approach, but not always.

If you live next to a busy public venue or school, it’s better to limit the range of your network so that it covers only the area you occupy. Why? Because that’s the easiest way to prevent hackers and curious strangers from trying to obtain access to it.

More advanced routers let you limit your network range by changing transmission power in settings, but you can also influence it by changing the placement of your router. We recommend you use NetSpot’s Survey mode to create a visual map of your WiFi coverage.

NetSpot’s Survey mode

The map will make it easy to see exactly how far your signal can reach and where it is the strongest.

Step 5

Don’t forget about physical security

Physical security is often overlooked, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Unless your router is located someplace where strangers can’t easily go and protected by a strong admin password, an opportunistic attacker could replace it with their own router, connect their laptop to it and change its settings, or even infect it with malware.

What are network security devices?

The steps described in this article are enough to ensure a basic level of wireless security, but there’s a lot more that you can do to keep your data safe. For example, you can use network security devices to monitor network activity, detect threats, and stop attacks dead in their tracks.

Such device are commonly used by businesses, but there’s also a market for home network security devices, including the following ones:

  • Firewalls: Available in hardware and software forms, firewalls separate internal networks from the public internet, allowing only legitimate traffic to arrive and leave.
  • Intrusion detection systems (IDS): The purpose of intrusion detection systems is to monitor all traffic going through a network. When such systems detect a sign of intrusion, they issue an alert to give the network administrator time to react.
  • Web filters: The web is a vast and sometimes dangerous place, and web filters are designed to make it safer by restricting access to malicious websites and sometimes also inappropriate content.
  • VPN gateways: This network security device can create an encrypted virtual private network (hence the name) for traffic to securely go through across a public network.
  • Web Application Firewalls (WAF): You can think of a WAF as a special firewall whose purpose is to filter, monitor, and block HTTP traffic to and from a web service.

Keeping Your Wireless Network Safe

In order to keep your Wireless LAN safe and secure you'll need to define and apply the right security measures to protect the access points from wardrivers. There are high-quality network security tools available that can discover WLAN, test the penetration and assess vulnerability.

You can use NetSpot for site survey and then periodically run it to ensure there are no rogue APs and unauthorized connections in your network.

Check your Encryption using NetSpot

Powerful advanced tool for multiple Wi-Fi networks Surveys, Analysis and Troubleshooting.


What are the general security issues for wireless networks?

The WiFi security issues you may run into include:

  1. Lack of confidentiality. In order to avoid leaks, the data sent through a wireless network should always be encrypted.
  2. Integrity. Attackers aim at data integrity the most.
  3. Network availability. It can be easily compromised when attacks like radio jamming or battery exhaustion are performed.
  4. Eavesdropping and authentication are a big problem when networks are broadcast.
  5. Bluesnarfing or bluejacking are the attacks that are performed through Bluetooth to steal or tamper with the data.
  6. Wardrivers perform security attacks with the help of wireless devices like laptops. They connect to an unprotected network and try to steal private data of other users on the same network.

Wireless Security: what to start with?

NetSpot WiFi Site Survey tool is a good way to start with your WiFi security. This app helps you find and eliminate rogue APs that you didn't authorize to be deployed. NetSpot site survey will help you detect unauthorized workstations as well.

An up-to-date inventory of laptops and PDAs with wireless adapters, with user, MAC address and operating system information is a must for proper WLAN access controls.

It is also efficient to survey public areas neighboring with your network. You can use the collected data to avoid the cross-interference and eliminate the possibility of false-positive intrusion alerts.

What do you need to do to secure your wireless network?

Secure your wireless network with unique passwords and proper network encryption. Protecting assets and properly organizing network topology is important. Make sure your wireless signal range extends where needed and try using VPN for more advanced features for your network.

How to keep a wireless network safe?

To keep your WiFi network safe you'll need certain security measures in place. There are high-quality network security tools that can discover WLAN, test the penetration and assess vulnerability. Try running a WiFi site survey with NetSpot and make it a habit of doing so regularly to ensure no rogue APs are present and there are no unauthorized connections to your network.

What are the types of wireless security?

The main types of wireless security protocols are:

  • Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2)
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3)

Is a router a network security device?

Modern routers are amazingly powerful and capable devices whose performance rivals those of older personal computers. Thanks to their power, they can act as network security devices by providing firewall, VPN, and other functionally.

What is network wireless security?

Network wireless security is the collection of activities whose common purpose is to strengthen the security of wireless networks to protect them from hacking, snooping, unauthorized use, and other threats.

Why is wireless network security important?

Wireless network security has become very important because of our growing reliance on the internet and wireless networks in particular. Unless properly secured, the same networks we use to stay connected can attract dangerous cybercriminals and malware.

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