Wireless networks are prone to many security threats & pose a significant risk of hacking and identity thefts if not secured properly. The convenience factor and freedom from wires makes them extremely popular. If you have broadband Internet access, a wireless router can give you instant communication with the world.
Unfortunately, many, or even most, wireless router units don’t come configured with security features already functioning. Advanced security features are not enabled by default to ease off configuration for newbies. This may not seem like a big issue to someone who is simply setting up a home network, but there are a number of potential problems you should consider.
Identity theft seems to be one of the most serious problem. If your network is unsecured, the personal data on your wireless electronic equipment is also unsecured. Nearly every town in which “WiFi” is common will have “War Drivers” and “War Chalkers” at work. These are people who walk or drive around town with wireless equipment, searching for unsecured networks. The “Chalkers” then live up their name, marking curbs and other public items with chalk so that others can more easily find and exploit your network.
Not all “War Drivers” are hackers, of course. Many just want to use your network for free, but the risk is high if you don’t learn how to protect yourself. You can usually find quite a bit of free information as to how to secure your network at the website of your router’s manufacturer, or by doing a search in a search engine for a phrase like “secure home wireless.”
In addition, there are also your neighbors who may find your network by accident and enjoy nosing into your activities and using your Internet access at will, slowing down your network speed in the process. This happens a lot of times.
This isn’t limited to home users, even many businesses use cheap, home-use quality equipment for their company networks. They either do not employ trained wireless security staff or are just plain ignorant. With the poor security often found on small business networks, anyone with a basic knowledge of wireless can access sensitive company and customer data.
It is highly recommended that you hire service companies or skilled technicians to secure your network for you, or else you will have to bear with a risk of being exploited. In case you want to secure your network yourself, here are few security measures you can implement to secure your wireless network from hacking and data breaches.
- Always change the factory setting password of your router to something difficult for someone to guess.
- Enable 128-bit Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP) encryption on both your access point and network card. From time to time change the WEP key entries. WEP is only a minimal security precaution, which is better than none at all.
- Alter the factory default SSID on the access/router point to a convoluted difficult to guess string. Initiate your computer to connect to this configured SSID by default.
- Setup your access point not to broadcast the SSID if available.
- Block off anonymous internet requests and pings by enabling built in firewall.
- You can also Enable MAC filtering.
- Enable firewall on the network router/access point with demilitarized zone function disabled. Enable client firewalls for each computer in the network.
- Update router and access point firmware as updates become available.
- Position the physical router near the middle of the establishment as opposed to near windows to prevent others outside from receiving the signals.
So secure & strengthen your wireless LAN now or risk becoming the next victim of hackers.