Wireless networks are generally considered to be less secure than wired networks; however, with proper configuration and encryption enabled, they can provide more than adequate security for most users. Read our Accessing Wireless Networks Safely Brochure to learn more and better protect your privacy.
Wireless at RIT
RIT offers three different wireless networks across campus: an open public network, an encrypted WPA network, and an encrypted WPA2 network. We strongly recommend using the WPA2 or WPA network at all times, as they provide much better quality and security for users. WPA2 is the preferred protocol, as it offers the best security.
The WPA and WPA2 network signals are not broadcast publicly, so your computer will not automatically detect them. ITS provides instructions on How to Access RIT’s WPA Wireless Network.
More information on wireless networking at RIT can be found on the ITS Wireless Computing at RIT page.
Please note that the use of wireless network routers is not permitted in residential areas on campus. Use of wired routers is acceptable; however, you should read and comply with Resnet’s guide to Using a Router on the RIT Network prior to setup.
Wireless at Home
Without a secure configuration, your wireless network is open to anyone within range of the access point (typically anywhere from 100-1000 feet). Anyone in your area can "piggyback" on your connection and use your Internet, which can lead to a number of problems such as service violations, bandwidth shortages, abuse, activity monitoring, or direct attacks to your computer.
Best Practices for Home Wireless Networks
- Change Your Default SSID and Administrator Password (See About.com for overview, but process varies by manufacturer)
- Disable SSID Broadcasting
- Enable WPA Encryption
- Enable MAC Address Filtering (See About.com for overview, but process varies by manufacturer)
- Keep Your Access Point Software Up-To-Date with Patches
- Use Your Router's Built-in Firewall
- Use File Sharing with Caution
Public Wireless Networks
Many public access points are not secured, and the traffic they carry is not encrypted. This puts your sensitive communications and transactions at risk. Because your connection is being transmitted "in the clear," malicious users can use sniffing tools, "shoulder surfing," or other methods to obtain information including passwords, bank account numbers, unauthorized computer access, and credit card numbers quite easily.
Best Practices for Public Wireless Networks
- Avoiding Sending Sensitive Information (such as online banking, shopping, etc..) over a Wireless Network
- Stay on Secure Websites (look for HTTPS and lock icon)
- Encrypt Your Traffic
- Connect Using VPN (Virtual Private Networking)
- Disable File Sharing
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings