Securing a Wireless Network in Your Home
Setting up a wireless network in you home has become so easy that many users install the hardware and begin using the system without considering security. This can leave all the computers attached to your home network vulnerable to criminals who would love to get your credit card number, your bank account number, or any other secrets you may have saved on your computers.
By following the tips below, you can make your home network more secure:
1. Secure your router's administration interface
Almost all routers have an administrator's password that is needed to log into the device and modify its configuration. Usually, the router manufacturer will set a default password for the administrator. This password is usually weak, like "password", or the manufacturer's name. Your first step should be to change this password. Use at least eight characters which include numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and special characters, i.e. $, %, &, etc., to create a "strong" password. Be sure to remember this password as it will be needed to change configuration settings of the router in the future.
2. Don't broadcast your SSID
Most routers are configured to broadcast the name of its network, or Service Set IDentifier (SSID). You do not need this feature enabled in your home network because the users of your network are fully aware that the access is available to them. By disabling the SSID broadcast, you will make your wireless network invisible to your neighbors and passersby, thus minimizing their opportunity to access your network.
3. Enable WPA encryption instead of WEP encryption
Most wireless routers will come with a suite of security tools used to encrypt data that is passing (in the air) between computers on the network. WEP, or "Wired Equivalent Privacy", was the first of these tools. WEP has some very widely known vulnerabilities among the hacker community. Most newer wireless routers will come with WPA, or "Wi-Fi Protected Access". WPA offers much stronger protection and its weaknesses have not been exploited nearly as much as WEP. Again, remember when entering the encryption key, to use a strong key (or password).