How secure is your WiFi?

Do you have a shared password to the WiFi network? When was it last changed? Hasn’t anyone left the company since?

At first WiFi networks were unsecured. However, radio waves penetrate through walls, so eavesdropping is very simple even from a distance – encryption was required. The first method was Wired Equivalent Privacy or WEP. WEP was weak from the first day on, but yet the breaking of WEP caught the industry pants down. A new method was needed fast – WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access was created, also known as TKIP. WPA was improved upon and today WPA2 is the preferred choice. WPA2 is fast and presently a trusted method for securing WiFi traffic.

There are two flavors of WPA2: Personal and Enterprise. In Personal there is one, shared password for the whole network. Anyone who knows the password can join the network and listen on the traffic. WPA2 Personal is good for personal and home use, why not for a small office as well. In business use people come and go, though, and the password should be changed every time anyone leaves the company. Nobody should have access to the company network after leaving or being laid off. Still, WPA2 Personal is the most common way of securing WiFi networks.

WPA2¬†Enterprise requires that every user has a username and a password. This is the case in Windows Active Directory (AD). You can install Network Policy Server role (NPS) to a Windows Server to provide RADIUS service to the access points (AP). The APs will verify each user’s name and password with the RADIUS server (e.g. NPS) before allowing the user to access the network. By removing or disabling a user account in the AD you can deny access to the WiFi network as well. There is no need for additional equipment or software. In practice all APs support WPA2 Enterprise and the NPS role can be installed on AD Domain Controllers (DC).

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