Even if you’re protecting your network, you may not go far enough. For example, you may use easily crackable Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption rather than the more powerful Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).
If you’re still not convinced, I will give you five reasons to take the extra effort to protect your Wi-Fi network, whether it’s a small one at home or part of a larger, enterprise network.
Reason No. 1: You may be helping criminals unwittingly
There’s a new type of wireless piggybacker out there, people looking for a convenient, unprotected Wi-Fi network to hop onto in order to do something illegal, quasi-legal or just downright nasty. They won’t be breaking in to your PCs, but they’ll be using your bandwidth and IP address for committing cyber crimes.
Reason No. 2: Wireless is the weakest link in an enterprise
You may use high-powered security in your core enterprise network, but if you’ve got even a single, poorly protected wireless access point somewhere, you’re at risk. Invaders intent on stealing customer records or private data or merely doing mischief can easily make their way from that single access point right into the heart of your network. And if you’re a large company, it could cost you millions of dollars. So if you don’t want your classified information to get into wrong hands, protect your network.
Reason No. 3: The recording industry may sue you
As we all know, for the past several years, the recording and entertainment industry has used the courts to sue many people who the industry claims were illegally sharing or downloading copyrighted music and other digital files. But what’s less well known is that they’re also trying to convince the courts that even if someone uses your network and does the illegal download, you should be liable for the copyright infringement. Which means you’ll have to hire a lawyer or get ready to pay through the nose. So if you don’t want the RIAA at your door and don’t want to have to pay a high-priced lawyer to defend you, protect your network.
Reason No. 4: Unwanted use of your bandwidth
The most basic rule of networking is that no matter your upload and download speeds, they’re not fast enough. So how would you like sharing your measly bandwidth with strangers and neighbors, especially those who want to suck up all your bandwidth by downloading multigigabyte movies? So why let the entire world use your precious bandwidth? Instead, protect your network against bandwidth vampires.
Reason No. 5: It may lead to identity theft
If someone gains access to your home or small-office wireless network, they may be able to gather enormous amounts of information about you. Do you store any personal or financial records on a PC attached to your network? If so, they’re at risk if you don’t take the right precautions. So if you worry about identity theft or simply don’t want someone poking around your PCs, make sure to turn on protection.