The use of wireless technology is spreading widely due to its efficiency and low installation costs. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer (IEEE) 802.11 standard and Bluetooth are the two largely used wireless network expertise. These network technologies link the devices by use of radio frequency signals.
WLAN, which stands for wireless local area network works similarly to the old style networks. The first wireless network in the world was established by Norman Abramson who connected seven computers in four islands to a computer that was in one island by the use of low-priced ham-like radios. The widely used WLAN is Wi-Fi, which stands for wireless fidelity. It uses the 802.11 standard specifications and is the fastest in communication and networking. The wireless LAN is simple to use, flexible, easy and cheap to install. Use of WLAN has made communication and networking easier in very many aspects adding to technology making the world a global community. WLAN is associated with many security risks where illegal wireless networks come into play. They pose a threat to the information that is being communicated. For instance, when unauthorized users work with access points that are not permissible into your system they expose your network to other regions (Cort, 2005).
Virtual Private Network, VPN, has been used to secure wireless networks. The wireless connections are routed over a virtual private network that passes outside the central trading network. All wireless connections are considered untrustworthy and for them to access the trading system they have to have a strong password and be digitally certified. Anywhere, Fidelity is a trading service that has been put up by Fidelity Investments as a way of preventing wireless insecurity. This service gives their clients an opportunity to conduct their daily transactions using wireless phones, two way pagers and PDAs (McCollum, 2002). A flaw associated with the use of VPN is that the client has to boot up and acquire Internet protocol. This way a hacker can get access into the system through an authorized user. Other than the trading networks, they protect the telecommunications path by encrypting the data sent over the phone to a wireless carrier, the data is decrypted and then re-encrypted and sent to through the carrier’s network to the client (Cieslak, 2006).
The WAP SSID, Wireless Access Point Service Set Identifier, is the distinctive name with 32 characters that is enclosed to the header of the packets when a WLAN is sent. When a mobile device attempts to connect to the access point the SSID acts as a password. Each WLAN has a specific SSID that is unique to it. To protect the wireless networks one can change the administrator password by using a password of reasonable length, 10-15 characters and has a combination of letters in uppercase and lowercase, special characters and numbers. In addition to this, one can turn off their SSID broadcasting, closed mode, this will make your network appear unavailable to the public (Fonseca, & Krill, 2000).
WAP encryption can be turned on to prevent network insecurities. The WAP encryption that is currently used combines WEP, Wired Equivalent Privacy, and WPA2, Wi-Fi Protected Access 2. WEP offers the weakest security while WPA2 is the most secure. This selection protects the network by giving encrypted communication between the access point and the client computer. The WEP keys, which are eight or sixteen characters, use a public algorithm to encrypt data. This is not secure since it can easily be hacked. To enhance security the WPA2 has been incorporated. WPA2 confirms that the keys have not been tampered with by integrating data encryption with integrity checking and user authentication (Cieslak, 2006).
MAC (Media Access Control) address filtering can be applied to secure networks that use Wi-Fi. This address comes with the network card and is exceptional to that card. The address is filtered by restricting access to approved devices. This security measure works effectively with small networks since it can be easier to manage small networks (Cort, 2005). Wireless networks cannot be fully secure so it is advisable for one to integrate several measures to ensure that the hackers have a harder time accessing the networks.