Securing home wireless networks has never been as important. For years, the number of remote workers has steadily increased until the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden surge of remote work. Now people from every industry imaginable have adapted to working from home, and many aren’t turning back. Remote work is the future many did not expect to come so quickly.
Of course, the rise in remote work brought out new challenges, especially in the world of cybersecurity. When comparing traditional home Wi-Fi security to enterprise Wi-Fi security, the difference is night and day. But is it a viable option to use WPA2-Enterprise to secure your home network?
Why Use WPA2-Enterprise at Home?
As stated above, the WPA2-Enterprise network type is most commonly used by organizations of all sizes. At SecureW2, we provide wireless support for large enterprises, small businesses, universities, healthcare providers, K12 schools, and more.
These organizations benefit from the boost in security and customization capabilities that WPA2-Enterprise provides. But what would be the benefit to equipping your home network with this secure network type?
One of the beauties of WPA2-Enterprise is the amount of customization you can do to tailor the network to your needs. Specifically, a WPA2-Enterprise network can be segmented to provide separate network experiences for different users on the same network.
One commonly used technique that could be outfitted for a home network is the use of VLANs for different user groups. By setting up a VLAN, you can separate traffic on the network so users and the resources they access are not discoverable by those outside their user group. Specifically, this could be used to create a VLAN for work, for personal network use, and for guests.
Authentication via RADIUS Server
The most common network type for home use is WPA2-Personal, which does not use a RADIUS server for authentication security. In contrast, WPA2-Enterprise requires a RADIUS and experiences far stronger security as a result.
A RADIUS server uses secure EAP authentication protocols to ensure information sent to the RADIUS is protected. The EAP Tunnel that authentication information is sent through blocks outsiders from reading it, and protocols such as PEAP-MSCHAPv2 and EAP-TLS encrypt all information sent through the air.
When comparing the authentication methods of WPA2-Personal and WPA2-Enterprise, you will find Enterprise is far more secure. WPA2-Personal uses a single password that anyone can use to gain network access. It’s incredibly easy for someone to lose or steal a single password, and it results in an outsider gaining unmitigated access to your secure network.
On the other hand, WPA2-Enterprise requires each user to have a password unique to them. If users are following credential best practices, it will be a challenge for any outside attacker to obtain network access. Additionally, if a single password is compromised, it can just be reset, while WPA2-Personal would require you to reset that password on every device connected to the network.
As an added benefit, WPA2-Enterprise can be configured to use digital certificates for authentication in favor of credentials. If you want to learn more about the benefits of certificates and how they surpass all other authentication types, read more here.
Stronger Overall Cybersecurity
Perhaps the strongest argument for WPA2-Enterprise is the security benefits it provides. If you are working remotely and accessing sensitive resources, you want to guarantee you have the best possible protection.
The improved authentication security ensures that you are protected against over-the-air attacks and deny easy access to outsiders. Only those that are approved will be able to gain access to the network, and even then, you can segment the network according to your specific needs. If the network needs to be separated for business and personal use, this can be accomplished with ease.
But how would the average person set up a WPA2-Enterprise network in their home?
Enabling WPA2-Enterprise for Home Use
In order to use WPA2-Enterprise to its full potential for a home user, it’s vital to follow best practices. First and foremost, if you are using credential-based authentication, change your passwords often and make them complex.
There’s nothing worse to cybersecurity than a weak password. If it can easily be guessed in a dictionary attack, the network can be compromised with ease. This applies to both user and router passwords and should be a blanket rule anytime you use a password. Do not make it a name or common word, include numbers, symbols, and capitalized letters, and replace it every few months to provide maximum security protection.
Another best practice is to use layered security to avoid stagnation when it comes to blocking outside attacks. If there is one thing that is common among hackers, it’s that they are not inventive. When one hacker discovers a vulnerability or exploit that can break through a commonly used security measure, it will be shared and used by countless others. The average hacker simply reuses techniques created by others.
As a result, if you only use one layer of security, the chances of being exploited are increased. In reality, WPA2-Enterprise is highly secure and difficult to bypass, but there do exist exploits that can break it (albeit the attack can take hours of work and weeks to complete). By adding additional layers of security, you can block the avenue that attackers would take to exploit your network.
One method of layering security is to implement Wireless MAC Filtering. This allows you to define a list of approved devices that are allowed to access the network. If a device attempts to authenticate with a correct password but they are not an approved device, they will be blocked from gaining access. Of course, this can be a hassle if you have frequent guest users because they will have to be added to the list of approved devices, but the benefits speak for themselves.
Another popular security measure is to configure your router to give administrative access to a device only if they are connected via LAN. This is a simple measure to enforce because it’s not often you need to readjust router settings, but it prevents an outside attacker from doing damaging edits to your wireless settings. On top of this, many will institute a requirement for an HTTPS-secured connection between the router and computer when accessing router settings, blocking any outsiders from viewing these secure communications.
Of course, all this network infrastructure and additions to your network would be fantastic. But powerful cybersecurity is no easy task, and some methods of equipping and configuring your network are more user-friendly than others.
WPA2-Enterprise With Cloud RADIUS
The first experience you’ll have with a RADIUS server is the configuration process, and if this process isn’t user-friendly, people will be unwilling to use the RADIUS for home use. SecureW2’s Cloud RADIUS boasts a straightforward configuration process that integrates with any network infrastructure. It can be configured and customized quickly and be ready to authenticate users within hours.
The Cloud RADIUS enables any EAP authentication method to securely connect you to the WPA2-Enterprise network. Many opt to use credentials, and they can easily configure the network to authenticate using PEAP-MSCHAPv2 to secure the authentication process. But as mentioned previously, credential-based authentication is quickly becoming outdated and can be replaced by the superior certificate-based authentication method, EAP-TLS.
Of course, configuring the network for certificates and distributing them on your own is a more difficult process than using credentials, but with proper support, the balance can be tipped in the certificates favor. SecureW2’s JoinNow onboarding solution provides top of the line certificate provisioning software to distribute certificates to any device in minutes.
Perhaps the greatest benefit to home networks is that Cloud RADIUS is entirely based in the cloud. There’s no lengthy setup process, expensive management costs overtime, or the need to provide physical space for the server. It’s designed to be a set-n-forget system that requires minimal management. Certificates distributed by SecureW2 can be configured to last for years. And for guests on your network, we enable protected guest access to ensure your network is always secure.
The workplace landscape has changed dramatically over the past year, and organizations and individuals are still adapting. One thing that has become abundantly clear is that remote work is the future. If an organization can securely connect remote workers, they will have a significant advantage. While it may be a new process to some, configuring WPA2-Enterprise at home can certainly be done. Check out SecureW2’s pricing page to see if Cloud RADIUS can help set up WPA2-Enterprise in your home.
The post Should WPA2-Enterprise Be Used For My Home Network? appeared first on SecureW2.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from SecureW2 authored by Jake Ludin. Read the original post at: https://www.securew2.com/blog/should-wpa2-enterprise-be-used-for-my-home-network