I have to ask you this question because I am truly very curious. How many of you folks have your Wi-Fi unprotected and just let it hang out there without any security whatsoever? I am asking you this based on some recent emails and news reports about repercussions of having no Wi-Fi security. You pay your hard-won, hard-worked cash for your broadband Internet connection; do you really want someone poaching your Internet? Poaching your connection maybe the tip of the iceberg – what happens if some miscreant jumps and starts posting illegal/indecent photos or uses your link to the web to make threats. Believe it or not this goes on.
Check out this article about some poor soul who had her Internet connection hijacked from her open Wi-Fi which enabled some very bad guys to enjoy her access. Stephanie became a victim of “swatting,” where the perpetrator tricks a SWAT team into raiding a house of his choosing. Needless to say Stephanie did not enjoy her home evasion but it could have been easily handled had she secured her W-Fi.
Leaving your Wi-Fi open and unprotected is like leaving your car doors unlocked with the keys in the ignition. You wouldn’t do that, would you? So why not take a couple of extra steps to secure your Wi-Fi. Now I bet you are saying to yourself – I have a firewall, I shouldn’t be worried. Know this, the firewall may protect your data but it will not prevent your connection itself to be hacked and hijacked. Here are some easy steps to help you take care of business. The first thing you are going to want to do is read the manual that came with your router.
1. Access your wireless router’s settings by typing 192.168.1.1 or whatever your manual tells you to do.
2. Don’t stay default (usually admin/password: You want to create a new password to access your router, therefore you need to change the default to one of your own choosing – make it strong but memorable for you. Obviously, the one that comes with your router could easily be cracked.
3. Most importantly enable your network encryption. Unfortunately most routers have their default set at disable. This is a No No. You absolutely want to enable encryption thus preventing others from using your Internet access. In order to do this you open the security settings from the router configuration page. Select your security method, preferably WPA2 and create a passcode using a combination of letters, numbers and characters.
4. Another good bet is to not broadcast your network’s name (SSID) so disable it. This way your wireless network will not be visible to any computers in the neighborhood. Only those that know your network name will be able to find it.
These are just some basic things you need to do to protect the integrity of your wireless network connection. It is a good place to start. Your router manual should also have some very helpful points.