These days, offices and homes are connected more than ever before. Why? Because today, it’s all about efficiency. Time is money, and WiFi networks, cordless phones, GPS systems and mobile radio systems have the potential to connect businesses and streamline operations. But many people don’t realize that they very well could be jeopardizing the security of their facility based on the various networks these devices run on. Yes, everyone should know the importance of safeguarding a WiFi router to minimize the risk of online hacking, but there’s a lot more to take into consideration too.
So, does your air stink? We’re not talking about the quality of your facility’s indoor air quality. No, we’re talking about potential vulnerabilities in radio frequencies. Let’s examine.
The easiest way for us to explain radio frequency, or RF, to you is to use the example of your home wireless Internet network. Chances are you long onto it with multiple devices (i.e., computers, phones, smart TVs, smart thermostats, a security system, etc.). WiFi connects to these devices via RF signals, and if the signal is disrupted in any way, you’re not going to get the results that you want out of your WiFi-enabled device.
The WiFi router is just one example of a product that relies on RF to perform. Others include Bluetooth products, sensors and medical products, just to name a few. In the office, it may include the aforementioned cordless phones, GPS systems and mobile radios.
What is RF Penetration Testing?
In order to detect potential vulnerabilities in RF, penetration testing should be conducted. Penetration testing basically tests the "air" on the exterior and interior of a facility, analyzing the various frequencies being used by RF equipment. It involves determining where each frequency is coming from, and then assessing whether it’s vulnerable to hackers.
There are various tools to perform this testing, such as:
- RF Power Meters: These are the most common tools used for measuring RF signal power. This is largely because they’re typically very accurate with their measurements and are designed to be compact and portable.
- RF Spectrum: Spectrum testers, or RF signal analyzers, measure RF in the frequency domain. Though not as accurate as power meters, they can measure a greater range of frequency.
- Network Analyzers: These work to test RF devices to provide information on where improvements can be made.
Following testing, if vulnerabilities are detected, it only makes sense to correct them to enhance the security of your facility. One fix is RF shielding, which consists of constructing an enclosure to minimize interference and protect devices from issues that could potentially impact their performance. Another way to enhance security is by properly encrypting specific devices. Poor encryption can lead to a greater likelihood of a hacker intercepting keystrokes from a WiFi keyboard, for instance.
The bottom line is you should be testing the "air" in and around your facility on a regular basis to detect potential hazards with RF so that they can be resolved. Failure to do so could put your home or office at an increased risk of theft.