Wi-Fi is a system of wirelessly connecting devices that use radio waves, allowing for connection between devices without the expense of cumbersome cables or without needing them to be facing each other
However, it doesn’t stand for wireless fidelity.
Wi-Fi is simply a trademarked phrase that means IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)802.11x .The IEEE 802.11x was introduced by the IEEE in June 1997 used for wireless Ethernet networks.IEEE 802.11x is the initial release of 1–2 Mbps and repeats in the 2.4 GHz band .
Originally known as Alto Alpha network Ethernet is a widely used LAN (local area network) protocol created at Xerox PARC in 1973 by Robert Metcalfe and others.Ethernet is a fast and reliable network selection that is still widely used today.
The easiest way to understand WiFi is to consider an average home or business .The main requirement for WiFi is that there’s a device that can transmit the wireless signals like a router ,phone or a computer .In a typical home router transmits an internet connection coming from outside the network like an ISP and delivers that service to nearby that can reach the wireless signal .
We can easily notice free wi-fi connections available in hotels, railway stations etc.But are they really safe?In other words what are the threats that WiFi brings with itself?In a research paper in Britain it was pointed out that a no. Of operating systems and devices including Android, Apple etc . Showed vulnerability to be affected by hackers It said that attackers might be able to inject ransomware or other malware into websites by gaining access to WiFi. The incident happened when security protocol used to protect the vast majority of WiFi connection was broken, exposing wireless internet traffic to malicious eavesdroppers.
Such threats as-
- Malware and Ransomware- when connecting to a home or work network some form of anti malware control is likely to have been installed but those protections are often lacking on public WiFi hotspots. Without the protection of AV software database can be silently downloaded .
- Packet sniffers — Using this a hacker can identify, intercept and control web traffic of unsecured WiFi network.
- Evil Times Rogue WiFi hotspots — this is a fake WiFi that masquerades as the legitimate access point .Any info disclosed while connected to that hotspot can be intercepted by hackers .
Above are a few of the ways hackers use to encrypt the message sent over WiFi transmission.
When threats are real few measures taken to protect the WiFi and message from the hands of hackers are –
- WEP – Wired equivalent privacy which is a scheme to secure WiFi. WEP was intended to provide comparable confidentiality to a traditional wires network.
- WPA- WiFi protected access , an informed security standard for wireless network is the first generation of advanced wireless security. Providing enterprise and consumer WiFi users with a high level of assurance that only authorized users can access their wireless networks.
- Reducing the wireless signal and using Anti WiFi blocking paints can also help to safeguard the network system .
Hindu College, University of Delhi
Intern at Cyber Peace Foundation