How to Secure Your Wireless Network

How to Secure Your Wireless Network
  • Opening Intro -

    If you’re using an unsecured or insufficiently secured wireless network, your information is still at risk.

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It’s important to learn how to secure your wireless network to protect your private information and avoid hacking attacks.

Use Cables Where You Can

Wireless networks provide mobility and flexibility, but wired networks are by their very nature more secure. It’s much harder for someone to physically connect to a router inside your home or business than to piggyback on your unsecured wireless signal from across the street.

Use wired connections when possible, but first think about where and how you use your devices and whether wired or wireless connections make the most sense for you.

Wireless Security

If you’ve determined that a wireless network can keep everyone in your home or office connected, next think about.

Proper security for a wireless network starts with setting it up correctly from the beginning.

If you didn’t pay very much attention to securing your network when you first set up your router, you can go back and secure it now:

  • Change your router and network name (SSID):

    When you click to display the available networks, do you notice any “brand-name” networks—generic names of router brands? That’s because the routers’ owners didn’t bother to change their routers’ names when they set up their networks.

    Hackers know the names routers have when they first come out of the box, so once you connect, change the router and network names. You can also turn off broadcasting for your network so that its name won’t show up on lists of available networks on your neighbors’ devices.

  • Change the network password:

    Routers come with standard passwords such as “admin.” As soon as you’re connected, change the password. Use a strong one with a longer mix (at least 16 characters) of letters, numbers, and symbols.

  • Activate WPA2 encryption:

    Your setup instructions will give you options for what type of encryption to use. Choose WPA2, which is the strongest encryption currently available until WPA3 becomes standard.

  • Turn off WPS:

    Your router may have a button that allows devices such as phones and game consoles to easily connect. Turn it off: WPS is a convenient backdoor for hackers.

    You’ll have to connect other devices to the network using your router’s administrative functions or the connection protocol of the device itself.

  • Set Up a VPN:

    Virtual private networks add a layer of protection to your wireless network by cloaking your activity so that no one can see what you’re doing online.

    Shop around—you may find free VPN apps or a VPN that comes as part of a more comprehensive security package that includes virus and malware protection.

other valuable tips:
  • Disable Network Sharing:

    Anyone on your network can see and access files when network sharing is enabled, so if a hacker gains access, they can dig deep into your information. Disable this feature.

  • Turn on the Firewall:

    Most routers will have a firewall installed, but you can also turn it on in your router’s administer console. Firewalls block incoming Internet connections or traffic that shouldn’t penetrate your network.

These tips provide a good start for securing your wireless network. As you become more familiar with your router’s administrative features, you’ll learn additional, more sophisticated methods of securing your network.

Image Credit: wireless network by twenty20

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