How To Secure Your Wireless Network

Summary: People have more flexible time due to wireless networks. Thanks to the invention of wireless. People can now work from home while taking care of their kids or doing house works. No more stress from traffic jams anymore. Is this great?

Well, there is something you should realize. Working from home while using a wireless local area network (WLAN) may lead to theft of sensitive information and hacker or virus infiltration unless proper measures are taken. As WLANs send information…

People have more flexible time due to wireless networks. Thanks to the invention of wireless. People can now work from home while taking care of their kids or doing house works. No more stress from traffic jams anymore. Is this great?

Well, there is something you should realize. Working from home while using a wireless local area network (WLAN) may lead to theft of sensitive information and hacker or virus infiltration unless proper measures are taken. As WLANs send information over radio waves, someone with a receiver in your area could be picking up the transmission, thus gaining access to your computer. They could load viruses onto your laptop which could be transferred to the company’s network when you go back to work.

Believe it or not! Up to 75 percent of WLAN users do not have standard security features installed, while 20 percent are left completely open as default configurations are not secured, but made for the users to have their network up and running ASAP. It is recommended that wireless router/access point setup be always done through a wired client.

You can set up your security by following these steps:

1. Change the default administrative password on the wireless router/access point to a secured password.

2. Enable at least 128-bit WEP encryption on both card and access point. Change your WEP keys periodically. If the equipment does not support at least 128-bit WEP encryption, consider replacing it. Although there are security issues with WEP, it represents the minimum level of security, and it should be enabled.

3. Change the default SSID on your router/access point to a hard-to-guess name. Setup your computer device to connect to this SSID by default.

4. Setup router/access point not to broadcast the SSID. The same SSID needs to be set up on the client-side manually. This feature may not be available on all equipment.

5. Block anonymous Internet requests or pings. On each computer having a wireless network card, network connection properties should be configured to allow connection to Access Point Networks Only. Computer to Computer (peer to peer) Connection should not be allowed.

Enable MAC filtering. Deny association to a wireless network for unspecified MAC addresses. Mac or Physical addresses are available through your computer device network connection setup and they are physically written on network cards. When adding new wireless cards/computers to the network, their MAC addresses should be registered with the router /access point. Network router should have firewall features enabled and demilitarized zone (DMZ) feature disabled.

All computers should have a properly configured personal firewall in addition to a hardware firewall. You should also update router/access point firmware when new versions become available. Locating the router/access point away from strangers is also helpful so they cannot reset the router/access point to default settings. You can even try to locate the router/access point in the middle of the building rather than near windows to limit signal coverage outside the building.

There is no guarantee of full protection of your wireless network, but following these suggested tips can definitely lessen your risk of exposure to attackers aiming at the insecure network

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