How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network – Twothirds.Us

How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network – Twothirds.Us

There was a time when every house had only one computer and internet connection, usually delivered through a phone modem. But now, things have changed. Many households have two or more computers, with at least one of them being a laptop.

If you want all your computers to be internet-enabled, it’s not feasible to have a separate connection for each one. It’s also impractical to rewire your house with Ethernet cables to create your own Local Area Network (LAN).

The best option is to have your own Wi-Fi router that allows each device to access the internet from any spot within range. With smartphones like the iPhone and Droid, which have built-in Wi-Fi access, it’s even easier to get connected.

Unlike a LAN, a Wi-Fi connection is indiscriminate in its reach. While a LAN is limited to the area where cables and ports are laid out, wireless is only limited by the transmitting power in your neighborhood.

To prevent strangers from using your bandwidth or accessing your system, you need to secure your wireless router and protect your home network.

This article discusses steps to ensure home Wi-Fi security, divided into two segments: “Essential Wireless Security Steps” and “Extra Steps for the Extra-Paranoid.”

Essential Wireless Security Steps

Securing your home wireless network requires following these steps, which should not be ignored.

Every Wi-Fi router has an administration webpage accessed through a browser. To prevent unauthorized access, set a username and password for your router.

First, ensure your computer is connected to the wireless network. Go to 192.168.1.1 in a web browser. If it’s your first time accessing it, the username and password may be blank or set to default settings as given in the manual. If you’re unsure, check the manual or contact tech support.

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While usually it’s 192.168.1.1, it may be a different address depending on your home network setup.

To change the username and password:

1. Find the “Administration” or “Management” tab.

2. Fill in the required fields with new information.

3. Choose strong passwords that are not common names or easily guessable words.

How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network – Twothirds.Us

2. Encrypt your connection with WPA

This is probably the most important defence in preventing others from accessing your Wi-Fi. By encrypting your connection, only devices with the encryption key can use the wireless network.

You can find the location for this in your router’s “Security” settings. Most routers have two built-in encryption methods: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). WEP can be easily hacked into, so it is recommended to use WPA. However, if your router doesn’t have WPA, WEP is better than nothing.

How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network – Twothirds.Us

Once enabled, any device that wants to use Wi-Fi will be asked for the encryption passkey. This can generally be found on a label under your router or with the accompanying documentation. Unless a hacker has physical access to your house, they will have a hard time compromising your security.

3. Keep Your Router Firmware Updated

Keeping your router’s firmware up-to-date is crucial. Firmware updates often include improved security features and bug fixes that can help protect your connection. Therefore, make it a habit to periodically visit your router manufacturer’s website to check for updates.

4. Control your Modem’s Power Settings

If you’re comfortable tweaking your settings, and if your advanced modem supports it, you can manually tune the power output to only what you need.

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Reducing the power to the antenna will limit the signal range. So, by decreasing the power to a level where you can barely catch the signal in a remote corner of the house, it gives fewer chances for neighbors to use it without permission. This works less in apartments and more in houses.

And when you don’t need it, switch off your modem from the mains. This will save you on energy costs too!

A wireless network is inherently unsecure and no steps can guarantee fool-proof security. However, the mentioned steps should be enough for a home user looking to protect Wi-Fi. If you feel that you need to do more and aren’t satisfied with the process, here are some additional steps. It wouldn’t matter if you ignore the following steps, but you could take a look nonetheless.

1. Stop Broadcasting your SSID

The Service Set Identifier (SSID) is the name of your wireless connection. Hiding it can prevent simple attacks, but may not deter sophisticated hackers. To hide the SSID, go to the “Wireless” settings in your Administration page and disable it. It is also recommended to change the SSID name from the default value to one of your choosing, to make it less identifiable. However, disabling SSID broadcast can cause a person who should be connecting to your network to accidentally connect to another network, compromising their computer’s security. For more information, read this article by Microsoft on why non-broadcast networks are not a security feature.

The MAC address is not related to Apple, the company that manufactures iPhones. Every computer has a unique MAC address, which refers to the network card. One way to ensure the security of your connection is by instructing your router to only grant access to devices with approved MAC addresses. To find your MAC address, go to the “Run” option in your Start Menu and enter “cmd.” Press Enter and type “ipconfig/all” in the user prompt. The resulting screen will display your MAC address.

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How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network – Twothirds.Us

To make the content more concise and impactful, I have eliminated redundant words and phrases in the provided text:

Note down the MAC address. Go to the Administration page of your wireless router and find the MAC address filter settings. These are usually in the “Security” or “Connections” section.

How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network – Twothirds.Us

Enter each address you want to allow access manually. Use a colon instead of dashes for the addresses.

Note: Although it may seem like these steps are time-consuming, this method is not difficult to bypass.

A Wi-Fi router is a useful device in a networked household. However, it needs to be secured to prevent malicious attacks. These methods will reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

Know any other methods to secure a wireless network? Share in the comments.

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