Do you take it for granted that your wireless network is secure? Don’t make that assumption.
Wireless routers present dangers. Your router is vulnerable to hackers and, hence, security issues.
If you’re really serious about security, WIFI might not be for you. A wired network might be more desirable.
Admittedly what follows isn’t a comprehensive, sure-fire set of strategies; however, there are ways to enhance your chances for a secure wireless network.
Here are eight recommended security steps:
1. Change your default password.
It’s easy for hackers to learn your default password. Router vendors’ passwords are widely available to them. When you launch your wireless system, change the router’s default password. If your system is operating buy you haven’t changed the password, do it now.
2. Use WPA2 encryption, not the old WEP encryption.
It’s important to encrypt your system to prevent nosy parties from observing your activities. But WPA2 provides better security than WEP.
3. Use a sophisticated passphrase.
Don’t use a passphrase that can be easily hacked. Your passphrase should have at least two dozen characters — upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
4. Don’t use ordinary SSID names.
SSID, or service set identification, is a name that identifies your wireless network. SSID is a weak form security.
Some IT people mistakenly think all they need to do is turn off SSID broadcasting. If you have an IT person, don’t let the person make this mistake. Hackers know how to render the action as useless.
So change the default SSID along with the passphrase to make it more difficult for hackers.
5. Disable your WPS, or WIFI protected setup.
WPS is a an eight-digit PIN number that’s on the device’s back label. WPS is supposed to be a convenient way to add computers to the network.
But it’s vulnerable and hackers can snare your passphrase to do their dirty deeds.
6. Don’t use MAC address filters.
MAC, or media access control, is an identifier for WIFI devices and ethernet ports. It’s designed to filter out wrong MAC addresses.
But its effectiveness is questionable. It’s often inconvenient because it’s easy to misconfigure, especially if you have a lot of devices.
7. Don’t allow administrative access.
Otherwise, you’ll make it easier for an outside hacker to mess with your WIFI router.
Instead, use a computer in your network to make any necessary changes to your wireless system.
8. For customers and vendors, consider a guest network.
If you feel you want to make wireless available to visiting customers or vendors, don’t give them your passphrase.
Instead, under a second SSID, set up a separate wireless network. You’ll be able to disable or periodically change it’s passphrase without impacting your company’s devices.
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“It’s like the Wild West, the Internet. There are no rules.”