February 24, 2011 Leave a comment
As more and more people look at wireless technologies for the ease and convenience of setting up their home or office network, they don’t always remember or know that there are steps they need to take to make certain that their network is secure from outside intrusion. Practices like piggybacking (connecting to a wireless network, such as your neighbors, and using that Internet connection without the owner’s knowledge) and war driving (the act of searching for a wireless network from a vehicle) are becoming increasingly more popular.
Today there are numerous wireless routers currently available on the market. With that being said, you should choose to make several changes per your user manual that came with your wireless router. Don’t have the user manual? No problem, just Google your wireless router and there is a good chance you will find it online.
The following are a few things to consider:
- Change your router’s password – By default, many wireless routers come pre-configured with a default Admin username and password for ease of setup. Because these defaults are widely known it is easy for an individual to log into your router without your knowledge.
- Disable Identifier Broadcasting – In an open wireless area, such as a local coffee shop, it is necessary to have your wireless router broadcast its presence so users can easily connect to it. In a home or office environment, you are the only one that needs to know you have a wireless network setup. Disabling this feature will make it harder for someone to “discover” your wireless network.
- Enable MAC Authentication – Every device you attempt to connect to your wireless network has its own unique MAC (Media Access Control) address. Using Mac Authentication allows you to control who can access your wireless network.
- Use WEP or WPA Encryption - WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) allow you to encrypt information sent between wireless devices. If your equipment supports both standards, it is preferable to use the more secure WPA feature.
- Rename your SSID - By default, many wireless routers come pre-configured with a default SSID/ESSID. If possible, change your default SSID/ESSID to make it more difficult for someone to guess and gain access to your network.
- Firewalls and Anti-virus - Even if you do not have a wireless network, it is always a good idea to have an up-to-date Firewall (software and/or hardware based) and anti-virus software running on your computers and network.
- File Sharing - If you do not need to share files over your network, you should consider disabling file sharing on your computer. If you need to share files over your network, look at creating a dedicated folder for storing those files and share out only that folder, not your entire hard drive. If possible, passwords protect your shared folders/files for added protection.