Why Security is important for Wireless Surfing:
Wireless Routers transmit your information via the air using radio signals, where anyone else can see it. Your information is broadcast over a range, which leaves your bandwidth and personal information open to other people. While it is very convenient, it is not safe to use unless you unless you have protection. Even then, there is no 100% secure way of using a wireless network, all you can and should do is to safe guard yourself against most attacks
Typical threats to your Wi-Fi Security:
1) Broadband Freeloaders: Where someone uses your bandwidth for free, for example to send emails or do some surfing, while this does not create major problems, it can be abused when your bandwidth is used to transfer huge files, for example, downloading a movie, leaving you with a slower internet speed than you are paying for. Other types of abuses can be more sinister, where your bandwidth is used for downloading illegal content without your knowledge or consent, landing you in trouble as the broadband account is in your name.
2) Identity theft: Imagine if you buy a book online and enter your credit card details to pay for it, but at the end of the month, when your credit card bill comes, not only have you paid for that book, but someone has used to credit card for example, to pay for access to a premium adult content website. Imagine also that you are booking your holiday online and someone is watching this remotely, these intruders now know when your property may be empty and is more vulnerable.
Taking a few simple precautions can protect your information and bandwidth against most intruders, however, there is no real protection against a hard core hacker who wishes to target you and the only 100% safe way is to not use wireless for ultra important tasks like online banking.
Here are a few easy to implement security tips, some of which requires you to logon to your Wireless Routers Base management webpage and select the options provided there.
1.) How to Keep your bandwidth safe:
- Don't Broadcast your SSIS, to hide your Wi-fi, logon on to your base station management website site and disable SSID Broadcast, this makes your network not visible to normal wireless systems such as your next door neighbour or freeloading passers-by. This is what you see if you broadcast your SSID,
while choosing not to broadcast makes your network not visible.
- Optimal Range, try to set the range of your wireless router to one what you need, for example, if you live in a studio apartment, you don’t really need same range as someone living in a mansion with internet access by the pool! There is no need to tempt a freedloader or security risk, 2 blocks away. You can either buy a wireless router with a suitable range or reduce tansmition power by removing or pointing and adjusting your antenna to accordlingly may help.
- Disable remote admin, if you don’t need to access remote access your router via the internet, logon to your base station website and disable it.
- Pick a hard to guess Password, avoid common passwords like your name or “password” or easy to guess ones like 12345, qwerty, goddess etc or easy to find passwords like your birthday, anniversary etc. Try to have a combo password that mixes letters, number and symbols, for example, think something that you will remember for example, if you love cakes, try adding to it so that you get something like, i*love8cakes* or !gimme100cakes! Or :)99cakes&pie:o Tip: As soon as you have set up your wireless router, log on to your base station and change your password word from the default one given to you.
2.) Keeping you information safe, getting online without encryption is like shouting your credit card number out load in a busy street, so don’t forget to turn on your encryption.
- Use WPA, if you are running Windows XP, this will be built in, when you setup up your wireless router, don’t forget to check this option.
- Use WEP, if you don’t have WPA, WEP is better than nothing.
- Mac Filtering, turning on this option on you base management webpage, restricts network access to your system only, for each system access, you will have to enter a 12 characters MAC address of every system that you allow to use your network. To look up the MAC address for WinXP, go to Start>Run, in the text box type in cmd,
This will open up a command prompt that looks like:
Type in ipconfig/all and this lists the Physical address which is the 12 characters that you need to enter into your base station Mac filtering webage.
3.) Online Habits for safe internet surfing, especially if you use a Hot Spot:
- Always turn on your firewall.
- Maintain Daily Virus updates and regular virus scans.
- Maintain Daily Spy ware updates and regular scans.
- Set up your PC to download security updates for your OS automatically
- Delete temporary internet files daily.
- For highly important information like online banking, it’s better to do it via LAN or USB connection.
- When you don’t need to be online, turn off your wireless receiver in your laptop
- When shopping online, use a credit card rather than a debit card as you will be protect and insured against fraud.
- Beware of fake emails, never give out your password, banking information via email, to check that an email is real, make sure the domain name and the domain of any links in the email are correct.
- In a crowded Wi-fi Spot like a café or airport, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder and taking note of your passwords, consider buying a laptop screen filter to restrict view angle of your laptop screen.