Wireless networking first became available to the general public back in 1997.
Since then the speed, range, and ease of use have changed a lot. What hasn’t changed however is the positive impact it has on our computing lives. With the advent of IoT (Internet of Things) devices we use WiFi in even more situations, and for a much more diverse collection of reasons.
As with all things technological, the ease of use has a trade-off. Not only are we spending ever more time using our devices, leading to serious posture problems in both adults and kids, but the more we disconnect the less secure our data is.
Most people don’t have data they consider anyone would want to steal. “Why would I be a target?”. But that is not how wireless intrusion is driven. People who want into your network range from the neighbour who wants free Internet access, to someone anywhere in the world who wants to use your computer for BitCoin mining. Most of the people who want illegitimate access to your network have no idea of what you have available, and most of them don’t care. There is a lot more money to be made using your computer as a minion in their horde of other compromised devices, and at your cost.
If your network is hacked and the hacker does something illegal, are you responsible? For all my research the best answer I could come up with is: Probably not. (Of course this should not be considered as legal advice!).
There is a lot of technical information about how quickly an experienced hacker can hack a wireless network, from seconds to years. If you want to keep your wireless network as secure as possible there are two best practices that shouldn’t be ignored:
- Don’t use a really old WiFi router as they are easy to hack no matter what your password is.
- Never use simple passwords. A couple of words that can be found in a dictionary along with some numbers can be cracked in seconds.
While I do tend to harp on about the weaknesses in wireless networking technology (videos I enjoy on this and other nerdy subjects) I firmly believe that the pros outweigh the cons.
But only if you follow best practice.