The service set identifier (SSID) is a one- to 32-character alphanumeric string that is used to identify a wireless network. It is also referred to as the network name. Many companies ship routers for wireless networks with default SSIDs such as "wireless," "tsunami," "xfinitywifi," and other similar common names. By default, these routers broadcast the SSID within the radius of their signal strength.

SSIDs provide a useful way to connect to wireless adapters but are not strong in security. SSIDs are continually broadcast by access points several times a second, and malicious actors can sniff this name in plaintext format.

Although there are options available, such as SSID hiding to disable the broadcast feature, many cybersecurity experts disagree on whether the practice is more secure. Hiding SSIDs is inconvenient for users, since user computers and devices can continuously ping to find the router. This makes these routers more vulnerable against sniffing attacks.

Wireless users should use stronger forms of encryption, such as WPA2 encryption, and strong network keys in order to maintain a more secure wireless network connection.


Heddings, L. (2014, August 15). Debunking myths: Is hiding your wireless SSID really more secure [Blog post].

Scolamiero, J. (2004, April 20). Securing your wireless access point: What do all those settings mean anyways?