10 Wake-on-LAN Security Best Practices

Wake-on-LAN (WoL) is a great tool for remotely powering on computers, but it can also be a security risk. Here are 10 best practices for securing WoL.

Wake-on-LAN (WoL) is a technology that allows a computer to be powered on remotely over a network. It is a useful tool for IT administrators who need to access computers remotely, but it can also be a security risk if not properly configured.

In this article, we will discuss 10 best practices for securing Wake-on-LAN. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your network is secure and that your computers are not vulnerable to malicious actors.

1. Use a VPN

A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the remote server, which means that all of your data is secure. This prevents hackers from intercepting any sensitive information you may be sending or receiving over the internet.

Additionally, a VPN can help protect against man-in-the-middle attacks, where someone attempts to gain access to your system by pretending to be the legitimate user. By using a VPN, you can ensure that only authorized users are able to access your network.

Finally, a VPN also helps protect against malicious actors who might try to use wake-on-LAN packets to gain access to your system. With a VPN in place, these types of attacks become much more difficult to execute.

2. Don’t use WOL for sensitive tasks

WOL is a convenient way to remotely power on computers, but it’s not secure. WOL packets are sent over the network in plain text and can be intercepted by malicious actors. This means that if you use WOL for sensitive tasks, such as accessing confidential data or logging into an online banking account, your information could be compromised.

Therefore, it’s best to avoid using WOL for any task that requires authentication or involves sensitive data. If you must use WOL for these types of tasks, make sure to take additional security measures, such as encrypting the traffic or using a VPN.

3. Limit access to the network port used by WoL

By limiting access to the port, you can ensure that only authorized users are able to send WoL packets. This helps prevent malicious actors from sending WoL packets and potentially gaining access to your network or systems.

To limit access to the port, you should configure your firewall to allow only specific IP addresses to send WoL packets. You can also use a VPN connection to further secure the port by encrypting all traffic sent over it. Additionally, you should consider using an authentication system such as RADIUS or TACACS+ to authenticate users before allowing them to send WoL packets.

4. Disable Wake-on-LAN in your BIOS settings

When Wake-on-LAN is enabled, it allows a computer to be remotely powered on by sending a special network packet. This means that anyone with access to the local area network can potentially power on your computer without your knowledge or permission.

Disabling Wake-on-LAN in your BIOS settings will prevent this from happening and help keep your system secure. It’s also important to note that some computers may have Wake-on-LAN enabled by default, so make sure you check your BIOS settings before assuming it’s disabled.

5. Enable MAC address filtering on your router

MAC address filtering allows you to specify which devices are allowed to access your network. This means that only the computers with MAC addresses that have been whitelisted can send wake-on-LAN packets and turn on other machines in the network.

This is an important security measure because it prevents malicious actors from sending wake-on-LAN packets to your network, as they would not be able to spoof a valid MAC address. It also helps protect against accidental wake-on-LAN requests, such as those sent by misconfigured applications or scripts.

6. Set up a static IP address and DHCP reservation

When a computer is powered off, it’s not assigned an IP address. This means that if someone were to try and access the machine remotely, they wouldn’t be able to find it. By setting up a static IP address and DHCP reservation, you can ensure that your computer will always have the same IP address, even when it’s powered off. This makes it much harder for malicious actors to gain access to your system.

Additionally, by using a static IP address, you can also set up port forwarding rules on your router to further secure your network. This way, only specific ports are open and accessible from outside of your network, making it more difficult for attackers to gain access.

7. Use a third-party tool like SolarWinds Wake-On-LAN

SolarWinds Wake-On-LAN is a powerful tool that allows you to remotely wake up computers on your network. It also provides additional security features, such as the ability to set up authentication and encryption for remote access. This ensures that only authorized users can access the system, and that all data sent over the network is secure.

Additionally, SolarWinds Wake-On-LAN includes an audit log feature which records all activity related to the use of the tool. This helps ensure that any suspicious activity is quickly identified and addressed.

8. Use strong passwords

Wake-on-LAN is a feature that allows you to remotely turn on your computer from anywhere in the world. This means that if someone were to gain access to your password, they could potentially take control of your computer and use it for malicious purposes.

To prevent this from happening, make sure to use strong passwords with at least 8 characters, including upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Additionally, avoid using common words or phrases as passwords, as these are easily guessed by hackers. Finally, be sure to change your password regularly to ensure maximum security.

9. Implement two-factor authentication (2FA)

2FA adds an extra layer of security to your wake-on-LAN setup by requiring users to provide two pieces of information before they can access the system. This could be a combination of something they know (like a password) and something they have (like a physical token or smartphone).

By implementing 2FA, you can ensure that only authorized users are able to access your network, even if their credentials are compromised. Additionally, it helps protect against malicious actors who may try to use wake-on-LAN to gain unauthorized access to your systems.

10. Monitor your network with Network Performance Monitor

Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is a powerful network monitoring tool that can help you detect and respond to any suspicious activity on your network.

With NPM, you can monitor the performance of all devices connected to your network, including those with wake-on-LAN enabled. This allows you to quickly identify any unauthorized access attempts or malicious activities. You can also set up alerts so that you are notified immediately if something unusual happens.

By using Network Performance Monitor, you can ensure that your network remains secure and that any potential threats are identified and addressed quickly.


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