If a user is not able directly to log into your network, he may use a wireless
“packet sniffer” to try and eavesdrop on the network traffic. In that
way, even if the hacker is unable to authenticate himself onto your network,
he can still steal sensitive corporate data by monitoring your traffic
for usable information. In addition to viewing private data files, the
hacker is potentially able to “sniff” usernames, passwords, and other
private information to gain access onto your network.
Wireless routers support medium and strong levels of encryption that
scramble the data and make it unusable to anyone trying to eavesdrop
on the network traffic. Only the users at either end of the “authorized”
connection can view and use the data.
Unfortunately, most users don’t turn on encryption in their wireless
devices to protect themselves against eavesdropping! Most wireless
routers have an internal Web site that allows for the very simple and
easy configuration of data privacy. Wired equivalent privacy (WEP) is a
security protocol for wireless local area networks (WLANs) designated
by the 802.11b standard. WEP offers a level of security similar to that of
a wired LAN.
Wired LANs offer greater security than WLANs because LANs offer
the protection of being physically located in a building, whereas a wireless
network inside a building cannot necessarily be protected from
unauthorized access when no encryption is used. WLANs do not have
the same physical confinements and are more vulnerable to hackers.
WEP provides security by encrypting data over radio waves so that it is
protected as it is transmitted from one end point to another. WEP, used
on both data link and physical layers, does not provide point-to-point
Most wireless routers offer 64- and 128-bit encryption with a userspecified
encryption key that scrambles your data according to your
input. This key is needed at points to decode the data into a usable form.
Most users, however, keep this option disabled and therefore are vulnerable
to anyone intercepting network traffic or even roaming onto the
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