A recent high-profile attack was started as a result of a homeowner’s Wi-Fi network not being...

A recent high-profile attack was started as a result of a homeowner’s Wi-Fi network not being secured. This has prompted the local neighborhood association to take steps to inform its residents about the dangers of unprotected wireless networks and how to secure them. They would like me to use easy technology so that the older residents would understand. I need at least eight examples that lists the dangers of an unprotected Wi-Fi network and what are the steps to be taken to protect it.

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Answer #1

Dear student,

I assume from the above paragraph in the question that you are interested to know the dangers caused due to an unprotected wireless network both to the host as well as to the users of this network.

Wi-Fi or Wireless Fiddling is the use of any wireless networks to connect to the internet or intranet. Now, when one provides wi-fi to others(hosts) or when a person uses the hotspot created by a host, both of them share crucial data of their devices over airwaves and this data is obviously vulnerable to attack.

Dangers to host:

Let us suppose you have a wi-fi router for connecting all your personal devices to the internet at home. But you have not secured it. These are the dangers that you may face:

1. Bandwidth theft: People around your house or neighbors who are in the range of your router can use the wi-fi without hindrance and thus decrease your network connection speed. This is an inconvenience and less of a threat.

2. Data theft: Cybercriminals can get your device configuration and personal data that your device stores like login credentials.

3. IP tracking: Criminal activity can be committed using your wifi and the trace will lead the authorities to your doorstep and not to the thief.

4. Malware: A person can upload a virus or malware on the network that damages all other devices.

5. A hacker can gain wireless access to your device and lock it to demand a ransom.

6. Your browsing history can be analyzed.

7. You can be logged out of your own wifi and the password can be changed.

Now, how to be safe? Here are a few steps:

1. Always password protect your hotspots.

2. Set a device limit to only your devices.

3. Always check log in data to your wifi.

4. Share passwords only with trustworthy people.

5. Keep changing the password frequently.

6. Use a secure password and not names, dob, etc.

Dangers to a user:

The second scenario can be that you are using an unsecured public wifi.

The dangers are:

1. The user id and passwords of your devices can be hacked.

2. Your data can be stolen.

3. It can give wireless access to a wrongdoer.

4. The network may re-direct you to malicious websites.

6. Your browsing history can be checked.

7. Malware can be uploaded to your device.

8. Banking credentials can be stolen.

The remedies are:

1. Refrain from using free wi-fi everywhere.

2. If you do end up using one, do not log in to any accounts unless absolutely necessary.

3. Do not do banking transactions on public wi-fi.

4. Keep your account passwords for various sites different to ensure  that if one gets compromised the others are safe.

5. Turn off auto-connect on devices to free wi-fi. Select it manually.

6. Always keep your security patch and anti-virus software up to date.

I hope the above answer solves your doubts.

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