We now live in a digitally connected global society. The Internet has become one of the best inventions in the modern world, and it is almost impossible to imagine life without the Internet. Wi-Fi ensures a convenient way to connect to the Internet and access information. But how many of us know how secure a Wi-Fi connection is? Is your information and location as anonymous as you think?
Problems caused by an insecure Wi-Fi connection
To access the Internet, users need to register with the ISPs and obtain a Wi-Fi router as part of the contract. The router provided has a unique identification of the hardware, and hackers can easily access this information. The hardware ID number contains all the customer’s information-their postal addresses, registered plans, etc. There are many tools available on the Internet that make it easier for people to find IP addresses. If one of your neighbors has such a connection, it may also jeopardize your privacy.
How to deal with this problem
Even if you do not know about your neighbor’s Wi-Fi security, here are some tips on how you can check your connection and security.
1. Check your connection: The first step in the process is to check if your router and modem are two separate devices. If you have two, then you do not need to worry. If it is one unit, then you have a bit of work to do.
2. ISP provider unit: If you get a unit from your ISP provider, call them and find out if the IPv6 is disabled. Get help with how to do it if it is not.
3. Buy a unit yourself: Buying a unit from a store can cut down on security issues. Check the unit’s manual and follow the steps to disable the IPv6 feature.
If you decide to buy a router to ensure your safety, make sure to talk to your provider and get a unit that they recommend.
Things to know about the Internet
Most users are familiar with Internet-related terms but do not know how they work together. Here is information on the different terms.
IP addresses: IP addresses are a way for computers and sites to connect on the Internet and route information. Many of these IP addresses are not permanent and can be changed if necessary. There are two types of IP addresses – IPv4, introduced in 1981. The new version IPv6, introduced in 1998 is more secure. All IP addresses were to be upgraded to IPv6 and this has not happened. Currently, available devices are configured to support both protocols and yours may be one of these.
MAC addresses: These are permanent and unique. Every networked device has an interface for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and even Ethernet. Each address has 48 bits. This address indicates the hardware manufacturer and the specific device. You can find out how to change this information to a 64-bit address.
SSID: This is your Wi-Fi network’s name and is accessed by your phone or computer to connect to the Internet. You can change this easily.
BSSID: This number identifies a specific point for Wi-Fi access. For home Wi-Fi networks, this number and the router number are the same. Larger networks use multiple access points and broadcast to local devices, even if the devices are not connected to the Internet.
Keep in mind that BSSIDs cannot be changed, unlike the SSID. Millions of networks across the globe have been mapped and logged in databases. When your Wi-Fi network’s signal is picked up by someone driving by, it is easy enough to find out more information. Even though this system is secure and quite private, there is a loophole in the system. This makes it easy for motivated people to find the information they want, whether it is the BSSID or Mac address
A tool like IPvSeeYou does not always work efficiently because home routers issued by providers ensure that they generate IPv6 more securely. The MAC address is not used so it becomes hard to geolocate a user. One solution for this problem is with hardware manufacturers. If they do not use the EUI 64 method to generate IPv6 addresses, it takes care of exposure issues. This will not help millions of devices that cannot or will not be upgraded with updates. A lot of research is still being done to find out how to ensure that Wi-Fi security can be enhanced.