As technology has advanced, so has our demand for the availability of the most recent convenience. The transitional need from cell service, internet access, to Wi-Fi access, has been rapid and those needs are not contained to just our homes. In London there was a project called Warbike that set out to locate wireless networks, and found 107,000. Of that fantastic number 27% of them had poor or no security. Unsecured Wi-Fi puts your network at risk, and that is why it is number 3 on the list of Sophos deadly IT sins.
With recent attacks on major groups, and the numerous amounts of announcements released by companies stating that they have been compromised, you would think that companies wouldn’t be leaving their front doors wide open. However according to Sophos Global Head of Security Research James Lyne, “…in many cases this boiler plate language is an attempt to pass the blame but it certainly sounds better than 'we got hacked, we had a file called passwords.txt. Oops'. Undoubtedly sophisticated attacks do occur. Indeed, I’ve seen some quite incredibly innovative exploits and techniques employed by cyber criminals over the years. That said, these constitute a tiny fraction of the overall attacks we see in SophosLabs and more often than not it is incredibly basic techniques that allow the criminals to achieve their goals.”
Wi-Fi attacks would be classed under a basic technique, as they have one of two variations, Passive and Active Attacks. Passive attacks are very subtle as they are nearly impossible to detect, methods like Eavesdropping that will let someone snoop data, and steal email content. The more aggressive Active Attack gives a hacker direct access to your network, and can perform tasks like redirecting users or authenticate to servers.
The great news is that regardless of these techniques they can be thwarted with very simple tactics like the following:
- Use business grade Wi-Fi access points
- Enforce standard network security polices
- Scan all network traffic
- Block access for insecure mobile devices
- Provide connection profiles for your users
- Keep guest networks separate
- Keep it simple
To sum up this deadly sin, keep the front door locked, and avoid becoming a headline by following the few tips listed in this article. Sophos has an arsenal of tools ready to help your company thwart attacks like these. Learn more about this deadly IT sin and how VLCM and Sophos can help.