10 Tips for WiFi Security
Your wireless network opens up a lot of different possible attacks compared to a wired network. Don't worry though, I will share with you the tips that will secure your wireless network.
Security is a "system" and that is why you should consider combining these tips mentioned in this article rather than choosing the easiest one to implement.
Let's start with three basic "no-brainers" that you must do when you first turn on your wireless router:
1.) Change the Default Administrator Username and Password
The main device on your network is your access point or router. This device provides a local web page where you can login and configure the device. All manufacturers have similar username and passwords. Hackers know this and will attempt these basic username and passwords on your router. Some common usernames are: admin and administrator. Some passwords: (blank password), password and admin.
2.) Change your SSID
The SSID is the wireless network name of the access point or router. Most manufacturers ship these devices with the same SSID. This network name is visible by anyone in range and gives away the make of the router. When you change the SSID, don't change it to anything that will give you away to your neighbors. In other words, don't use your last name like "Smith's Network". I personally use the SSID of "-_-Zzz".
3.) Use a strong Encryption
Don't use WEP!!! Anyone can download a simple program and crack your WEP encryption key in minutes. Instead use WPA or WPA2. This type of encryption will secure your wireless network more than WEP. As soon as a stronger encryption method is available, you should change to that standard.
After those 3 basic tips, I recommend these next tips for your WiFi security......
4.) Don't broadcast your SSID
If you suspect that your Wi-Fi network will likely be a target to hackers, then I recommend you configure your router to not broadcast your SSID. This means you will pre-configure your wireless devices with the SSID and Network Key and then configure the setting on your router. When someone tries to search for a wireless network in range, yours will simply not show up. Your SSID network name would be on "stealth mode". Some sophisticated hackers can still figure out the hidden SSID. But this tip along with the others I mention in this article will definitely help your overall WiFi security.
5.) Enable MAC Address filtering
This feature in any router will allow you to configure the MAC addresses of devices you want to allow access to your network. With this feature turned on, you won't be a target of amateur hackers who are looking for the easy challenge. Think of the thief that steals from the car that has the window down instead of the car next to it with the unlocked door. The thief doesn't know the door is unlocked, he just sees the opportunity of the window being down.
6.) Don't over-share your wireless
The more laptops and desktops connect to your wireless access point then the slower your Internet speed. Your Internet connection speed is split between all computers. So this means if your neighbors and unauthorized users use your wireless Internet without your knowledge, then you will be calling your ISP for a lot of slow speed issues.
7.) Change your passwords regularly.
Change your WPA passphrase and computer login credentials about every 3 months. This makes it harder for anyone who is trying a malicious attack on your network and computers. If a hacker already has access to your network or computer, then your new credentials will stop their access.
8.) Always have an antivirus and firewall running.
Your computers antivirus can detect and block any malicious malware and viruses that can allow access to a hacker remotely. These programs can act as back doors and rootkits which give remote access to a hacker without your knowledge. Windows XP, Vista and 7 all bring their own firewall. Also turn on the built-in firewall feature on your router to block any intruders before they reach your actual computer.
9.) Turn DHCP off.
Your router is using DHCP to dynamically assign the IP settings to all devices on your network. This is a great feature that could save you time from assigning lots of IPs manually in a big network. However, in your home network there aren't that many devices and you can easily turn DHCP off and configure all your network devices with static IPs. This ensures that hackers can't just connect and grab your network's IP settings. This presents another hoop for a hacker to jump over and would likely result in the hacker giving up and moving onto another "easier" network to hack.
10.) Check your routers DHCP lease pool.
If DHCP is left on, you can check a table in the router's interface that shows what devices are currently connected to it. This table usually shows the computer name, IP address and MAC address of the device that connected. You can quickly recognize a device that has unauthorized access and take action by changing your security settings and encryption method.
Like I said earlier, try to remember this important concept "Security is a system". A lot of different features come together to create one secure system and this article on WiFi security will help you secure your wireless network.
Go to the next section and learn the OSI Model of computer networking.....
Part 3.) Tips for securing your wireless network at home or business (You are here)
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