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Debunking Myths: Is Hiding Your Wireless SSID Really More Secure?

Seems like every guide to securing your wireless network tells you to keep your SSID from broadcasting to make your network more secure, but is that really worthwhile? Let’s take a look at one of the silliest myths out there.

This myth has been around for a very long time, and we aren’t expecting everybody to receive this news with happy agreement. You’re welcome to state your case in the comments for why hidden wireless networks are a great idea, but we think if you keep reading, you’ll realize that it’s just not a security feature.

Wireless SSIDs Were Never Designed to Be Hidden

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Image by Chaotic Good01

It’s never a good sign when manufacturers create technologies that don’t follow the agreed-upon spec documents that ensure interoperability between vendors—it’s usually a way for them to make more money with vendor lock-in features that require you to buy their hardware.

In this particular case, the 802.11 wireless spec requires access points to broadcast their SSID, or at least it originally did according to Microsoft’s Steve Riley:

An SSID is a network name, not — I repeat, not — a password. A wireless network has an SSID to distinguish it from other wireless networks in the vicinity. The SSID was never designed to be hidden, and therefore won’t provide your network with any kind of protection if you try to hide it.

Obviously feature demand drives the specifications, so even though everybody eventually supported hidden SSIDs, the point is that there’s no extra protection from hiding your SSID. Read on.

Finding Hidden SSIDs Is a Trivial Task

It’s extremely easy to find the ID for a “hidden” network—all you have to do is use a utility like inSSIDer, NetStumbler, or Kismet to scan the network for a short while to show all of the current networks out there. It’s really that simple, and there’s plenty of other tools that do the same job.

Don’t believe me? Grab a copy, start it up, and then click the Start Scanning button—within a minute you’ll see a list of every single network in range. You can then identify which ones are using WEP and start cracking them.

Update: Some commenters have complained that you can’t see the networks… and we should clarify: hidden networks show up as Unknown in version 1 of this particular tool, but they do show all of the other data about the network, including the encryption type and MAC address. Version 2.0 of inSSIDer actually does show the SSID for a hidden network. You’ll see in this screenshot the lhdevnet network, which I’ve hidden on the router.

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Real hackers are going to be using tools like Kismet and Aircrack to figure out the SSID before they crack your network, so whether or not a particular tool is showing the right data is beside the point. Should also note that you can use this tool to figure out how to change the wireless router channel and optimize your Wi-Fi signal.

Hidden Wireless Networks Are a Pain to Deal With

Now that you know how simple it really is for people to find your ID, wouldn’t you rather use the default networking configurations where you can easily select the network from a list? Why go through all the steps required to connect to a hidden network?

For instance, on your Windows 7 box, you’ll have to go to Network and Sharing Center –> Manage Wireless Networks –> Add –> Manually Create a network profile to get to the screen where you can start entering all the details for the hidden network. For a network that is broadcasting, all you have to do is click twice.

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And that’s just Windows 7, which makes wireless networking easy—having to go through all the configuration screens on every single one of your devices is just ridiculous.

Hiding the Network Leads to Potential Connection Problems

This isn’t quite as much of a problem since Windows 7 came along, but back in the Windows XP days, there were quite a few connection problems when you were using a hidden SSID, not to mention getting disconnected and connecting to the wrong network. Basically, Windows would automatically try to connect to a less preferred network that was broadcasting instead of a preferred network with a hidden SSID—the only way around it was to disable automatic connection to the broadcasting one, which was annoying as well.

The same thing holds true with some other devices—I’ve seen problems with Android phones, and you can just do some quick Google searches to find loads of other issues that are all resolved by not using a hidden SSID.

There’s another problem with hiding your wireless network name: depending on the device, many devices won’t let you automatically connect to a hidden network, and if you have automatic connection enabled, you’re actually leaking your network name, as we’ll explore below.

Hidden Wireless SSIDs Actually Leak Your SSID Name

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When you hide your wireless SSID on the router side of things, what actually happens behind the scenes is that your laptop or mobile device is going to start pinging over the air to try and find your router—no matter where you are. So you’re sitting there at the neighborhood coffee shop, and your laptop or iPhone is telling anybody with a network scanner that you’ve got a hidden network at your house or job.

Microsoft’s Technet explains exactly why hidden SSIDs are not a security feature, especially with older clients:

A non-broadcast network is not undetectable. Non-broadcast networks are advertised in the probe requests sent out by wireless clients and in the responses to the probe requests sent by wireless APs. Unlike broadcast networks, wireless clients running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Server® 2003 with Service Pack 1 that are configured to connect to non-broadcast networks are constantly disclosing the SSID of those networks, even when those networks are not in range.

Therefore, using non-broadcast networks compromises the privacy of the wireless network configuration of a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003-based wireless client because it is periodically disclosing its set of preferred non-broadcast wireless networks.

The behavior is a little better in Windows 7 or Vista as long as you don’t have automatic connection enabled—the only way to be sure that you’re not leaking the network name is to disable automatic connection to wireless networks with a hidden SSID. Microsoft’s explanation:

The Connect even if the network is not broadcasting check box determines whether the wireless network broadcasts (cleared, the default value) or does not broadcast (selected) its SSID. When selected, Wireless Auto Configuration sends probe requests to discover if the non-broadcast network is in range.

How Should You Secure Your Network Then?

When it comes to wireless network security, there’s really only one rule that you need to follow: Use WPA2 encryption, and make sure that you are using a strong network key. If you’re on a wireless hotspot that isn’t your own, be sure to read our guide to keeping secure on a public wireless hotspot.

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If you’re not using encryption, or you’re using the pathetic WEP encryption scheme, it doesn’t matter whether you hide your SSID, filter MAC addresses, or cover your head in tin foil—your network is wide open for hacking in a matter of minutes.

Myth status: Debunked.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/13/10

Comments (50)

  1. johnny99

    Great article! Too many people claim that you should hide your network to be secure. I will send them this article from now on.

    Sweet illustration, btw

  2. asdf1234

    Love the picture. Great article

  3. antone

    you should do more of these debunking posts. what about mac address filtering?

  4. Dr. C. Soldan

    mac address filtering isn’t more secure as well. you can easily get the mac address of any client in a (encrypted) wireless network and change your own mac address to that one. the only protection for a w-lan is a wpa2 encryption with a strong (full length) key.

  5. David Levine

    Great article! I never hide my SSID for some of the reasons stated. I like the ability to have my devices automatically connect. I just make sure I use strong encryption and a strong password.

  6. Craig

    I always hide my SSID, run WPA2, and have a 63-char passpharse of basically random characters.

    While I agree that hiding your SSID doesn’t automatically make your network more secure (technically), like MAC address filtering, it just adds another slight roadblock.

    What’s more secure a locked house or a locked house that’s maybe slightly harder to find?

    Obviously anyone determined to hack you is going to.

    And FWIW, I ran that inSSIDer utility and it does not show my SSID.

  7. Jeroen

    And I was just learning through the Cisco trails that you always need to hide the SSID for security features. But what they don’t tell you at Cisco is the connection problem with allot of devices. Great article!

  8. Joe

    It’s called limiting the opportunities. You can either advertise your network to potential hackers within the vicinity of the network, or advertise your network (whose location is unknown) to potential hackers in some random public location. Which would you choose?

    And the author needs to do a little more homework regarding inSSIDer and hidden networks.

  9. ziweb

    Hiding my SSID was always a pain. Always new it was easy to find, just didn’t know how useless it was to hide it. :) How about a post about best WIFI techniques for security?

  10. Jean

    Great article.. If you use WPA or better and a complex password, it is incredibly difficult to hack. Doesn’t need to be more complex than that!

    Simples!

    :P

  11. Soapy

    Car windows are not a security feature either, but very few people would park the car, walk away and leave them open. Sure, anyone with a brick can smash your window and steal your stuff off the back seat, but with the window open, they don’t even need a brick. If closing the windows, or hiding the SSID was a big problem, fair enough, but I have always hidden SSIDs and never had the slightest problem on either XP, Vista, Win 7 or Linux. I did have problems getting earlier Linux distros to recognize WPA encryption. Not now.

    The best home network security in existence remains an ethernet cable.Wifi is fine, but many home networks don’t need it. If you can work with cable, then do so.

  12. Mark

    Thanks for the info. I too would like to know more about why MAC filtering isn’t secure. I know you can spoof a MAC address, but how would a hacker determine which address to spoof?

  13. Len W

    mac filtering is for the ‘honest people’ & wpa2 with a strong encryption key is for everyone else! I use both.

  14. Grant

    I took a different tact. I put my wireless on a different subnet, and allow it access to only the outside world, not the machines I care about. Any connections to the real network are done via VPN. Now I just broadcast the SSID, and leave it unencrypted, and treat any traffic on the wireless as if it were traffic on the Internet. Now I have convenience when friends visit, or connecting my Wii, but still have good security. I run the risk of people mooching off my wireless, but I live in the boonies, so there aren’t too many that could.

  15. Dave

    Isn’t a feature of WPA2 that the password is hashed against the SSID, making it almost impossible to use Rainbow Tables.

    A quick google search turns up a few companies offering to sell Rainbow Tables based off the most common default SSID’s.

    In the future when WPA cracking techniques improve one of the key steps on hacking will be figuring out what the SSID is

    Also, inSSIDer has never shown my hidden network.

    Finally, if nothing else, the more steps you force a hacker to jump through, the more chance they will give up and go home.

  16. Donald E. Flood

    I have to use WEP, as my kids have Nintendo DS and DSi players which do not support WPA/WPA2 encryption. (I know that the DSi supports it, but not for everything.) I use MAC filtering and know that can be cracked. I also use Network Magic (from Cisco) to keep an eye on things and have disabled the IP address server on my WRT54G2 router. Any other advice for me?

  17. Darth Continent

    I’ve never seen disabling SSID broadcast as a security feature, rather as merely a way to hide your network from non-tech-savvy neighbors. Sure, somebody wardriving will find it regardless, but the neighbors next door trying to leech my connection won’t, nor will the kid across the way who still has “linksys” as their SSID trying to h4X0r my wireless.

    Relabeling it as a “novelty” rather than a security feature seems like a good idea. MAC address filtering, WPA encryption, those are true security measures, but SSID is about as useful as say the people standing near the door at the exit of your local Wal-Mart, tasked with checking receipts to try to catch a shoplifter who’s got some pricey doodad hidden in his underwear. It just doesn’t serve a useful purpose.

  18. The Geek

    @All

    I’ve updated the post to point out that version 1.2 of inSSIDer shows the networks as Unknown, but version 2.0 does, in fact, show the network ID.

  19. ColdZero

    Thats right!
    WPA-2 is the Real Wireless security.

    SSID – easy to discover
    Mac Filtering – easy to fool

  20. Aviad Raviv

    Great debunking.
    BTW its not only that the network name is leaked… its that there is a product in the form of an appliance that will hack the leaking computers and do several nasty things with that information for you automatically.

    http://www.hak5.org/pineapple

    If thats not the final nail in the coffin, i don’t know what is…

  21. PurimCarnival

    How long should a WPA2 password be to be full and secure?

  22. Gajitman

    @Don Flood: I had the same issue Don, right after Santa brought my kid a DS. I don’t have a “recommended” method to work around this full time, but I’ll tell you what we did. I have the full armor-plated WPA2 security setup on my home network, and did not want to risk that just for the sake of occasional connection for the DS. A year after my kid got the DS, an internet connection is only needed once or twice a month. He has other distractions. Fortunately, my home mechanic\biker neighbors aren’t that fussy, or smart enough to know to lock down their network. Since a DS provides NO drain on bandwidth, I decided to just let the DS leach off the unsecured network and be done with it. My kid has to walk over to a particular window of the house to be in range, but it works without risking my network. If my neighbors would stop tinkering with engines after 9pm right outside my kid’s window, I might take the time to show them how vulnerable they are.
    You may find you have a neighbor who’s sharing with the whole world. If you don’t, or aren’t comfortable with that, you could consider buying a separate [and inexpensive] wireless router just for the DS connections. $35 @ Walmart. You’ll have to configure it so the rest of your network devices aren’t exposed to it, but then you could use WPA2 security on the rest of your network. You really need to use more than WEP. Show the kids how to turn their router on, and tell them to only power it up when they need it.

  23. Donald E. Flood

    Good advice. Thank you!

  24. strawman

    “I’ve never seen disabling SSID broadcast as a security feature, rather as merely a way to hide your network from non-tech-savvy neighbors.”

    So true.

    It is easy to knock down a strawman, which of course I object to. Of course, if you have to fill a column and don’t have anything real to say, it works, but it is disingenuous at best.

    Myth: Non-existant

  25. James

    Eh…I’ll still hide mine….interesting to see only MS Windows being shown and referenced…my linuxbox certainly doesn’t broadcast squat unless I tell it to. Disabling SSID broadcast is really just a speedbump…if someone wants to find it they will.

  26. Chris

    Everyone else in my neighborhood has ATT internet so they have 2wireXXX access points. I named mine similar to theirs to blend in.

  27. Joe

    From inSSIDer:

    Hi LifeHacker readers
    We enjoyed the article too. inSSIDer 2 does not show hidden SSIDs in the way the article makes it sound. It will function the same way inSSIDer 1 did. Thanks for visiting and enjoy inSSIDer!

    Last edited by Trent; Yesterday at 02:01 PM. Reason: lifehacker comments.

  28. Paul

    When I first got into wireless networking I used to hide my SSID. Very quickly, however, I realized how pointless it was to hide. Now I tell people to choose WPA2 and choose a very strong passphrase – the longer the better.

  29. Zolta

    Well Well Well !.
    I spent quite some time composing a witty reply here and now checked to see if its here after awaiting moderation its not here WHY ?.
    There was no swearing no abuse bad behaviour of any sort only plain truth,facts and amusement.
    So i now think because of the howtogeek’s ignorance of not posting my thoughts for people to read or not im going to look up some more unhidden SSID numbers codes etc and use them to inhance my bandwith (Check out inSSider) and swear FxkxcXk Xxkk.
    thats it now i feel better
    Zolt

  30. pool

    @gajit—

    just get a wireless router that supports multiple wireless SSID’s !

    I got the netgear wnr3500l it’s a linux native firmware and with flashing it
    to dd-wrt software, I can have several ssid’s, each with their own encryption level and
    of course isolation from the main wired network and the main wireless one too.

    Best all the way around, wireless gets 240-300 megabits throughput cause its 802.11N as well

  31. Bob

    @PurimCarnival

    “How long should a WPA2 password be to be full and secure?”

    From what I’ve read at least 20 characters long (I keep mine between 30 and 40 characters, max is 63), with a good mix of Upper/Lowercase, numbers, and punctuation.

    I also have different systems to come up with one I can remember, for example the last three vehicles I’ve owned: 96_Toyota_Camry+01_Hyundai_Tiburon+09_Ford_Fusion

  32. mnpeep

    Theres a better way to secure your network!

    http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/1564/secureftw.png

  33. WalterG

    Great articel, thanks.
    I guess yet another DISADVANTAGE of not broadcasting your SSID is that this decision might add to potential hassle of channel selection by others e.g. it your ‘hidden’ wireless network is not being used at the moment then the outside world wouldn’t have this clue to decide to selecte an alternate channel number ? Thus performance on this channel would be more congeted.

  34. Arnaud

    If you use WPA2-AES it’s impossible to hack into your network. It’s just not possible. If you feel you need more security, it means you know how to setup a Radius server, which is the ultimate security. If you don’t know what that is, you don’t need more security than that already exists.

  35. BU5T4

    This is like saying that hiding your gps in your car when your leaving the car is a bad idea. It’s not. I may have an alarm in my car but by hiding the gps it takes away the chance of an opertune thief even thinking about stealing it.

    Hiding your ssid stops the common passer by from using your wifi but isn’t going to stop someone that’s intent on using it from using it.

  36. Fitzcarraldo

    @BU5T4: Surely it is the use of strong encryption with a good key (password) that stops the “common passer-by” from accessing your wireless network, not the hiding of the SSID. Even if someone knew your network SSID he couldn’t access your network, irrespective of whether or not he is a “common passer by”. The SSID is intended to be rather like a house number: it’s there for everyone to see, but the door is kept locked and only those who have a key can enter.

  37. irritated

    really irritated at this article. I always hide my SSID but it isn’t the only security I have in place.

    I don’t see it as unreasonable to want to hide the name from people in densely packed neighborhoods. My Cisco router hides it by default.

    Most things work with the SSID hidden and work very well. Unless you’re dealing with Nintendo DSi. irritating!

    Yes, if you rely only on hiding your SSID, you deserve any hacking you might be the victim of. But that is not to say that hiding the SSID can’t be a part of a layered approach to protecting your wireless network. albeit a very very very small part of it.

  38. vishnu

    configuring the router to not broadcast the SSID i think makes sense for home users who don’t take their devices outside because:
    - the client devices must be on for a hacker to ascertain the SSID, by sniffing the probe requests, or by using de-auth tools. home users only turn on their client devices for awhile while using them and then shut them off most of the time.
    -rainbow lists are large and ever-growing wpa2 cracking databases of possible SSID’s and passwords. if they already know the SSID (from the router broadcast, since most routers are always on) they simply have to run the possible password choices against it. not knowing the SSID means one less piece of information, forcing them to try every combo of SSID and password in their rainbow lists – which takes considerably more time.

    despite the mantra, security by obscurity is an effective aspect of PRACTICAL security where defense in depth is the best solution. of course in an absolute or theoretical sense in the long run obscurity is not security – but in the long run we’re all dead. we only care that the particular security works over a period of time necessary to secure what we need for ourselves. if they can’t find the door it makes it that much harder to even attempt to pick the lock.

  39. Tara

    Thank you for this article. Using SSID works on my Windows 7 laptop but not my old one running Vista. Yes, I know, get rid of Vista, but for the time being I’m stuck with it. Vista does not have the box to check for SSID so I figured this was a problem and once I found this article it confirmed my suspicions. Thanks again, very helpful!

  40. Watchmaster8

    Very misleading article. I too am fed up with so called experts who think SSID hiding does not help. Have they never heard the phrase out of site out of mind?

    The problem is we are not talking about people with wireless tools when we refer to hiding networks, just uninformed opportunists.

    inSSIDer 2.0 does not show hidden SSIDs unless you are connected to the hidden network. inSSIDer 2.0 does not show the SSID of any of my 3 hidden networks unless I connect to them. Neither does Net stumbler. Yes it shows the MAC address of the hidden networks but also shows a dozen or so other networks some of which are WEP or open.

    I have personally always hidden my SSIDs and I do not have a problem with it. This is just common sense.

    If a thief is walking down the street and sees into 5 cars and one Car has a mobile phone visible inside, he will break into that Car first. Hide your SSID and it will not show up by default in a Windows scan. Of course it is no deterrent for the determined thief but it is one extra step they have to deal with, which just might make them try somewhere else first and lower your position on a list of possible targets. Reducing the risk is what it’s about.

    Of course it must not be the only security you rely on – use WPA2 & AES & MAC filtering as well. All of these will add time and effort to the would be Attacker, however small.

    In any case, it is a myth that it is easy to hack WPA networks and above. Unless you are a Linux fan with time to spend, you will find it is not that easy to hack into WPA networks and if you want to use Windows tools to do this, you will have to spend plenty of money buying the necessary AirPCAP adapters.

    The ‘experts’ would do well to time how long it takes to hack into a hidden network as opposed to a visible one and base their statements on fact rather than speculation. If it takes one minute longer because the network is hidden then hiding an SSID has some validity.

    So let’s encourage people to use every tool in their arsenal to delay an Attacker rather than dismissing clearly useful options.

  41. Amazing ignorance

    Amazing ignorance in the people commenting here that they still think hiding is a good idea. Read above on the Pineapple device at Hak5. Everytime you go to starbucks with your manually configured laptop or windows desktop, you request that home SSID of yours. You make that machien now more vulnerable. (To the poster that says their linux box “doesnt sound out anything he doesnt tell it”, sorry fool, it does. If you have it using a hidden SSID, its probing for that SSID anytime you flip on your wireless.

    You also need to think about your attackers. Your neighbor is not a concern in any capacity, if you enable WPA2 and a password.. poof, they are gone. If they want to sit there and try to manually brute force a password by typing it into windows zero config, good for them. If they are more determined, they’ll break out tools. Your average neighbor, not that determined. If it was a tech savvy neighbor that really needed wireless, he’s already going to have something like Kismet installed and will trivially get your SSID.

    As for the rest who agree that WPA2 is the “ultimate”, sure.. ultimate in ENCRYPTION for your network, that says nothing about preventing authorization and authentication to your network. You’re still talking about encryption with WPA2-PSK (“Personal mode”) that is based on a password. If you make your password insecure, it certainly may be brute forceable. Set a strong password, or take the next step and enable WPA2-EAP (“Enterprise”) with an 802.1x backend and use separate usernames and passwords for each user (or EAP-TLS and do certificate generation, short of losing your device, you’ll never have someone make up a proper certificate).

    If you move from the home to work, disabling SSID beaconing also causes problems with roaming. Instead of your client being able to scan and listen for beacons to build a roaming table, it now must probe on each channel to find available APs to roam to, more time consuming and less efficient.

    In summary, use a strong password to prevent neighbors from “double clicking” into your network. Don’t bother hiding your SSID, it does absolutely nothing else to secure you. In fact, one of the few times I’ll ever credit Microsoft with a good idea.. the posted example in this article with “Connect even if not broadcasting” prevents sniffing tools or Pineapple devices from instantly grabbing your client without you even realizing.

    So many ignorant tools on this comment thread.

  42. conga

    No, wait, covering head in tin foil WORKS. Actually, you should wear these everywhere, THEY are probing… I’ve warn you.

  43. Matupitu

    Lots of interesting views.
    As a long time user of Netstumbler I am very impressed with inSSIDer. With regards the comments by the experts who state inSSIDer does or doesn’t show hidden SSIDs, it seems both are right depending on hardware.
    Using my Compaq laptop with built in networking, inSSIDer shows ALL networks, even hidden SSIDs (in my neighbourhood 7 or more networks are usually visible including cars driving past with their SSID). Using a desktop with a linksys card, hidden SSIDs are hidden completely – no data shows up whatsoever (one network shows up). When I enable broadcasting that network will appear. InSSIDer uses what ever wireless card is available and different protocols will affect the results.
    Given my laptop experience it would seem a hidden SSID is of little use, however there will still be a lot of people for whom a hidden SSID is just that – hidden.
    Cheers

  44. Derek

    And if all those reasons are not enough for some of you I might also want to point out something that the article misses. When you do in fact hide your SSID and someone does want to get into it then it is actually sending larger packets of information. This allows for a hacker to break into your system and obtain your password faster. So for all you that still aren’t convinced.. you might want to think about that. Because if someone wants to get in then they will.

    Just thought I should throw in my two cents.

  45. GBK

    The issue of routers with a hidden SSID sending out larger packets is meaningless with WPA/WPA2. The hacker trying to access your network only needs to capture the handshake between your wireless access point and the computer successfully accessing the wireless network. They then can go about cracking the passcode through whatever means they chose.

  46. Anonymous

    His argument is completely flawed in two major ways:

    “It’s extremely easy to find the ID for a “hidden” network”

    So? It’s even easier to find broadcast networks. And if they use one of those advanced tools, you’re just as visible as the rest of the networks. So they defeated your extra measure of security; that doesn’t make you less secure by any means. A good thief can pick any lock. Doesn’t mean locking your doors is futile for security. It’s one less opportunity, and one more layer of security than nothing at all. You are still more work to break into than the next guy, so you are by definition more secure.

    “Unlike broadcast networks, wireless clients running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Server® 2003 with Service Pack 1 that are configured to connect to non-broadcast networks are constantly disclosing the SSID of those networks, even when those networks are not in range.”

    First of all this is a specific Windows security issue, (specific versions too, his claims of any versions besides what Microsoft said is completely unfounded) not all devices do this. But let’s play devil’s advocate and say they do:

    If you’re not home, this gives someone absolutely zero valuable information in a public setting. They have no idea where you live, or who you are simply by seeing SSID’s. Unless you’re being followed to your home, this is not a concern. If you’re connecting to a public network along with everyone else in that coffee shop/airport, which you probably are if you brought your computer there, this is enormously more dangerous to your security.

    (If you’re really concerned, uncheck the single checkbox to connect when hidden on your laptop for the 0.001% of the time when this would be a concern. Better than sacrificing a little extra security the other 99.999% of the time.)

    If you are home, and they have an advanced way of scanning, this is no less secure than having your SSID broadcast from the router in the first place. Instead, they must take an extra step in order to discover it, so it also therefore means more work than the next network to break into, and thus more layers of security. That said, more advanced methods don’t even concern either of these factors, as pointed out by other posters.

    His arguments are akin to saying “Anti-virus programs don’t stop all viruses, so you shouldn’t bother using Anti-Virus.” No thanks, I’ll keep the extra minimal layer of protection against the novice hackers out there, whether or not it stops more advanced ones.

  47. Annihilator

    To all those attempting to contradict the article: how EXACTLY does hiding the SSID help to secure your network ANY further once you’re already using WPA2?

  48. MrPete

    Benefit of hidden SSID on wpa2 net: most people will ignore me. Less probe traffic. Less visits from most people. Out of sight out of mind.

    Downside: I can’t be a WiFi geolocation beacon.

    For me, normally the latter trumps the former.

  49. Dadaesque

    My WPA2 has a key that is 14 alpha-numeric characters long…. how can anyone crack that?? (just curious). I would make it longer but it gets really tedious typing it into the tiny screens on iPods, etc. Is there an easier way to do it? I hesitate to send anything through an email, obviously, but especially since my Mac has somehow been an open book to local hackers since 2003. Any insights on that would also be greatly appreciated!!!

  50. Really?

    In my experience inSSIDer 2.0 does NOT show hidden networks unless the machine is joined to the wireless network. Maybe that is the source of confusion.

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