Wireless Security for Your Home Network

by Barbara J. Feldman on January 7, 2008

Having a wireless setup is definitely advantageous in many ways and undoubtedly convenient. With a wireless home network you are allowed the flexibility and freedom of movement and from cord clutter that before may have been an issue for you. Unfortunately, as with many new innovations, having a wireless connection carries with it unique risks, and you will need to take action in order to minimize those risks and threats to security. Below are some of the most common things that you will need to address regarding the wireless security for your home network.

Change your default passwords — The first thing that you should do after setting up your wireless router or access point is to change the default password set up by the administrator to something else. These administrator default passwords are known by those who would look for an opportunity to hack into your wireless system, and failure on your part to change them and make them more difficult to guess can result in allowing unknown parties to have access not only to your wireless connection but also access to information that you have on your computer and increased vulnerability to viruses.

Enable encryption — Encryption technology is a feature that scrambles your sent information while it is in transit so that anyone hoping to take a peek at your personal messages will not be able to make sense of the message being sent. Some types of encryption are better than others but the type of encryption that you may ultimately end up with will have a lot to do with what is compatible with your system. If WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption is a compatible option that is that best one to choose. If not WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) is an acceptable second choice. Obviously some encryption is better than none at all.

Reduce transmitter power and turn off SSID broadcast — Just a few of the dangers that wireless networks present are the dangers that are inherent with having a system that does not have any visual boundaries. With wireless networks you can be transmitting power from your router as far as your neighbor’s house or even to the street and not be aware of it. You can however reduce your transmitter power until it just barely meets the parameters of your home. Placing your router in a centralized location of your home is also a good idea. The SSID broadcast is another invisible risk that you should address. Your router is automatically and continually broadcasting your wireless network’s SSID (Service Set Identifier). This means that your specific wireless network provider is visible to any other wireless system that is within range of the signal. Simply turning off the broadcast will make it invisible to neighbors and others who might pass by the signal.

Disable remote administration — Most wireless network routers have the ability to be remotely administered via the Internet. Although this may be convenient if you are a traveler, this option makes it possible for any one to potentially gain access to your router. Unless you need to be using this feature it is best to turn it off. Sometimes you will find that the remote administration feature is automatically disabled. But it is always wise to double check. Additionally if you are going to be away from your computer and wireless network for any long period of time, it is safest to simply turn off the system entirely. Of course you should not worry about disabling your system every time you will not need to be using it immediately (such as every day or two).

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Wireless Security for Your Home Network." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 7 Jan. 2008. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1268/wireless-security-for-your-home-network/ >.