Broadband – Securing your Wi-fi

Wireless networking is now common place, with many ISP’s providing cheap broadband that include a wireless hub as standard. Wireless broadband users enjoy the freedom of being able to surf the internet from any location in their house, from lounging on the sofa to the extreme of ‘surfing’ on the lavatory (handy if you can’t pull yourself away from an online poker tournament!)

Wi-fi can be set up in minutes and it has proved a household luxury that many would not choose to be without.

The average wireless hub is designed to suit the home computing market, so ease of use is a main priority. Most wi-fi products now come ready-to-use, straight out of the box; whilst this is great for the average computer user; the problem is that many won’t know how to secure a wireless network.

An unsecured network means that you are at risk from others accessing your network. This could result in either someone close by making use of your internet for free or at worst they could glean information from your wi-fi signal and possibly obtain valuable, personal data.

Steps to Secure your Network

Change your Admin Password on your Wireless Router
Manufacturers ship their wireless broadband routers with a default password for initial access. Once you have your wi-fi up and running, the first thing you should do is change your password. To do this, you will need to log in to the router. Your ISP should provide you the instructions on how to do this.

Turn Off SSID Broadcasting
Your wireless LAN will continuously broadcast your network name, or SSID (Service Set Identifier). This makes it convenient when connecting to your LAN, because you don’t have to know you network name, but this will also make your network visible to anyone within your network range. If you turn off SSID broadcasting, this will make you invisible to your neighbours and anyone else who might happen to be passing by.

Change WEP for WPA
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) establishes security by encrypting data transmitted over the wireless computer network. The problem with WEP is that it’s a weak form of security that uses a common 60 or 108 bit key that is shared among all the devices on the network to encrypt the wireless data. Hackers are bale to crack WEP keys with the help of software that is readily available on the internet.
WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is an improvement over WEP as it provides strong data protection by using 128-bit encryption keys and dynamic session keys that help guarantee stronger privacy and security.

Install a Firewall
A firewall acts as a barrier from the outside world that either blocks or allows information to pass through to your computer.

It only takes a small amount of time and a little amount of knowledge to ensure that your wireless broadband connection is secure.