When you turn on your device’s Wi-Fi capabilities, do you ever take the time to look at some of the names of your neighbors’ connections? You’ll see some rather boring names as well; some might just use the name of their organization or the family’s name, or even just the default SSID used by the router. The fact of the matter is that a wireless network name that’s easy to gloss over is a best practice for network security.
The users who go out of their way to name their Wi-Fi networks something nonsensical have the right idea–making your SSID something that’s easy to miss is a great way to protect your network against possible infiltrators. Think about it this way; if a robber was trying to break into your home and he knew the address, it would make it much easier for him to do so. On the other hand, if he doesn’t know your address and only knows that it’s on a specific street, he’ll have to do some guesswork, which could make all the difference in preventing a robbery in the first place.
If there’s one website that showcases just how important an inconspicuous Wi-Fi network name is, it’s WiGLE. This service collected information from the countless wireless networks and places it in an online database that users can search through. WiGLE also offers the ability to map, query, and update the available databases. The information collected by WiGLE can be used for a myriad of purposes, such as research projects, journalism, site surveys, educating the public, analyzing wireless usage, and locating networks that you can connect to while you’re traveling.
Now that you know this tool exists, have you asked the important questions yet? If your information is being collected, is it at risk of being stolen and used against you? Should you be worried about someone being able to find your network through an online application? If you don’t want it to be available to the public, how can you remove your information from WiGLE? The service has answered all of these questions in its own FAQs section:
“If your network is in WiGLE and you don’t like it, we’ll take it out immediately, but you should look into making your network harder to detect AND more secure; remember that you’re the one bombarding passers-by with your signal. We aren’t affiliated directly with any particular community or interest (other than our own), but we applaud the efforts of the people who wrote the stumbling software that feeds our project, the people looking to use wireless in innovative ways, and especially the community of people who just dig wireless network access and dig sharing it.”
What do you think about WiGLE? If it has you concerned, perhaps it’s time to take a look at your organization’s network connections and see what can be done to reinforce them.