WiFi has become more or less synonymous with an internet connection these days. Few people know that the internet can be connected to one’s desktop computer or laptop via a wire. Not knowing about an old method should not be taken as one’s mistake or ignorance.
Most modern computing devices have WiFi functionality to connect to the internet. It is more convenient as compared to using an Ethernet cable. People always go after more convenient options, and gradually, the previously existing solutions go into oblivion.
Is this the case with LAN connection or wired connection? Can wireless connections replace them? Despite many practical inconveniences that wired or LAN connections cause compared to wireless connections, they are still preferred in places where security cannot be compromised.
In other words, wireless connections are subject to some vulnerabilities that LAN connections are not. To understand it better, it will be good to look at the WLAN (wireless local area networks) and how and why they are potentially at risk of security threats.
- Are Wireless Internet Connections Less Secure Than LAN?
While in a LAN connection, data is transmitted through a wire, in a WLAN, it is transmitted in radio waves. Though such connections enjoy the absence of physical barriers in such data transmission, they are highly vulnerable to several cyber security loopholes, hacking, unwanted interceptions, and eavesdropping.
Based on their nature, the security issues and threats that wireless networks are subject to are classified into three different types:
Eavesdropping: Culprits usually target secure wireless networks, gain unauthorized access, and tap the exchanged data.
DoS (Denial of Service attacks): The attacker interrupts the availability of the network resources by flooding the network with messages.
Spoofing: Hackers create identical access points (AP) so that devices get connected to them instead of the actual access point. Once the connection is established, it becomes easy for the attacker to hijack the session and steal valuable data.
Though these attacks can be curtailed to some extent by way of adopting various security measures such as configuring the WLAN correctly, enabling standard authentication, implementing various access control mechanisms and encryptions, there is no way to ensure a 100 percent guarantee in these solutions.
On the other hand, Local Area Networks (LAN) are much more secure than WIFI. In a LAN setup, the data transfer takes place through a wire, which makes the speed several times higher than in the case of wireless transmission, contributing to its added safety and increased reliability. Besides that, LAN or wired connection has the following advantages.
Ease of setting up
Another positive aspect of a wired network setup is its simpler setup process. Unfortunately, wireless network connections sometimes cause connectivity issues frequently without knowing what has gone wrong.
It can even take hours to fix. Furthermore, if one is not sure of the encryption method used in the connection process, the troubleshooting process will get even harder. On the other hand, troubleshooting connectivity issues on a wired connection are pretty easy.
WIFI connections cannot be completely trusted all the time, particularly if the user sits at the edge of the connection range. A connection failure while transferring critical data may lead to undesired situations, whereas there are no such scenarios to worry about on a wired connection.
Wireless networks are constantly being upgraded to offer increased data transmission speed. However, it’s pretty low compared to the speed offered by a wired connection. Moreover, in this modern scenario where the size of files keeps increasing, one cannot waste a second to get them transferred.
Modern ethernet connections offer a transfer speed of up to 1 Gigabit-per-second. Even the fastest WIFI internet connection can give you only three times slower transfer speed than this.
Despite these few downsides, Wireless connection is still preferred by most people today. Although it is pretty simple and easy to connect to LAN at your home or office, it is impossible to carry the ethernet cable everywhere you go.
WIFI is the best option out there when you are on the move. It is available in almost all the places you go. However, by taking up a few precautionary steps, one can address the security loopholes of these connections and enjoy the services without worries. Here are a few useful tips for the same.
If you use a public WIFI network, always make sure that you visit only HTTPS secure sites. Similarly, enhance your website’s security. There are affordable SSL certificate options for one to choose for the same. This will secure your website communications and keep them encrypted in transit.
Disable File Sharing or AirDrop on your devices before connecting to any public networks.
Do not connect to unknown networks. It is best to stick to the ones which you already know instead.
Open WIFI networks are used increasingly for data mining in many public places. Therefore, think twice before connecting your device to a network open to everyone.
If any public networks ask for too much of your personal information before letting you go online, it is better to avoid them.
If there are any terms and conditions for you to accept before accessing a public network, make sure you read through them carefully.
Use a trusted VPN. Yes, the benefits of using a reliable VPN service while connecting to a public wireless connection are many. First, a VPN can effectively encrypt the data being passed on to your device or leaving your device. This means you will have better security over your data from being stolen by hackers or eavesdroppers.
As technology progresses and evolves day by day, it is evident that the security loopholes that WIFI networks are subject to today will be fixed in the future. When this happens, one will no longer worry about why wireless internet connections are less secure than LAN ones. Nonetheless, if one wants to ensure complete protection from data theft, an encrypted LAN connection is more secure than WIFI in today’s context.