When you set up a wireless network in your house, the broadband signal is sent out from your router - it’s no longer necessary to physically connect your computer to your modem using an ethernet cable, and your network is no longer contained by the walls of your house. While this is great for you, it creates a whole new set of security challenges; protecting your wireless network is essential if you want to keep your connection private and hacker-free.
How do I check if my wireless network has security?
Go to My Network Places and scan for your wireless network. In the list that appears, there should be a picture of a padlock next to the name of your network. If there is no padlock, then your network is open and you need security.
An open network means that anyone within reach of the signal - which usually travels around 100 metres - can connect to the internet using your broadband connection. This could result in piggybacking users slowing your connection down and using up your download allowance. Or even worse, an open wireless network also leaves you open to hackers who can easily gain access to your files.
How do I secure my wireless network?
You need a wireless encryption key. This is a series of numbers and letters, working like a password to turn data into a code before it’s sent, making hacking more difficult. The most commonly used methods are:
- WEP with 64bit or 128bit encryption strength - a simple encryption that offers limited security and is relatively easy to break
- WPA-PSK (WPA-Personal) - in the forms of WPA-TKIP which offers better security and is backwards compatible with older routers and USB keys, and WPA2-AES which offers the best security and performance but less compatibility
Is there anything else I can do?
As well as having an encryption key, there are a few other steps you can take to protect your wireless network:
- Firewall - either built into your router or as software on your PC, this will help to protect you from hackers
- Anti-virus software - such as Norton or McAfee, to protect you from computer viruses
- Anti-spyware software - to prevent spyware from collecting personal information about you
- Anti-phishing - to alert you if you have visited a listed fraudulent website
You should also regularly run live updates on windows and your anti-virus to ensure that your security is always up-to-date.
If you are serious about your home security you need to consider a many different factors such as an alarm system and a secure wireless network. Contact Free Alarms for a custom quote that will cover your home security needs.