5 Important Steps To Secure Your Wireless Network


Wireless networks make browsing the Internet easy, simple and convenient. Unfortunately, without the right security, they can also make stealing your personal data equally as easy, simple and convenient…

The Risk Of Unprotected Wi-Fi

Leaving your wireless network unsecured is like leaving your front door open 24/7—you don’t know who can come in and snoop around, especially if you live in an apartment or in the city. Someone whoconnects to your network will be able to see the all data that goes through it. And, of course, you don't want anyone hogging all of your bandwidth and slowing your connection as a result.

Securing your network doesn't have to be difficult, however, and it can take as little time as reading this article. The only special knowledge you'll need is how to access your wireless router at the router's IP address,which your service provider can give to you. These options, which usually appear on the Wireless settings page in your router, will make your network safer and more secure.

SEE ALSO: Beginners Guide To Wireless Routers

Top Five Tips For Secure WiFi:

  1. Use WPA Or WPA2 PSK, Not WEP: Many routers, especially older models, will present you with two kinds of protocols you can use: Web Encryption Protocol (WEP), and Wi-Fi Protected Access Pre-Shared Key (WPA-PSK). WEP is famously insecure, and it can be bypassed in 60 seconds. Always use WPA or WPA2; it is the modern protocol, and many newer routers won't even give you the option of using WEP.
  2. Set A Good WPA Password: Using a WPA or WPA2 encryption is the most important part of securing your network. But even WPA encryption is useless if a hacker knows your password. Every hacker knows that themost commonly used passwords are "123456" and "password", and it is easy to use software to break others. A longer, more complicated password will be almost impossible to guess. The best thing you can do is create a random password, using letters and numbers. It might be harder to remember, but you can write it on the bottom of your router; (if a hacker can see the bottom of your router, you may have security problems with your house, not just your network).
  3. Disable SSID Broadcast: When you click on your wireless adapter and see a list of available networks, you're seeing SSIDs. Disabling SSID broadcast in your router will make your network name disappear, so that someone will need to know it in order to connect. It won't make your network completely invisible to people who have the right tools, but it will make it harder to find.
  4. Use MAC Filtering: Every device that can connect to a network has a unique ID, called a MAC (Media Access Control) address. It is possible to only allow known MAC addresses to connect to your network. This means only computers and devices you explicitly allow will be able to connect—think of a bouncer at a club, turning people away if they're not on the list. This is more time consuming and involves more work, but it will add another level of security if used with the other techniques in this article.
  5. Use a Firewall: A firewall is a program that automatically protects your computer and your network from most attacks. Newer routers should have a firewall built-in. If you do not have a firewall on your router, be sure to have one on your computer.

Securing your network is no good if someone is able to attack your computer remotely. Setting up a good firewall will help protect your computer and keep your data safe.

SEE ALSO: 5 Best Entry Level Wi-Fi Routers 2014

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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