The security in Wi-Fi networks is an issue that concerns both novices and professionals, and both types of users have something in common: They know that a Wi-Fi network must be secure. And for this we hide the identity of our network through the tools provided by the router and use passwords, in addition to many other measures that often have more reassuring value than a true security value.
However, despite all the measures we can take, we may not be as safe as we think. Outside there are many unscrupulous people who want to take our WiFi signal, either to be able to connect to the Internet for free or to access our system and from there to our devices, in order to find out something with which they can harm us.
If you want to be prepared to face any security threat in our WiFi network , do not read this post, where you will find a lot of information to be able to navigate and carry out our daily activities with total security that no one is spying on us.
Is it easy to hack a WiFi connection?
As one of the first measures that we have to take, it is necessary that we really learn which of the security measures that we can implement are effective or not, that is, if they really serve when stopping the attack of a trained hacker.
That is why from this point on, we will show you the most common and widespread security measures in WiFi networks among users, and we will comment which of them are really useful to avoid or reject a hacker attack and which ones are simply for users. without much knowledge.
a) Hiding the network SSID
Security through the obfuscation procedure has long been bypassed, to such an extent that anyone with a minimum level of knowledge and the right tools can have access to our hidden network.
The only users who will truly be harmed in the case of applying this method are the legitimate users of this network, that is, all those who use it for their daily tasks, who will not be able to see us when they try to connect with their computers.
But for the hacker it is not a problem, with his tools he has already been able to identify our network and is getting to work to access it. All you need is the password, which is why we must put special emphasis on creating a good password.
b) WEP passwords
Passwords of the WEP type (Wired Equivalent Privacy), better known for its translation into Spanish “Wired Equivalent Privacy ” is a fairly old way of providing security to a wireless network.
Unfortunately, although they are easy to configure, the fact is that they are extremely easy to decrypt, it is only enough to use specialized software to “sniff” the network traffic around the device. You can even find routers on the market that will automatically crack any wireless network protected with WEP passwords for retransmission and reuse.
In this case, the best advice that can be given is never to use passwords of this type, since we could be in serious risk. Instead we should always use passwords of the WPA2-PSK type, which provide much greater security. If our devices do not have WPA capability, it is best to get rid of them and modernize with routers that do support the WPA standard.
c) WPA passwords
If we think that being protected by a long, complicated password and WPA2-PSK security is the safest thing in the world, we are one step away from being completely wrong. While WPA2 type passwords are strong and very secure, our security can still be compromised.
Few know that most modern routers include a technology called WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), a methodology developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance to simplify and facilitate the creation and configuration of secure WPA2 networks in the home or office environment. small office.
This allows the user to press a button on the router or enter an 8-digit password to seamlessly connect devices such as Wi-Fi printers or others to the wireless network . In the case of the password, this can generally be seen printed on the packaging, the manuals or on the router itself. What is achieved with this method is to avoid the use of long passwords for that connection.
Unfortunately, this is the point that hackers have selected to develop their attacks, as a significant vulnerability has been found. Although various methods have been put into practice to counteract this failure, such as a sixty second pause every 3 failed attempts, thus taking the attacker 7 years to break the security of our network.
But the truth is that cybercriminals have found other methods that would allow the hacker to enter our wireless network in just a few hours, taking advantage of the fact that not all manufacturers have implemented such solutions.
Returning to the topic of WPS technology, which was the cause of this problem in the first place, in some Wi-Fi routers it is still a prerequisite for authentication, and it is enabled by default.
So what we can do to avoid inconveniences is to completely deactivate the WPS option, making sure that another internal WPS PIN is not automatically established that causes us some kind of security problem.
Another thing that we can also do is deactivate Wi-Fi and use a wired connection instead, which although it is somewhat extreme, can give us the protection we are looking for. Obviously, it is not always possible to carry out this procedure, but at least we will cut the time available to a possible attacker to try to access our network.
Procedures for the most expert
The following procedures are not recommended for users who do not have enough experience in this type of activity. In the event that we are not sure of being able to carry out the operation successfully, it is best to turn to a computer technician, who will solve the problem, obviously in exchange for a small monetary reward.
Router firmware update
The update of the firmware of the router is a practice that can give us more good result to put a stone on the wall of security. To find out if our device has an update for its firmware, check the manufacturer’s website.
Installation of other firmwares
Another alternative we have available is to replace the router’s firmware with tools such as Tomato and DD-WRT , which can improve the capacity and security of any Broadcom chip-based router.
As we have seen through reading this article, pretending that a Wi-Fi connection is completely secure is a utopia, since there are too many elements at stake that conspire to make a network quite easy to attack. The best thing is obviously not to use Wi-Fi, but this is not very wise or technical advice, since technology aims to loosen us from the cables that originally made computing what it is today.
One last piece of advice that we must take into account is simply to be careful with some aspects such as where we connect and from where we access our data and accounts, and of course not to spread our too private information through the network.
The dangers of hacking a WiFi network
It seems that not only those who are the victim of the theft of their Wi-Fi connection can be damaged, but also those who steal it. Computer security experts say that currently stealing bandwidth in an Internet connection via Wi-Fi is an activity that can be compromising for both the thief and the robbed.
Currently many common users and without much computer knowledge make the mistake of wanting to obtain certain advantages when accessing an Internet connection via Wi-Fi without paying for it, but it is very important to know exactly who owns the network to which that user agrees, since a free Internet connection could become a trap placed there to steal their own data and credentials, with which they could have access to a wide range of private information that could be used against them.
In other words, these types of connections may be open with the purpose of facilitating the work of cybercriminals, since once the unsuspecting and audacious user accesses said network, they could immediately be the subject of a deep analysis by hackers. , which will be able to spy on your communications, email passwords, chat, and most importantly of all, could have access to all bank information such as credit card numbers and PIN numbers.
In addition, it should be noted that it can also infect your PC with some type of spyware, with which they could remotely know your movements even when the user has left the network.
Obviously the main recommendation is not to sneak into any network, and for those users who have a legitimate connection the advice is to use Wi-Fi routers with WPA and WPA2 encryption systems, good passwords, subnetting and use MAC filtering.
How do I know if my WiFi is being hacked?
As Internet users know, the first line of defense for our Wi-Fi network is encryption, which scrambles the data transmitted between the computer and the wireless router. This method is the most used to prevent other users or hackers from using our network for free or for illegal purposes.
However, for many well-trained hackers, encryption is a simple step to skip over, especially if they have the time and resources to do so, and once they have entered our system, they are free to navigate it wherever they wish.
In these cases, if we are sure that there is some type of suspicious movement in our WiFi network , it is to try to know exactly which devices have entered it, with which we can establish if our security has been violated.
In order to know if someone has entered our WiFi network without permission, we have the services of Wireless Network Watcher, it is a small free utility that is capable of scanning our wireless network and showing us a detailed list of all the computers and devices that are connected to it, which will allow us to easily and quickly find any other equipment that is currently connected to the network.
This spectacular software returns us very useful results, since for each device or computer connected to our network, the application will show us the IP address, MAC address, the company that manufactured the network card and, optionally, the name of the equipment.
We can export all this flow of information to different formats such as HTML, XML, CSV and TXT in order to be able to study them in greater detail .
Best of all, in addition to being free, Wireless Network Watcher requires no installation . To start using it, all we have to do is download it to our computer, extract the executable file from the zip file, and click on it to run it.
Of course, the utility can only scan the wireless network to which we are connected and other wireless networks cannot be scanned.
It should be noted that Wireless Network Watcher is compatible with Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003/2008, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 10.
If you wish, you can download the application from its official site by clicking on this link.
How to protect my WiFi from hacks?
As we can see, the security of a WiFi network is not an issue to be taken lightly, since the price we must pay for being trusting or underestimating this issue can be too high.
But if we take a series of precautions regarding the configuration of our Wi-Fi network , we can prevent other people from taking advantage of the lack of system security and using our Internet connection. But first we must detect these intruders.
To do this, from this point on, we are going to know everything we must do to protect our WiFi network from hackers and cybercriminals. Likewise, we will also introduce you to a series of tools that can help me improve the performance and operability of the network.
Although there is really nothing more comfortable than having a Wi-Fi network in our home, and in this way being able to connect all our devices and computers to the Internet without the need for wiring, the truth is that one of the most frequent failures In this type of distribution system the connection is usually security.
It is important to note that one of the most significant peculiarities of Wi-Fi networks is that they are generally vulnerable to possible intrusions from external and unauthorized users .
If when creating a Wi-Fi network system in our home or office we have forgotten to activate encryption to prevent intruders, it is likely that those who reach the connection begin to use part of our band without authorization to access the Internet . In some cases, even if the connection has encryption, it may happen that another external user hangs on our connection for various reasons.
Given the possibility that someone is stealing our WiFi connection, we must be vigilant to prevent this from happening, or to eliminate said intruder, since the only ones harmed in this matter will be us, because the greater the number of users using our network, the slower our normal browsing will be.
How to detect intruders on our Wi-Fi network
As we already mentioned, Wi-Fi networks tend to be more vulnerable than conventional networks , so when installing a network of this type it is necessary to take certain precautions.
However, it may happen that even so, an intruder hangs on our Internet connection, causing a loss in the performance of the connection . For this reason, it is extremely important to know how to recognize the most frequent symptoms that may occur when an intruder appears on our network.
One of the most frequent symptoms resides in the perception of a noticeable change in connection speed, which may become evident during a download that we are making from the Internet, or simply while browsing. The first thing we must do to detect intruders is to carefully observe the behavior of our Wi-Fi router , in order to detect abnormal activities.
To do this, it is advisable to turn off all the devices and computers that we have at home, or just disconnect them from the network. Once we have disconnected all the equipment, we must observe the lights of the different indicators of the router .
If we see that even with the devices not working there is a series of rapid and continuous flashes, then we are faced with the presence of an intruder in our network, since this shows that there is a remote device that is connected and making a transmission information flow.
Tools to detect intruders in Wi-Fi networks
In addition to Wireless Network Watcher, an app to detect intruders in the WiFi network mentioned earlier in this post, one of the most recommended elements to detect intruders in our home Wi-Fi network is to use an Internet connection speed meter , which will allow us to discover whether or not there is a true loss of bandwidth.
As we all know, the presence of an unauthorized user on our network will inevitably affect the download speed that we can achieve with our Internet connection.
Likewise, we can find the case of discovering our blocked IP on download sites, such as the popular Mega, because perhaps the intruder is currently downloading material, taking advantage of our connection and our IP address.
To detect this type of inconvenience, there is a wide variety of IT tools, such as BASpeed , undoubtedly one of the best in this regard, which allow us to know exactly the download speed and thus confirm the intrusion if it is is producing.
You can download BASpeed by clicking on this link.
There are also tools that are dedicated purely and exclusively to hunting intruders in WiFi networks, such as AirSnare . This application works by listening to the traffic that is transmitted through the network adapter, and it obtains all the MAC addresses connected to our local network.
With this the intruders are quickly detected . You can download AirSnare by clicking on this link .
With a series of special tools, it is possible to easily detect the presence of intruders in our home Wi-Fi network, which must be eliminated to avoid problems with our broadband connection.
In this sense, a tool that provides very good results in this regard is Zamzon Wireless Network Tool , which has the particularity of being really simple and at the same time very effective.
Basically, Zamzon has the same function as the aforementioned AirSnare, but it does not have all the options that said program includes, that is, tasks such as sending messages or registering events have not been included, which is definitely not the primary objective for which we install the program.
However, it should be noted that AirSnare is much more complete than Zamzon, since it also includes a series of really useful functionalities, such as the emission of sound alerts every time it discovers an unknown IP address connecting to the network.
We can also detect the presence of unauthorized users to our network through the control panel of our router.
Once we have confirmed the presence of unauthorized users in our private Wi-Fi network, we must then consider the need to increase its security system.
Techniques to prevent intruders on the Wi-Fi network
Have we detected an intruder on our Wi-Fi network? Not to despair, as we can implement a series of security measures to prevent you from re-entering. We have already seen that there are various ways to protect our wireless Internet connection, many of which are useless measures, given that there is also available a group of tools developed to generate vulnerability in Wi-Fi networks.
However, there are also a series of methods that offer good results in this regard, and that are usually recommended for those who have detected the entry of intruders to their private Wi-Fi network, or to prevent this from happening.
Here are the security measures that work and allow us to protect our Internet connection:
a) Changing the router password
As soon as we have detected that an unauthorized user is taking advantage of our wireless connection, the first thing we must do is change the router password . In this way, if, for example, the intruder tries to download material through a P2P application using our connection, he will not be able to do so, since he will not know the password that the router will request to carry out this task.
b) WPA / WPA2 encryption
In principle, it should be noted that WPA encryption technology, which is fully compatible with 802.11g or higher adapters, is stronger and more secure than WEP encryption . In this sense, the most robust is usually WPA2-AES, which has a wide variety of router models today.
c) Anti-WiFi paint
Although it is not yet available worldwide, the truth is that in some countries the new anti-WiFi paint, manufactured by the Pilkington company, has already been tested, which so far has provided very good results.
Useless security measures in Wi-Fi networks
To protect our home Wi-Fi network from the intrusion of possible unauthorized users, there are a series of measures that we can implement, although it is important to know which ones offer good results and which are useless.
Once we have verified that there is an intruder in our Wi-Fi network, it will be necessary for us to start using a series of methods that will prevent this from continuing to happen, and even that more and more unauthorized users take advantage of our connection.
Although there are various security techniques to avoid being harmed, the truth is that many of them do not provide the expected result, so our Wi-Fi network will continue to be vulnerable.
Here are some details about the security methods that are useless when it comes to protecting access to the wireless network:
a) Turn off the router
When detecting the presence of an intruder, many users resort to the simplest measure, turning off the router. Although it is true that through a router that is turned off it is impossible for intruders to filter into our network, it is also true that we cannot use it either, and when you turn it on again the intruders will access the connection without problems.
b) WEP encryption
This is a measure that has become obsolete, since most users are familiar with applications such as Aircrack, which consists of a tool that allows you to find the WEP keys quickly.
c) MAC filtering
In the same way that happens with the previous case, there are special applications, such as the case of MacMakeUpro, whose function is to change the address of the device in seconds, and which in many cases causes the owner of the network to be left out of it.
d) Hiding the SSID
This is the method of hiding the name of the wireless network, which is useless, since in any case those looking for a free Internet connection via Wi-Fi will still detect us.