Securing your Wireless with WPA2

If you are running a wireless network you need to be running WPA2 encryption.

No exceptions.

To impress upon you the importance of using WPA2 let’s use a physical security analogy; WEP is as secure as a screen door while WPA2 is a solid steel door with a deadbolt. In short, use WPA2 or don’t run wireless.

ComputerWorld has a good introductory article about how to implement WPA2 on your wireless network. The article has great links to WPA2 compatible hardware and even provides example screenshots.

If your current hardware does not support WPA2 then replace it. The cost of the hardware is insignifcant when compared to the cost of a hacked network due to insecurity. In a small office or home environment I personally recommend using a Linksys Access Point or Linksys Wireless Router (WRT54G). As far as wireless cards I lean towards Cisco, Orinoco, and Linksys cards, although most any manufacturer’s cards that have been produced in the past year should support WPA2.

Another consideration when using WPA2-PSK (Pre-Shared Key), is that you need to use a complex Pre-Shared Key that is not easily cracked by a dictionary attack. In other words, don’t use “real” words and make use of capital letters, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. The longer the better.

A stronger method of implementing WPA2 is using the “enterprise” method of authenticating wireless clients to a RADIUS server. I’m currently working on a comprehensive post concerning WPA2 RADIUS wireless network implementation that will detail the steps and technology required to implement this level of security. So watch this space for more information.

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