How to secure a WiFi network?

We present steps on how to secure a WiFi network later on this page. First we examine the reasons you must secure the network.

Why you must secure a WiFi network

Many of us now have a WiFi network at home connected to the Internet. Too often we do not take adequate precautions to prevent other people from logging into and using our network. Who cares! So we either set no password, leave the default password set or set a weak password. And then we forget about it.

In 99% of the cases this is fine. However there are some serious risks associated with it.

  • Let us say a neighbor, or a drive by person gets into your WiFi and uses that to access the Internet. So what, who cares, I have unlimited Internet? That is true, however the person may use your Internet access to access illegal sites or send threatening messages. When these accesses and emails are tracked the trail will lead to your WiFi network. This will result in a visit by law enforcement and possible seizure of all your computer equipment as evidence. You will be hard pressed to prove your innocence.

    This has actually happened in numerous cases. Sometimes malicious people have done this deliberately to cause you harm.

  • Let us suppose a hacker gets access to your WiFi network. He (yeah, most of the hackers are male in 2011) has easier access to all the computers on your internal network and can steal your financial and personal information. In fact he can even install surveillance software on your laptop, logging your keyboard strokes, your screen and maybe even taking occasional pictures with your webcam. It is like giving someone the keys to your home.

How to secure a WiFi network?

So how do we go about securing our wifi network? Here are some easy steps you can take.

Use WPA or WPA2 password instead of WEP

WEP is pretty easy to crack while WPA or WPA2 is much more secure. All the devices on your WiFi network have to support the particular authentication scheme before you can use it. You should use WPA or WPA2 wherever possible.

Restrict access by Mac Address

If only a few known devices will be using the WiFi network we can restrict WiFi access to only these devices. This is usually done by setting up a Mac address access list containing the Mac addresses of the devices we want to allow on the network. We can usually get a WiFi device's Mac address by looking at a sticker or from the wireless control panel in the operating system software running on the the device.

Change your default WiFi router password

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