Securing Your Wireless Network

router-157597_640More and more people are choosing to work from home. Some are telecommuters; others start a home business. Either way, the advantages are many. Some of the advantages include flexible schedule, avoiding the rush hour traffic, spending more time with the family. One thing in common is these people need a home office. And even people with regular jobs are using home offices to organize their family.

But as more and more important and sensitive data goes into the computer, the need to secure them is greater. And because of convenience, wireless networks are popping up everywhere. There are people out there who do nothing but take advantage of the large number of wireless networks. It is so easy to gain access to a wireless network without the owners’ knowing anything has happened.

Some of these people just want to steal your bandwidth, but others are looking for ways to profit. Some of them want to rob you electronically or even commit identity theft. Others are looking for information about your household so they can break in. Some might even be looking for proprietary business information to sell.

Since most people are not technically incline, they just take things out of the box and turn them on. Unfortunately, these default settings are not as secure as they can be. Good hackers know how to take advantage of them.

Here are some general guidelines that should work for most vendors:

  1. Setup the wireless router point via a wired client. Make sure you disable administration over WiFi.
  2. Always change the default password to login in to the router. Pick something difficult for someone to guess.
  3. Enable WPA2 Private key with AES encryption. Use a long and complex passphrase.
  4. Alter the default SSID on the router.
  5. Setup your access point not to broadcast the SSID if possible. You will have to manually set clients to connect to the SSID.
  6. Block anonymous internet requests and pings.
  7. Disable P2P Connections.
  8. Enable MAC filtering. This will actually take more work on your part. You will have to login to the router and add the MAC address anytime you want to connect a new device.
  9. Enable firewall on the network router and disable the demilitarized zone (DMZ) function.
  10. Check for updates of the firmware on your router regularly, and apply them. This is the step most often skipped.
  11. Make sure the physical router is hidden so that a visitor can’t reset the settings.
  12. Place the router near the middle of the establishment as opposed to near windows. This limits others outside from receiving the signals.

Something I tell all users is that security is the opposite of usability. Everything you do to make a system more secure, you are making it a little harder to use. The trick is to find the right balance between usability and security. And while some of these things may seem like too much of a pain at first, after a while they will become second nature.

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