Q. I’m using MAC filtering on my wireless access point. Do I still need to use encryption?

A. Absolutely yes! MAC filtering essentially allows you to tell your wireless access point to allow only machines with specific MAC addresses to connect, like a bouncer at a club with the list of attractive people who can enter the club. If your name isn't on the list, you can’t get in, and if your computer's MAC address isn't in the filter list of the wireless access point, you can’t connect.

MAC filtering makes it harder for users to connect to your wireless network if their MAC isn't in the filter list and this measure will stop casual attempts to jump on a free network. However, you can fake a MAC address, so MAC filtering on its own will not protect your wireless network. Nor will it stop equipment that can sniff your wireless data. This means you should still use the highest encryption that is supported by your wireless access points and your clients to give yourself and your organization the highest level of protection.

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