Wi-Fi is a short term for ‘Wireless Fidelity’ that was coined by the marketing firm ‘Interbrand’ to come up with a catchy name for the
newly introduced technology of ‘Wireless Local Area Network using IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence’.
Although Wireless Fidelity technology was already being debated by the mid 80s, the official commercialization didn’t come until the very late 90s when the Wireless Fidelity Alliance was formed as a non-profit trade association.
Since its introduction, Wireless Fidelity has been a very popular advancement in furthering the scope and usage of the internet. The flexibility and convenience that comes with Wi-Fi internet has transformed the way people use the internet.
Many devices such as tablet computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and music players are now being designed without a fixed ‘LAN’ input due to the widespread use of Wi-Fi technology.
The Dangers of Wi-Fi
Although Wi-Fi has proved to be a blessing for internet users, there are some nefarious elements that have managed to exploit this wonderful technology for their own exploitative purposes.
Web browser extensions such as ‘FireSheep’ for Mozilla Firefox are extensively used by internet hackers to pry on unsuspecting internet users connecting to Wi-Fi networks at public places like Coffee Shops, Airports, and Schools.
The fact that internet users are now conducting a substantial part of their routine activities on the internet like shopping through credit cards, online bank transactions, business email accounts, and personal social accounts, the ability of hackers to monitor an internet user’s activities through Wi-Fi has become increasingly worrisome.
Here is a comprehensive list of Wi-Fi security facts and figures that discusses the importance and popularity of Wi-Fi along with the possible issues that come along with it.
- The three common types of Wi-Fi encryption techniques are WEP, WPA, and WPA2. WEP is the least secure technique and hackers need just 5 minutes to crack WEP encrypted Wi-Fi traffic. Still, 19% of internet users WEP encryption.
- A number of powerful, open-source, and free hacking tools are available on the internet to exploit Wi-Fi internet networks.
- There are about 100 million public Wi-Fi hotspots in the world such as at Airports, Coffee Shops, and Hotels – 89% of them being unsecured.
- 1 million people become victims of Cyber crime, every single day.
- The Cyber crime market has cost $388 billion in losses while the market for Heroin, Marijuana, and Cocaine stands at $288.
- 77% of people who used a free Wi-Fi have reported to experience Cyber crime.
- Over the last year, adults surveyed for these statistics reported they have experienced 3 times more Cyber crimes than other ‘non-offline’ crimes.
- Sunnyvale, California was the first city in the US to offer city-wide Wi-Fi network in 2005.
- One of the funniest names kept for a Wi-Fi network are:
- No WiFi for you
- Mom Use This One
- Your WiFi is in Another Castle
Wi-Fi has brought so much flexibility and convenience to internet usage that wired internet is slowly taking the backseat. The growing usage of mobile computing devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablet PCs coupled with dwindling sales of fixed, desktop PCs is quickly making a case for further explosion in Wi-Fi usage across the world.
All that needs to be done now is to ensure that hackers are not allowed to exploit this wonderful technology; and for this purpose, Wi-Fi users need to sharpen up their understanding of Wi-Fi networks and how they can protect themselves while making full use of this invention. The opportunities with Wi-Fi are endless.
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