WiFi connections are all around and at any given time in a busy city you will see a long list of connections. This list will also have the majority of the connections secure. Using an unsecure network for your home or office is dangerous to all users and can be equated to leaving your front door open all night long. Ask yourself, would you be able to sleep easy knowing your front door is wide open all night long? Securing your WiFi should be the same thought as locking up for the night. These simple precautions will help you to secure your wireless connection from intruders.
1. Encrypt Your Connection
From the minute you set up your WiFi you need to secure your connection. When setting up your network make sure you pay close attention to the security options. The network installation process will prompt you to select WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) or WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access II). Although both are made to secure your network, WPA2 is the better choice. WEP has major security vulnerabilities which will expose your wireless network and information to intruders. WPA 2 uses the Advanced Encryption Standard to encrypt any data floating through the network.
2. Change SSID Name
SSID (Service Set identifier) refers to the name of your wireless network such as “RedOrumOffice” or “XYZOffice”. During the initial setup of your wireless router the SSID is factory set and will be generic. A generic SSID name is inviting to an intruder trying to gain access because the network appears to be unattended to and less secure than others with custom names. This simple method may deter an intruder looking to access your network. The intruder will most likely skip over your connection looking for something less secure.
3. Change Passwords Often
When setting up a wireless network choosing a secure password is important. Most of the routers on the market will be using a default password which can be easily found online. When choosing a password use a mix of letters, characters, and numbers in a random sequence. The more random the sequence is, the tougher it is for an intruder to crack the password. There are password generating websites such as Norton and Random.org. These sites will help you by creating a truly random password of symbols, letters (upper and lower case), and numbers. If you prefer to create your own password it is a good idea to use websites such as passwordmeter.com to check the strength of your password.
4. Filter MAC Addresses
A MAC (Media Access Control) address has nothing to do with the Apple Mac. Each wireless device, including tablets and smart phones, has a unique MAC address. For example, a MAC address would follow the format: “00-14-22-01-23-45”. This concept is similar to an IP address giving each computer connected to the router a unique identifying number. Filtering MAC addresses is an effective solution for making your wireless network more secure. This method of security is similar to a bouncer outside of a nightclub with a guest list. Once you find the MAC address numbers for the devices you allow to connect, input these unique identification numbers into the network administration. The router will only allow these devices to connect and reject any outside devices trying to connect.
5. Disable Remote Login
Although remote login makes it convenient when you are away from your router, this is a popular way for an intruder to gain access when first pursuing a way into your wireless network. A recently purchased router out of the box usually has this method disabled as a factory setting. As a safeguard, double check the admin settings of the router to ensure this setting is disabled.
By taking these precautions you will have made your wireless network a whole lot safer.