Secure A Network

Steps to secure your wireless network:

A wireless network is a particularly good target because it can be accessed without actually invading the property. Someone parked outside on the street could use your Internet connection or even access shared resources on your computers. You are wise to secure it carefully. There are several steps unique to wireless, plus the usual steps that one should take with any computer that is networked or Internet-connected.

Start with the network identification (usually SSID). Each device connected to the wireless network needs the ID, but the device should know the ID, rather than have to retrieve it from the wireless router. Change the default name, encrypt it if your router and wireless devices allow, and turn off the feature that broadcasts the ID.

Next, encrypt the traffic that flows between your computer and the wireless router. This prevents someone gaining access to private information such as accounts, passwords, credit card numbers and the like, simply by 'overhearing' your transmission. Choose a complicated, unguessable encryption string.

Finally, take advantage of log in restrictions if your router supports them. Every network device - not just wireless - is identified by a unique number known as the MAC address or physical address, usually 6 pairs of numerals and letters (actually hexadecimal numbers). Some routers can be set to allow connections only from devices whose MAC addresses are stored in their memory.

Be sure when you connect you are connecting to your secured wireless network, not your neighbors which isn't secured. Also, ask the question again in six months because by then there may be new vulnerabilities known and new defenses against them. Don't forget the standard security techniques, virus and spyware protection, plus a firewall that monitors both in- and out-bound traffic.



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