India

Wi-Fi networks under scrutiny

Investigations in the recent bomb blasts in major cities have brought security of Wi-fi networks in the focus. While the attempts are being done to make the network in the city, it could not be implemented because decision makers in this regard are not in Pune. 

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has asked the government to ask Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to educate their consumers about the security measures. The case in Pune is totally different where wi-fi access is provided without any charge or password. Pune Municipal Corporation is providing Wireless Fidelity service in co-operation with Microsense company. Ignorance on the part of ISPs and consumers are putting these systems at risk. 

Anupam Saraph, chief information officer of Pune Municipal Corporation said, « Open wi-fi access is being provided in other cities like Delhi, Bengalore also. We had proposed to the Microsense that a mechanism involving Citizen Facilation Kiosks should be set up. Any wi-fi user must get a user name and password from these kiosks to access the network. But the decision makers of the company are in Chennai and only engineers are in Pune. Therefore that proposal did not came into reality. In fact, we are trying to make Pune most secure city. » 

A delay in forming business model by the company has also delayed the commercial operation of wi-fi network. This network was supposed to cease to be free long ago. But the ISP company failed to form a business model to run it. 

Deepak Shikarpur, Chairman IT Subcommmittee, Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture said, « This has become a big issue in the wake of terrorists and criminals hacking into innocent peoples wi-fi access. There are issues with routers and firewalls that has to be understood before using wi-fi system. » 

He said, « If you use a Wireless Router to access internet at your home or office, the wireless signals of the Router work till 60-70 ft without walls or restriction and any person within this range can connect to the wireless Router and use your internet connection. » 

Both Shikarpur and Saraph welcomed TRAI’s move to ask ISPs about educating their customers about security. 

For Secure Connection 

  • Password protect all computers from which we access the internet. Use services of ISP or Router Installer to ensure that Free to access Wi-fi is disabled. 
  • Install anti-virus software and keep it updated 
  • Also install personal firewall software. 
  • Disable file sharing (peer-to-peer) as some applications may open file sharing without your consent and/or knowledge. 

Some Tips for Security 

  • Wireless Products such as Access Points have a default password set by the factory. Hackers may know these defaults and may try to use them to access your wireless device and change your network settings. To thwart any unauthorized changes, change your Router password. 
  • Enable Wireless MAC Filtering: Restrict the number of physical devices who can access the Wireless Router. To do so follow the following steps. 
  • Do not Broadcast your SSID: Hide your SSID (your network name) from unauthorized users. 
  • Enable Encryption/Password Protect your Wi-Fi Network : 
  • Encryption protects data transmitted over a wireless network. Wi-Fi Protected Access. 
 

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