Separating Wi-Fi Security Fact From Fiction

It seems like with each passing year we depend more and more on Wi-Fi technology. The number of appliances, devices, and gadgets that connect via Wi-Fi continues to rapidly expand, while Wi-Fi networks and Wi-Fi connectivity has become essentially ubiquitous. Interestingly, while our use of Wi-Fi has grown exponentially and Wi-Fi technology has evolved significantly over the past couple decades, there are a number of myths and common misconceptions that are stubbornly persistent.

Today’s Wi-Fi is not invulnerable, but neither is any other networking technology. The problem is that the myths and misconceptions that drive much of the perception of Wi-Fi security are based on partial truths and outdated information. It’s like having a debate about vehicle safety but using arguments that rely on partial data from before seatbelt laws, or before antilock brakes and airbags became standard. Those arguments are meaningless today.

So, let’s examine and debunk the myths.

Wi-Fi Encryption Is Weak

Yes. The encryption standard in early Wi-Fi equipment was exceptionally weak. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption could be cracked in minutes. However, WEP was superseded by WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) in 2003, and current Wi-Fi technology includes WPA3, which uses advanced encryption methods to protect wireless communications from eavesdropping and other types of attacks.

Public Wi-Fi Is Insecure

Almost anywhere you go, you will find a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Every Starbucks and McDonald’s provides free Wi-Fi, and you can find one of those two (or both) roughly every half mile or so. I’m exaggerating—but not by much. Public networks are often unencrypted in order to make it easy for anyone to connect, but all of the devices on the unencrypted network can potentially intercept or view data to and from other devices on the network. WPA3 provides stronger data protection and password security, and establishments can use technologies like Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint and Wi-Fi…