A link to this article was sent to me by one of the gals at Wireless Internet Reviews suggesting that you, my readers, would be interested in the information. I think she’s right, and this is an issue that many of you fail to address so here it is…
Threats to your wireless networks are numerous and varied, and so protecting it requires a number of different safeguards as well. In this article, we’ll discuss what those threats are, and ten specific steps you can take to secure your wireless network:
- WPA2 encryption – Wireless Protected Access (2nd generation) is the preferred method – vs. the older WPA and WEP (Wireless Encryption Protocol) – for securing your network. Encryption is the encoding – or scrambling – of your data between the router and your PC, to avoid it being captured by others. Only PC’s with the proper WPA2 security password will be able to decode the data. Set your router to Enable Encryption, and select WPA2.
- Admin Password – Every router manufacturer has a configuration web page which the user can access to change default settings of their router. The Admin password is also a default setting, which is commonly known to hackers. You need to change it to your own password when you first access the web page.
- SSID – Your SSID, or Service Set Identifier is also preset from the factory and ought to be changed in order to discourage attacks on your network.
- MAC Address Filtering – Every PC has its own MAC address, which can be found via the Command prompt and typing in: ipconfig/all , then Enter. By selecting MAC Address filtering, only PC’s with authorized MAC addresses may access your network. You can enable it at the manufacturer’s website, and add your network’s authorized MAC addresses there as well.
- Firewall – Apart from your router’s built-in firewall, which only prevents access to your PC, you will need firewall protection for each individual PC on your network.
- Range Limit – Determine how much coverage area your network requires, then select your router accordingly, and position it such that the signal stays within that range. Some routers also provide the option of reducing its transmitting power.
- Anti WiFi Paint – A paint has been developed that contains certain chemicals that effectively block radio signals. It can be applied to your walls to restrict access to your wireless network.
- Disable Remote Administration – Ensure that your router is set to disable remote administration. This will require you to perform any configuration of the network via a wired connection, but it will also prevent hackers from gaining administrative control of your network.
- Turn off SSID Broadcasting – This will render your network invisible to nearby PC’s and, therefore, unable to access it.
- Assign Static IP Addresses to your network’s PC’s. This can seem like a tedious, even counter-intuitive step. Although using dynamic IP addresses seems like it would create a moving target for unwanted visitors, the truth is that they can often find these addresses in your DHCP pool. It’s better to select a private range of IP addresses and assign one to each PC.
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