Starting the workday in pajama trousers at the kitchen table can be the coziest component about functioning from home, yet the wireless connection between your work-related laptop and an individual router that renders Mondays simpler brings some security concerns to the table. Your house network doesn’t exactly have the backing of the that company IT and security departments, after ~ all. 

Personal and also professional devices need different levels that security. Bad guys are more likely to be interested in company networks through high-value data, instead of residential networks used primarily for entertainment and also communication. Many thanks to the COVID pandemic, house network security came to be much an ext important currently that countless of them space transferring important organization data. 

The basic list of security controls for home Wi-Fi watch something like this: 

Use strong encryption (WPA 2)Change default SSIDChange the default passwordDisable WPS (Wi-Fi protected Setup)Update firmwareUse a guest network

These space all nearly universally i agreeed upon. However, yes sir one security control that part recommend and also some don’t:

Hide network SSID

There is a debate within the cybersecurity community as to whether this is a an important security manage for wireless networks. Navigating the ins and also outs that computers, networks, and also the net at home is confusing enough on its own without the included confusion of conflicting opinions. Therefore let’s take a look at this argument and also see if we deserve to come up through the right answer.

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Background: What is an SSID?

An SSID, or Service set Identifier, is the name of a wireless network. It is broadcast by the wireless network’s router (or access point) so tools can watch the various wireless networks in your vicinity. This is what provides it straightforward for customers to find, select, and also connect to nearby accessibility points. The default setup for a wireless router is to broadcast its SSID.

What is hiding an SSID?

Hiding an SSID is simply disabling a wireless router’s SSID broadcast feature. Disabling the SSID transfer stops the router from sending out out the wireless network’s name, making the invisible to users. However, this just hides the name from showing up on maker lists of nearby networks. The network itself is quiet there, because people still need to use it. This brings us to the debate.

Pros the hiding her SSID. 

The primary advantage of hiding her SSID is the it reduces the likelihood of an assault by keeping hackers and also nosy neighbors from also knowing your network is there. It renders your network less of a “low hanging fruit” by making the more complicated to find. The concept is that a casual attacker would select to attack a more obvious, in this instance non-hidden, network instead.

However, her network is tho there and also can quiet be discovered by determined attackers. The SSID is included in informational data, or data packets, that are transferred ~ above the network. This data packets deserve to be found and also examined through readily available network assessing tools and also anyone v the know-how to use them.

That being the case, hiding an SSID is not a one-and-done solution and also must still be coupled through the other Wi-Fi defense controls noted above. A concealed network cannot stop an attack, only mitigate the likelihood the one ever happening. 

Cons that hiding her SSID.

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The main argument versus hiding your SSID is as declared above: the an ext technically advanced bad guys have the right to still uncover your network whether the SSID is hidden or not. To them, girlfriend may too be running around with a huge sign that states “I use a covert network!” 

Readily easily accessible network scanning tools, such together inSSIDer, will certainly report earlier on all surrounding networks, including concealed ones. The screenshot listed below shows what it looks like once someone detects a concealed network. The eighth listing down through a pink bar alongside its surname is the hidden network. This application leaves that blank, others will certainly list “Hidden SSID.”

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From here, there space a multitude that hacking tools that one attacker deserve to use to recognize your concealed SSID. They could even feel urged to perform so – just what execute you have actually that’s worth hiding? 

Another giveaway for your surprise network space your mobile gadgets themselves. Because that user convenience, computers and also cell phones are always trying to reconnect come your wanted Wi-Fi network. This provides for a seamless experience as soon as you acquire home, open your laptop, and don’t have to worry about reconnecting to Wi-Fi.

Normally this is handled by the machine acting as a recipient – that is listening because that a ping with the SSID that the router to establish a connection. As soon as you usage a surprise SSID, you transition that obligation to the mobile device as opposed to the router. Now, whenever your maker is far from the concealed network, the constantly sending pings come look for the router. The SSID is a crucial bit of details that should be had in the “handshake” between the router and machine in stimulate to create a connection. If neither an equipment is broadcasting, lock don’t know that they’re claimed to attach to every other. 

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An attacker it is monitoring local network signals can easily detect this behavior, telling them 1. That you usage a hidden network at home or work and also 2. The surname of that network.

Hiding her SSID come with one more usability drawback too – it renders connecting to your network more difficult for legit users. Rather of choosing from a perform of visible networks, you need to manually enter every one of the network details for her Wi-Fi connection.

Disabling the SSID broadcast also makes it daunting for larger versions of windows to find and also hold their connection to a network. These older version of Windows will certainly prioritize connecting come a network through a broadcast SSID regardless of signal strength, and disconnect native a network there is no a surprise SSID and connect come one that is broadcast. Wireless dongles have additionally been recognized to fall connections as soon as the SSID is hidden. 

Our take it on hidden SSIDs

Both political parties of the debate have valid points, for this reason the answer as to which is the better practice eventually boils down to this question:

Is the benefit of discouraging a casual attacker worth the threat of looking prefer a an ext attractive target and also complicating legit network use?

In our opinion, it’s not worth the drawbacks come hide her SSID. You deserve to discourage casual attackers and also hackers interested in low-hanging fruit with other security controls: use a strong password, encrypt your network traffic, and run updated firmware. Unlike hidden SSIDs, this come with no usability drawbacks.

So the price is NO. The other security controls are enough that the benefits carry out not outweigh the risks of hiding your SSID – don’t do it!

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