The more we rely on digital infrastructure, the more cybersecurity has become a worry. These concerns are visible for all to see in the fact that almost 60% of businesses fear their network security isn’t satisfactory. The most surprising thing of all is the fact that the problem can be resolved by the simple addition of a WEP key.
If you have no wifi security for your business, you need to implement WEP encryption as soon as possible. Read more about how this simple change can secure your business network.
What Is a WEP Key?
Depending on your level of tech-savvy, you might have already heard of WEP and WPA keys. If you haven’t, WEP means Wired Equivalent Privacy and is one of the original security protocols for safeguarding networks.
As we alluded to, WEP isn’t the only security available for a network. For a while, it was the most used method, though. Since then, there have been numerous developments concerning network security.
You don’t need to use WEP in particular, but there’s no reason not to since it will be available on almost any router you might have in your business or home.
How Do WEP Keys Work?
If you’ve ever had to access a wifi network that you’ve never connected to, you might have already seen a WEP key in action. They are long sets of numbers and letters designed to deter potential intruders.
Unlike a WPA key, which we’ll cover shortly, a WEP key is randomly generated. The final result of that generation will depend on how complicated the encryption is. For an example of the differences, a 64-bit WEP key will produce a 10-digit key.
On the other hand, a 256-bit WEP key will produce a headache-inducing 58-digit key! Good luck remembering a password that long. This is one of WEP’s weakest points, as you’ll have to remember a complicated string of letters and numbers.
Why Is Network Security So Important?
If you conduct any business involving the digital handling of sensitive information, security should be your number one concern. Somebody doesn’t need access to your place of business to harvest crucial details.
Once they connect to your network, they’ll be able to keep an eye on all the traffic. Everything coming in and out of the router will be visible to them.
If the observer knows where to look, much of that traffic can have details you’d rather the intruder didn’t have.
That’s not to mention how much access they’ll have to your business’s private information if shared drives are on the network. The hacker could have full access to all of your business’s files, all thanks to the lack of wifi security.
The Potential Unseen Threats
Although the threat has lessened over the years, an unsecured network used to be a giant beacon for hackers. One example of this was the activity of wardriving. Somebody with enough knowledge could drive around, looking for networks with no password.
It’s terrifying that somebody who seems like an innocent passerby could be gaining unrestricted access to your business information. Unless you could get a visual of the hacker, you’d never even know who they were or what they were doing until it’s too late.
What about the WEP Alternatives?
The main alternative to using a WEP key is using a WPA key. There used to be a lot of debate around which security protocol was the more efficient, but now even WPA has diverged.
There are multiple versions of the WPA protocol, such as WPA-PSK. The fundamental difference between WEP and WPA is how incoming and outgoing packets are verified.
Many will argue that WPA has a more robust authentication method and is thus superior. This belief has grown with the arrival of WPA2. It’s so accepted as the gold standard that any modern product certified for wifi usage must support the protocol.
Do I Need WPA Instead?
The truth is that all the security protocols mentioned earlier are sufficient in most scenarios. There are a rare few situations where you must deter a particularly enthusiastic hacker, in which case WPA can have the edge on the other security methods.
Is Setting up a WEP Key Difficult?
Setting up a WEP key couldn’t be any easier! Almost all commercially sold routers will have the option available if you access their control panel page through a browser. If technology isn’t your forte, it can be a little trickier.
The router you can connect to will have an IP address. This is a home address for you to access the maintenance and settings pages. Discovering this address to access your router can be a little involved if you aren’t used to it and will require using a command-line interface, amongst other things.
Cybersecurity experts are online waiting to assist you, and you can get help quickly by contacting some. They’ll be able to get your wireless security up and running in the blink of an eye.
Keeping Your Business Safe and Secure
When we think about keeping our business safe from danger, network safety isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s hard to state how catastrophic it can be if your network has a breach. It can lead to the loss of sensitive information, resulting in financial or reputational ruin.
It’s a relief that it can all be resolved by something as easy as adding a WEP key to your network. If more straightforward solutions for your security and business interest you, keep reading the blog!