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The Wi-Fi lowdown

24th August 2017

We have a movie star to thank for Wi-Fi.
Hedy Lamarr, star of stage and screen in Hollywood’s Golden Age, along with composer George Antheil, came up with a radio technology at the beginning of WWII that hopped frequencies and used spread spectrum techniques to help Allied powers avoid being the target of jamming from their enemies. From their war effort, we now enjoy wireless internet almost everywhere we go, including buses, coffee shops, and workplaces.
In layperson’s terms, Wi-Fi devices use radio waves to create a network. A wireless transmitter acts like a radio station, broadcasting to a device with Wi-Fi capability. When the two receive each other’s signals, a connection is established.
Public Wi-Fi means that a device sends out waves to all devices in range, so any device can connect to it. However, as with most things internet-based, public Wi-Fi comes with a security risk. Hackers can ‘eavesdrop’ on information sent and received over Wi-Fi. When you’re working somewhere like a coffee shop, this can be a danger to your business.
How can you prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands? Be smart about your IT and network security. First, try not to do business on an unsecured Wi-Fi network. If your email isn’t automatically protected by HTTPS rather than HTTP, ask yourself if it’s worth the risk sending a message that means a hacker might be able to grab your password, log into your account, and pretend to be you.
If you allow your employees to bring in their own devices to work, make sure you have a wireless work policy that everyone understands. That means making sure your Wi-Fi security is tough to crack, so you use a WPA rather than a WEP, making sure your firewall is up to task, and making your Wi-Fi policies clear.
Antivirus must be used by workers, but make sure it’s one that your IT team approve of. Ensure everyone knows what could happen if a hacker got hold of your data to increase the chances of co-workers and colleagues sticking to the secure data policy.
Crucially, workers have to be engaged and know what the rules of your Wi-Fi policy are for it to have any effect. Try training in person rather than sending ‘urgent update’ emails that could well end up unread and in the recycle bin for the average worker with a lot on their plate. Your data is worth securing, so make an effort to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Contact us to find out more about our IT security solutions.