Let’s face it, we have all (or at least I have) jumped onto an unprotected WI-Fi network. When I was in college, I even considered knocking on my neighbors door (whose network was secure) to ask if they wanted to share a network and split the cost, but what would the dangers of that had been? And what are the dangers of not having your own network secure? Well, for starters, my neighbors could have been wrongfully accused of things if I were looking at or doing illegal things online, (I wasn’t and don’t), but if I had, the feds could have knocked on their door one day, like when this guy got busted for downloading images he hadn’t downloaded.
Also, unprotected wireless networks, also set you up for vulnerabilities on your computers. Your files could be stolen, or your private info (such as bank information, passwords, etc.) could be stolen as well.
The only way to protect yourself from this happening, is to secure your wireless network. Follow these steps and you should be all set.
1. Open your router settings. This is typically done by typing “192.168.1.1” into your browser.
Once the page loads, you will need to login to the admin settings, the generic login/password is different depending on the router brand that you are using, so check out the directions manual that came with the router to determine yours. The most common defaults are admin / password.
2. Change your router password. This is the password that we just talked about. (10 Tips for Choosing a Safe Password) If you forget to change this, your network is still accessible. Anyone can login to your router and change your settings. This is a step that many forget to do, but it is definitely one of the most important.
3. Next, change the name of your wireless network. Do not name the network after the router aka Belkin. Also, do not use your own name, home address or other personal information when naming your network. You can name your network something funny or just something easy to remember, either way, it’s not that important, but it just let’s you and others know what network they are connecting to.
4. Encrypt Your Wireless Signal: Network encryption is important. It prevents other computers in your area from using your wireless signal. The newest form of encryption is called WPA2, use this if you have the option, otherwise WPA will suffice. (WEP is the older, less secure version: i.e very easy to hack, stay away from WEP if at all possible) Choose a password that is up to 14 characters long, a combination of letters and numbers.
5. Make sure your router’s firmware is up-to-date. Possible security flaws will be easily avoided if your routers firmware is current.
Any other recommendations for securing a wireless network? Leave them below in the comments! And as always, be sure to share this article with all of your friends on Facebook and Twitter!