Secure Your Wireless Network in 6 Easy Steps
Wireless connection provides an easy and simple solution to sharing Internet connection, files, and printers among different computers. But, since the same signal that let's you use your laptop in your bed and in your basement office can be broadcasted down your street, it welcomes hackers and others to use, abuse, and slow down your wireless connection. So, the best way to prevent your wireless connection from being abused by hackers and others is by taking these 6 easy steps to secure your wireless network:
- Change the System ID: All devices on wireless local area network (WLAN) have a default system ID known as the SSID (Service Set Identifier) or ESSID (Extended Service Set Identifier). Similarly, wireless devices from a specific manufacturer will share the same SSID, making it easy for a hacker to figure out the default SSID for a certain network. So, you should change your SSID to something unique to make it difficult for hackers to surf your network.
- Disable Identifier Broadcasting: If you're using wireless Internet at home, you may want to disable your SSID from being broadcasted 300 feet down the street, allowing your neighbors and others to benefit of your wireless connection. This could not only slow down your connection, but it can let others view your files, spread viruses and spam while using your wireless connection.
- Use Encryption: WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) scramble the data on your wireless network, so only computers that have the encryption key can read your data. You can use the 64-bit or 128-bit WEP to encrypt your data, however WEP has some security flaws. So, it's better to opt for the WPA encryption that comes without the flaws of WEP.
- Prevent Unwanted Traffic: Most wired and wireless routers come with built-in firewalls. They may not be the most advanced firewall, but they do restrict unwanted traffic. To filter out unwanted traffic, read the manual for your hardware to learn how to configure your router to allow only approved traffic from incoming and outgoing.
- Change the Default Administrator Password: Remember to change the default password on your wireless router or access point. If you do this simple step, it will improve your wireless security and make it harder for hackers to use your wireless connection.
- Patch and Protect Your PC's: You should install personal firewall software and anti-virus software to protect your PC from hackers and malicious software. Check your anti-virus software vendors regularly for updates, to keep your computer free of spyware, adware and common computer viruses. You must also maintain patches for known security vulnerabilities. For Microsoft operating systems you can use Windows Update to update your patches.