Read these 14 Wireless Security Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Wireless tips and hundreds of other topics.
There are several basic steps that everyone should do to help ensure wireless network security. When configuring your network, change the default names on the computers and set the SSID not to broadcast. Use wired equivalent privacy (WEP) encryption at a minimum. Change all default passwords for software and hardware. Finally, make sure to run antivirus software and antispyware software on all your computers.
You should only run one firewall on your network. This is true for both office and wireless home network security. If you run additional firewalls, you run the risk of conflicts. However, for wireless security, you can run one hardware firewall and one software firewall. For example, you can use a wireless router for the hardware firewall and firewall software on the computer.
VPN stands for virtual private network, and is another wireless security measure used. VPN's encrypt information as it is sent via the wireless network. VPN software must be installed on individual computers, and in order to connect to the network, a username and password is required. When used properly, VPN's drastically increase wireless security and is a great security tool if you are connecting to a wireless home network from a public hot spot.
Wireless network security is important. Always make sure to require a password from users connecting to your computer. Be careful about what folders you allow others to have access to. You can also set passwords on specific folders to further increase security.
Remember that your wireless home network is broadcast via radio waves, and can be accessible to anyone with range. If you do not set a password on your ad hoc network, then anyone within range can access the network. For this reason, it is crucial to set a password to protect your systems and to increase your wireless network security.
All devices on a wireless network have a MAC (media access control) address. This is a unique identification number that is part of the individual hardware. MAC filtering is where the access points on a wireless network will only speak with devices that you specify. MAC filtering is an excellent tool to use to enhance wireless security. This works great for wireless home network security, because the number of wireless devices will be manageable to work with.
A firewall is either a piece of hardware or software which is used to block outsiders from accessing a network. Firewalls are an essential part of wireless network security. It works by controlling traffic between given zones of trust. A user has the ability to determine what is trustworthy and what is not. If you are running a wireless network, you may want to consider using a firewall which is built into a wireless router.
One of the benefits of a wireless network is the portability of computers. However, this can also lead to a serious wireless security risk – theft of computer. If you are traveling and using your computer in a hot spot area, do not leave it lying around outside of your eyesight. Consider investing in a cable lock, which will secure your laptop (or desktop) to a stationary object. There are higher levels of security you can look into, such as cards that sound an alarm with unauthorized movement.
There are several tips to keep in mind when choosing a good password for wireless security. Do not use your name, initials or easy to guess numbers, such as address, birthday, etc. Any password based on personal information is a poor choice. Passwords should be at least eight characters long, and includes both numbers and characters. And remember, no matter how clever your password is, if you write it down where it is easily found, it won't be very secure.
The firewall you choose should be based primarily on the level of needed security, budget, reliability and the potential need to expand the wireless network. The most basic firewall, with minimal security is one that is part of a basic wireless router. The next level up is a dedicated firewall. After that comes a dedicated firewall device with a gateway. Finally, the highest level of wireless security is a dedicated firewall device (such as a computer) with a combination of proxy firewall and full packet filtering.
WPA, Wi-Fi protected access, is an upgraded version of WEP. This newer protocol is more secure then WEP and, if you use a good password, is much tougher to crack. WPA devices are backwards compatible with WEP, however, in order to use WPA for wireless network security, all devices need to have WPA.
Your passwords are crucial to your wireless network security and should not be revealed to unauthorized individuals. Do not leave your password lying around or written in an obvious location. When entering your username and/or password, make sure people aren't milling around and looking over your shoulder. Be very careful of responding to emails asking for passwords. Most legitimate companies do not ask for passwords via email due to the lack of security. These tips are useful for both wireless security and wired security.
Encryption is widely used for security of data, including wireless network security. Encryption is where data is translated into code for transmission via the radio waves. An encryption key, similar to a password, is needed to encrypt the code for transfer. If you are only minimally concerned with security, such as in wireless home network security, you may consider WEP encryption, which some find easier to configure with their current equipment.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|