How To Secure A Wireless Network
An important part of protecting your home, school or business from online intruders and threats involves knowing how to secure a wireless network from unauthorized access. The consequences of an insecure wireless network can include highly expensive bandwidth over-use charges, or even legal troubles. This article will discuss ways to secure a wireless network and spare yourself some potentially costly headaches.
You will need the following items in order to secure a wireless network:
- A wireless router
- Your router's manual
- A computer capable of accessing the router
- A network cable
- Connect to your wireless router using the network cable. This will enable you to change your wireless router's settings with the highest level of security.
- Change your router's default Administrator password. This prevents unauthorized users from accessing your wireless network using the simple passwords shipped with every router by a given manufacturer. A long and complex password, one with more than thirteen characters using both letters and numbers, will slow down or prevent password-guessing attacks.
- Hide your router's wireless network identity. The next step to secure your wireless network is to hide the router's wireless network name, also known as the SSID. This way you will make it difficult, if not impossible, for hackers to even discover that your router exists. You will also want to change the default SSID afterward, to prevent simple SSID guessing.
- Deny access to unknown computers. Your wireless network router should also have settings to establish what is called Wireless MAC filtering. For this, you will need to know the individual network card ID of each computer, or the MAC address. To do this, you will need to open a command prompt shell in Windows on every computer you want to connect to the router. Then you'll want to type "ipconfig /all" and look at the "Physical Address" entry. That is your computer's MAC address. Put this in your router's "allow" list, according to the instructions in your manual, and then deny access to any other MAC address.
- Enable encryption of all wireless data. The final step of securing your wireless network is to enable WPA2 access control with TKIP or AES encryption. Again, the use of a long and complex password will make guessing the password extremely difficult and time-consuming and will go a long way in securing your wireless network.
It is worth noting that there is no truly foolproof method of stopping unauthorized access. Knowing how to secure a wireless network is all about learning how to make unauthorized access as frustratingly difficult and time consuming as possible.