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How to prevent vulnerabilities in WiFi access points

MarthaAviles ‎03-07-2014 09:40 AM - edited ‎09-25-2015 08:28 AM

Last week, the Homeland Security News Wire posted an article regarding WiFi viruses and how researchers have shown, for the first time, that WiFi networks can be infected with a virus that can move through areas as efficiently as the common cold spreads. Their research team designed an attack that spread quickly between homes and businesses and was able to avoid detection.


hacked.jpgThis, however, isn’t really breaking news. Vulnerabilities in consumer WiFi access points have been recorded as early as 2000. In fact, WiFi has been consistently vulnerable to significant attacks since its very inception. WPS vulnerabilities are currently widespread. And with the commoditization of WiFi-enabled SOCs and consolidation of reference design elements (upon which consumer WiFi products are based) attackers are now able to focus less on platform variances when designing malicious payloads.

So, what can you do to ensure your WiFi isn’t hacked? Well, let’s start with the basic best practices—use a strong WiFi password and change it frequently; use WiFi via a recent model AP from a reputable manufacturer, make sure you purchase firmware that can be updated, and maintain these updates. To improve WiFi security, you should also:

  • Use only WPA2 or newer
  • Completely disable WPS (and audit if possible)
  • Disable SSID broadcast
  • Enable MAC filtering
  • Disable remote web administration from the wireless network
  • Create a strong administration password
  • Restrict DHCP to serve only known devices
  • Use static IPs if possible
  • Disable uPnP and any other unneeded services (reduce attack surface)
  • Restrict WiFi broadcast area to only your home by reducing RF TX output power
  • Disable WiFi functionality in bundled TV/Cable/Internet service provider devices

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