How To
How to Secure Your Wireless Home Network
Four tips that will keep hackers from stealing your personal information.
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May 06, 2009 by Mike Scott

Now that wireless networks are everywhere, computer burglars, aka hackers, are having a field day, attempting to invade your privacy and worse yet, steal your identity. Believe me, you don’t want that to happen.

That is why we strongly suggest that you take the following steps to secure your network:

Passwords
Almost all routers and access points come with an administrator password that is a weak default, like “password” or the manufacturer’s name. Replace the default passwords on every wireless router or access point you purchase with passwords of your own. Imagine, for instance, how many “dlink” networks there would be in the world if none of our customers renamed their routers? Hackers make it a point to know every company’s default passwords. By simply defining a new password, one that will certainly be easier for you to remember than the default, you will establish the protection you need to halt hackers from accessing your network or devices.

Most reputable vendors supply easy set-up wizards with their devices. Just follow the directions to rename your router or device with something unique and easy for you to remember. But be careful not to be so creative or simplistic that you provide sensitive information with the name you give your device. “Smith Family Router” is not the best idea. Be sure to write it down and keep it someplace safe for future reference. Without it, the only way to access the router or access point may be to reset it to factory default settings. which will wipe away any configuration changes you’ve made.

Don’t Broadcast Your SID
Most wireless network devices continuously broadcast the network’s name, or SSID (Service Set IDentifier). This may be convenient to locate WLANs, but it leaves your network visible to any wireless systems within signal range. By turning off the SSID broadcast, your network becomes invisible to neighbors and passers-by. It still can be seen by WLAN “sniffers”, however.

WPA
Further secure your wireless network by turning on the WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) security feature on your router or access point. Follow the easy instructions for the installation process, including choosing your level of security. WPA and the newer WPA2 provide better protection and are easier to use.

Remote Admin
Finally, you should disable remote administration. Most WLAN routers can be remotely administered from the Internet. As a rule, unless you absolutely need this capability, it’s best to keep it turned off.

More handy home networking tips can be found at Dlinktv.com.

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Mike Scott is a D-LinkTV Commentator for D-Link Systems, Inc.

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