Making a wireless network more secure

By | Feb 9, 2007

1) Set up your wireless router or access point near the center of the area that you want to cover. The closer the remote device is to the router, the stronger the signal. If you have the router near a window, it’s possible that a person in the parking lot could have a better signal that the office at the end of the hall. There are folks who travel around looking for a clear un-secured wireless system to attach them selves and like a vampire suck the bandwidth away.

2) Change the default Administrator username and password. The default Administrator username and password can easily be found doing a simple search on the Internet and readily known by hackers. Having these changed will prevent unauthorized changes to the settings of the router that you establish.

3) Enable firewall on the router as well as the computers. Most will have it turned on as default, but it’s always best to be certain.

4) Turn encryption ON. There are several wireless encryption schemes and you may need to determine which one is used by all of the devices that are going to be put on the network. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) are the most common. WPA is stronger than WEB. Some older equipment may not have WPA and you may need to use WEB.

5) Change the SSID. Access Points and Routers have a network name known as the SSID. Manufactures will ship their products with the same SSID. You should also change this name. Even though a hacker can’t change anything in the device simply by knowing this name. They will use this as a point to located a network. When they see a default, their assumption is that the network poorly configured and may attack it.

6) Disable Auto-connect. You want to be certain that your laptop wireless is not set up to auto connect to open wireless networks. With auto-connect turned on, when it detects a network it will attach itself to it. A hacker may have set up this network to download a worm or trojan horse onto the system.


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