Networking

Wireless Networking

Wireless Networking

Wireless logo

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.

Residential Networking

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
 

Host Intrusion Prevention (RIT-owned/leased computers only)

Host Intrusion Prevention (RIT-owned/leased computers only)

Note: This requirement applies only to RIT-owned and leased computers. There is currently no requirement for personally-owned machines to run host intrusion prevention.

Currently, personal networking devices used on the RIT residential network (such as routers, switches, etc.) do not need to meet the Network Security Standard. Resnet has created separate guidelines for Using a Router/Wireless Router on the RIT Network.

The following products have all been tested by the Information Security Office and approved for use on RIT-owned/leased computers.

Recommended Host-based Intrusion Prevention Software

Server

Program

Description

OSSEC

Open source intrusion detection (multiple platforms) (ISO-tested). Active protection feature must be enabled.

McAfee HIPS

Desktop and server intrusion prevention (Windows) (ISO-tested)

Bit9

Application whitelisting (Windows) (non ISO-tested)

Cimcor

Protects against unauthorized changes (Server and Network) (non ISO-tested)

Tripwire (commercial version)

Configuration assessment and change auditing (Desktops and Servers; VMware coming) (non ISO-tested)

Desktop

Program

Description

OSSEC

Open source intrusion detection (multiple platforms) (ISO-tested). Active protection feature must be enabled.

McAfee HIPS

Desktop intrusion prevention (Windows) (ISO-tested)

Comodo

Internet Security Suite (ISO-tested)

Online Armor - Tall - Emu

Firewall (ISO-tested)

E-mail us at infosec@rit.edu if you have any questions or suggestions.

Safe Social Networking and Blogging

Safe Social Networking and Blogging

Social networks are great. They do present some security challenges and risks, however.

This guide describes the dangers you face as a user of these websites, and provides tips on the safe use of social networking and blogging services.

Dangers of Social Networking

Many computer criminals uses these sites to distribute viruses and malware, to find private information people have posted publicly, and to find targets for phishing/social engineering schemes. Below is a short list of users who may be using the same sites as you:

Identity Thieves
Online criminals only need a few pieces of information to gain access to your financial resources. Phone numbers, addresses, names, and other personal information can be harvested easily from social networking sites and used for identity theft. The large numbers of people that use these sites also attract many online scammers.

Online Predators
Are your friends interested in seeing your class schedule online? Well, sex offenders or other criminals could be as well. Knowing your schedule and your whereabouts can make it very easy for someone to victimize you, whether it be breaking in while you're gone, or attacking you while you're out. Don't make it easy for the Facebook Stalker to find you!

Employers
More and more employers are beginning to investigate applicants and current employees through social networking sites and/or search engines. What you post online may put you in a negative light to prospective or current employers, especially if your profile picture features you doing something questionable or stupid.

Protecting Your Information - Safe Practices

Keeping your information out of the wrong hands can be fairly easy if you adopt a cautious attitude. Here are some tips to make sure your private information stays private.

Don't Post Personal Information Online!
It's the easiest way to keep your information private. Don't post your full birth date, your address, phone numbers, etc. Don't hesitate to ask friends to remove embarrassing or sensitive information about you from their posts either.

Use Built-In Privacy Settings
Most social networking sites offer various ways in which you can restrict public access to your profile, such only allowing your "friends" to view your profile. Of course, this only works if you only allow a few people to see your postings-if you have 10,000 "friends" your privacy won't be very well protected. Your best bet is to disable all the extra options, and re-enable only the ones you know you'll use. Sophos provides Recommended Facebook Privacy Settings. These best practices can be applied to any social networking or blogging website.

Be wary of others
Most sites do not have a rigorous process to verify identity of members so always be cautious when dealing with unfamiliar people online.

Search for yourself
Find out what information other people have easy access to. Put your name into Google (make sure to use quotes around your name). Try searching for your nicknames, phone numbers, and addresses as well-you might be surprised at what you find. Many blogging sites have instructions on how to exclude your posts from appearing in search engine results using something called a "robots text file." More information can be found here.

What Happens on the Web, Stays on the Web

Before posting anything online, remember the maxim "what happens on the web, stays on the web." Information on the Internet is public and available for anyone to see, and security is never perfect. With browser caching and server backups, there is a good chance that what you post will circulate on the web for years to come. So be safe and think twice about anything you post online.

Find out more about how information security affects you by becoming a Fan of the RIT Information Security Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter for updates on current security threats.

Keeping Safe

Keeping Safe: Guidelines and Best Practices

Not sure how to keep yourself, your information, and your devices safe? Click on the headings below for best practices, resources, and more; also be sure to check out our blog for more specific content, answers to your information security questions, and best practices guides!

Subject Area

Comments

Securing your Computer

Free downloads and instructions to support the Desktop and Portable Computer Standard.

Mobile Devices

Learn how to safely use mobile devices when dealing with Private Information or everyday use.

Phishing

Learn how to recognize these common online scams.

Safe Blogging and Social Networking

Is a potential employer reading? Learn how much information is too much and how to protect yourself on social networking sites.

Wireless Networking

Learn about wireless networking at RIT, at home, and on public networks; and the potential dangers you face.

Web Browsing Safely

Learn about the different web browsers available, add-ons that can improve security, and how to browse using limited account privileges.

Identity Theft

Did you know that people aged 18-29 are five times more likely to be victims of identity theft than those 60 or older?

Instant Messaging

Tips on how to avoid malware and scams through instant messaging.

Safe Online Shopping and Banking

How to use these popular online services securely.

Digital Copyright

Are you aware that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) files copyright violations and has sued students at RIT? Visit the ITS Digital Copyright page to learn more about copyright violations at RIT and how they are handled.
Browser Security Configuration Outlines how to configure various security settings for common browsers.
Cloud Computing Information on secure cloud service use.

 

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