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Contrary to popular opinion, using such a network does not offer you complete security. This is because it only hides the name of your network but not the actual network you are on. Therefore, having a hidden network does not provide security since malicious hackers can easily fish you out.
The digital world is continuously evolving, with new systems, software, and networks coming up each day. Evolution is a great advantage, especially in the digital space, since it means that new trends are coming up, and consequently better and improved living standards.
Even then, with this also comes security risks. Cybercrimes are on the increase. Although there are mechanisms and software put in place to help make the internet a safer space, matters of security are still challenging.
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What Is A Hidden Network Used For?
A hidden network, wired or wireless, is a network that is not broadcasting its network identification. This identification is called the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Ideally, most wireless networks tend to broadcast their name.
When this happens, your computer will search for and listen to the name of this network if it wants to connect to it.
There are a variety of reasons why you may want to use a hidden network. Here are some of them.
Using a hidden network is ideal if you want to keep your internet activity private and confidential. This is because your network won’t be accessible to most search engines. In addition to this, it may have limited access to apps. Usually, only custom apps can access your network if hidden.
You will also be restricted to minimal IP ranges. In summary, a hidden network is not accessible to the public, and only authorized users can access it.
Using a hidden network will help you have a better experience and connectivity, especially in a dense environment. A remote network typically is not supposed to be used by the public and does not transmit its identification (SSID). For this reason, when clients search for available networks, your hidden network will not appear.
Is It Safe To Use A Hidden Network?
The issue of whether it is safe to use your hidden network is debatable. For one, hiding your network usually gives you an untrue sense of security. It makes you think that your network is solid and secure than it actually is.
To understand why it is not entirely safe to use a hidden network, you must know how these networks work. Typically, a regular router will automatically broadcast the name of your network or the identification number. Luckily, there is always an option of turning off this setting and opting to hide the SSID. This process is simple and involves a click of a button.
It hides and prevents the name of your network from being broadcasted to the public. Once you turn off this setting on the network set up page, your SSID will be hidden, and its name made void. When a network’s name becomes void and someone searches for an available network, your SSID will not pop up as one of the options.
You have to understand that hiding your network name will only prevent individuals who are not malicious or a threat when they connect to your network. Unfortunately, malicious hackers or anyone who really wants to find the name of your network will ultimately find a way of connecting to it.
Another thing that may baffle you is that wireless SSID was never meant to be hidden in the first place. Shocking, right? When technologies and software are being set up, the issue of interoperability always comes up. Software needs to communicate with each other, therefore hiding them will prevent them from doing this.
This is why you will find entirely unnecessary software in the market, all aimed at improving communication and interoperability between software. The SSID was not initially meant to be hidden, and therefore hiding it will not give you any extra protection. Vendors just add in extra features such as the option to hide just to make you purchase their software and boost their profits.
When using your computer, especially in a public setting, you may be curious to know if there are any available hidden networks. While finding such SSIDs may be challenging, it is not impossible. Some people may deem it easy to find a hidden SSID, while some find it complicated.
To find the identification of a secret network, you can use utilities and software such as NetStumbler and Kismet, which help you scan the surrounding network and display all the currently available networks. Note that you will have to pay for some of these softwares, although some don’t charge anything.
With the right tools, you can easily find any hidden network. Hackers commonly use this software to find out your SSID then access your network.
Do you still fancy the idea of using a hidden network? While at it, know that such networks can be challenging to deal with sometimes. I mean, first, connecting to a hidden network is a step-by-step procedure that may be cumbersome sometimes. It is best to make use of the default networking configurations already set up in your machine.
For example, if you have a Windows 7 box, you will have to navigate to the Network and Sharing Center, Manage Wireless networks, and click on the Add icon. After this, you will have to physically create a network profile so as to be able to get to the screen where you will be able to enter the details of a hidden network. If your network is already broadcasting, you simply need to click this icon twice.
Using a hidden network is not all rosy, as you may face connection issues at some point. Luckily, this will only be a matter of concern to you if you have older versions of Windows like Windows XP. Modern versions don’t seem to have too many connection issues.
Older versions could even get disconnected or connect to the wrong network. Imagine your computer connecting to a network it less prefers instead of to the one with a hidden SSID. Additionally, some Android versions also experience connectivity issues when using hidden networks.
Another issue you may face when using a hidden network is that some devices will not allow you to connect to a hidden network automatically. If such devices happen to enable you to join, then you risk exposing your network name.
Can You Expose Personal Information While Using A Hidden Network?
Using a hidden network exposes you to certain risks. For starters, using a hidden network can expose your personal information. How does this happen? Simple.
Most people who connect to public networks usually advertise their SSIDs as being hidden in all their request prompts. The result of this is that your device will start broadcasting these identifications everywhere you go. Anyone listening will be able to access it. Hidden networks are not secure, as posed by vendors.
The operating of your device will determine just how receptive your network is. For example, if you have a Windows 7, you can configure it to prevent automatic connection to hidden networks. It would only connect to visible networks. This technique will minimize broadcasting even though you will have to connect to hidden networks manually.
Nevertheless, macOS and IOS usually connect to known networks, whether they are hidden or not. Surprisingly, IOS websites warn users of the fact that hidden networks can expose their personal information.
They also have no switch or hide networks. They continually broadcast all their hidden SSIDs, as long as they are capable of connecting to them. But, you have to remember that non-broadcast networks cannot be detected.