Also known as Wi-Fi, wireless networks, as the name suggests, allow the user to access Internet without the need of wires. If your home or office has a wireless network connection, you can access the Internet from anywhere within the wireless frequency range. To have access to the Internet, wireless networks rely solely on radio waves instead of wires. A wireless gateway or access point is used as a transmitter and is connected to the Internet. This creates a hotspot where the Internet connectivity is transmitted through the radio waves. Hotspots use identifying information called SSID or Service Set Identifier to allow network devices such as the computers or laptops to locate them. Wireless computers and other devices that have the permission to access the wireless network can take advantage of the Internet connection. Most wireless devices can automatically identify a wireless network in an area, while others require locating or manually typing in information like the SSID. In this post we take a look at how to keep your wireless network secure.
Security Threats Associated with Wireless Networks
With the widespread use of wireless networks, numerous potential network intruders with malicious intents have been lurking within the range of a home or office wireless networks. The freedom from tangled wires can be exciting, but it comes with a price. Leaving your wireless network open or unsecured can put your data and yourself at great risks. With the use of the widely available hacking software, anyone that is within the powerful range of your wireless network can passively scan all the information that is flowing in your network.
If someone uses your unsecured wireless network to download a file from an illegal website, it is you who will end up in court, and the fact that you do not know how to secure your wireless network is not a valid defence. In some cases, network intruders may be able to view your shared files from your computer such as bank statements, social security number, address, phone number, and more. With an unsecured wireless network connection, you might be setting up yourself for an identity stealing.
How to Keep your Wireless Network Secure
Secure your wireless access point
Most devices that are used as wireless access points such as routers come with a pre-configured default password, which can be found easily online. Hence, they do not provide protection to your network. To secure your wireless access point, change the default password.
Add restrictions to your network access
All network devices have a unique MAC or Media Access Control address. You can either restrict or allow a certain device to access your network by filtering its MAC address. This feature in your wireless access point also allows you to register authorized users to have access to your wireless network. Some network devices even allow you to set up an authentication process before a user can access your network.
Encrypt all data on your network
Whether you are using WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) to secure your wireless network, it is essential to encrypt such data to prevent anyone from seeing it and hence, gain access to your network.
Other ways to keep your wireless network safe include hiding or not broadcasting your SSID, installing firewall, and maintaining anti-virus software.
Content on behalf of AxonIT, IT services provider.
Some good points raised here! I used this guide when securing my wireless network. It covers the same item you have but in more detail: http://www.wifinetworksecurity.co.uk