Do You Believe This Myth?
There’s a common myth many people believe about WiFi. That myth is that WiFi is a separate network from that of hardwired devices. There’s a common misunderstanding that a phone using WiFi can’t access a hardwired computer or printer. While there are some environments where this may be the case, the majority of the time this is NOT true for most homes and small businesses. The fact is WiFi is just an extension of the same network that hardwired devices are on. Devices on WiFi can see and interact with hardwired devices and vise versa.
You will see how important this is to security when I tell you about my experience over the weekend. We were visiting family in another town, and in two different locations I was able to access the local WiFi of these small organizations because it was open and not secured. Being curious, I scanned to see what devices were on the network, and attempted to gain access to the router. In both cases I was able to use default login credentials and accessed the router. If I had nefarious reasons to gain access, I could have done any number of things to the network. I could have changed the default password thereby locking anyone else out of the router. Then I could have changed any number of other settings that could have wreaked havoc to others on the network or simply locked them out. I had no such intentions and brought this to the attention of my local hosts. In both cases these were older routers with default login credentials. Despite the fact most newer routers come with preset random WiFi passwords they seldom have random passwords for the router login. However, some of the newer cable modem/router combinations I have encountered use a serial number or a code printed on the router itself to access the router. This would have stopped me from gaining access as I didn’t have physical access to the router in either case. The other thing that would have stopped me would have been to lock down the WiFi itself and not allow me on in the first place. For more on WiFi security
Most newer routers provide for guest access, and this can be left open or encrypted with a simple password. I always suggest some kind of password. Otherwise anyone can connect and use your connection for anything. A guest area allows for access to the internet but not to the router settings or any other devices on your network. This is the best way, other than a separate router, to provide guest access. Guests should never be allowed on your private network. The WiFi password should be at least 8 characters and complex, as it is the only thing keeping people out of your network. See my post about passwords
If you have a small business in the Johnson County, Kansas area and would like assistance checking your network for problems please contact me @ 913 – 893 – 1123