Whether you’re running a small family restaurant or a big retailer that receives shoppers regularly, you should know that offering free Wi-Fi internet to your customers can really help enhance the overall client experience.
However, in doing so, you open yourself to the risk of Wi-Fi hacking—where cyber criminals and malicious attackers use your open Wi-Fi services to try and steal data from you and your customers. Only by taking the necessary steps to secure your business indoor or outdoor Wi-Fi can you mitigate this security threat.
To help with that, we’ve compiled the following ways you can better protect your business and customers from Wi-Fi hacking.
Ensure your router is in a physically-secure location
No matter how many security measures you have in place or how sophisticated they are, all it takes for a Wi-Fi hacker to sidestep them is to simply hit the reset button on your router. Make sure that physical access to your router is restricted, either by locking it in a closet or placing it somewhere only employees can access. You can also have your connectivity assets constantly monitored by CCTV.
Change the default router login information
This is different from the password that customers will use to access your public Wi-Fi. Rather, this is the username and password that is needed to access your router itself to modify its internal settings, such as its security measures, connection settings, and so on. When used right out of the box, routers have default login credentials that may be easily be looked up by anyone on the Internet. As such, hackers could do exactly that to access your router without you knowing. By changing your router’s default login credentials you can prevent that from happening and thus increase your overall security.
Routers today come packed with security options that help make the Wi-Fi traffic going to and from your router more secure and harder to intercept. Always go for the strongest level of security, which is WPA2. If your router settings do not list WPA2 or its lighter counterpart WPA as a security option, then it may be that your router’s firmware needs updating, or the router itself needs to be replaced.
Separate your own internal network from your customer-facing network
While it may be easier and more convenient to just let your customers access the Wi-Fi connection that your workforce is using, it can also open you up to hacking and network infiltration attacks. Instead, create a separate public Wi-Fi network that your customers can log into, and secure that as well. Most enterprise-class routers will allow this through Service Set Identifier (SSID) as well as Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) features. By doing this, you still give your customers the luxury of having free Wi-Fi connectivity while also securing the network traffic meant for your business.
Create a ‘Captive Portal’ for your public Wi-Fi network
Ideally, your customers should only need to connect to your public Wi-Fi network and punch in a security key to access it. It should be that easy for them to do so. However, by creating a ‘captive portal’ for your customers, you don’t only add another layer of security to your network but also have a marketing opportunity. A captive portal is essentially a landing page that customers will have to navigate and where they can agree to terms of service in order to use your Wi-Fi. This authenticates users as well as allows you to limit just how long they can access your connection and how much bandwidth they can use.
By employing these simple ways to secure your business Wi-Fi, you can improve your customer-facing experience as well as protect your own business from Wi-Fi hacking attacks and rampant cybercrime.