Your wireless network is highly susceptible to intruders and hackers. How do you keep your wireless network from being compromised? Keep reading past the break.

The most vulnerable wireless network is one that is unsecured. People in the vicinity of the network can easily piggyback on your internet, and potentially use it to illegally download movies, child pornography, and other illicit material. Intruders can also install various kinds of malware on your computers, rendering online banking and other confidential services highly insecure.

Another type of wireless security is protecting your network with a WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) key. WEP was supposed to make wireless networks as secure as wired networks. However, people soon found weaknesses in this standard, and it became extremely easy to crack the encryption and break into the network. Due to this, securing your network with WEP is not a good idea, but is much better than having a completely unsecured network.

The stronger and safer type of security is WPA encryption. WPA, or the Wi-Fi Protected Access protocol, was designed to address the issues with the original WEP standard. If a strong password is set up using WPA encryption, it’s nearly impossible to crack the password and break into the network.

The most secure way of protecting your network is to use a WPA key and hide your network’s SSID. The SSID is the name of your network that you see when you connect to it. If an intruder doesn’t know the SSID of your network, it becomes much more difficult to break in. In a sense, it’s almost like having two passwords for your network.

General Setup Procedure:

  1. On your router, there will be a sticker with a set of information. Search for a special number that looks something like “192.168.1.1”. Open up your preferred web browser, and go to this address. If it asks you for a username or password, look for the information on the router. It should be near the IP address you just found.
  2. Navigate to the wireless settings page on your router. Make sure WPA or WPA2 is selected as the encryption method.
  3. There will be an option to disable SSID broadcast. Disable broadcasting, and now it is time to reconnect to your network. Make sure you remember the name, or the SSID of the network.
  4. On windows, when you select the Find Networks in the taskbar, scroll to the very bottom, and you will see “Other Network”. Connect to the network, and it will ask for the name. Enter the name of the network as seen in the router’s wireless settings page. Then enter the password, and you should be connected.
  5. If you are connected on other devices, there will be an option to connect to “Other”, “Manual”, “Hidden Network”, or something along those lines. Follow the same procedure as with the Windows set up – network name is what you saw in the wireless page, and enter the same password as before.

For extra protection, you can then set up NAT, or Network Address Translation, on your router. Setting up NAT on your router creates a firewall between your home network and the rest of the Internet, making it harder for intruders to harm your computers.  Nat makes sure that computers outside your home network cannot connect to your computer, unless you have initiated this. NAT allows you to access the internet, but outsiders cannot latch on to your network and access computers connected to it. This is a highly vital setup in order to keep out hackers and their malware from infecting your computer. In the end, the more security the merrier!

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