Wireless networks have become the norm for most households and businesses. The problem is the majority of WiFi networks are not setup properly, and attackers take advantage of naive users, steal their Internet service, or even spy and collect personal information.
Just because you have a wireless password set, does not necessarily mean you are secured. It’s important to use a strong encryption method with a very robust, long, and unique password. Here are some tips on common practices to secure your network.
USE WPA/WPA2 AND AVOID WEP
Use WPA or WPA2 for your password encryption. It doesn’t matter if you use TKIP or AES, as long as you are using WPA/WPA2 for your password. WEP is outdated and very insecure. The average attacker can crack any WEP protected network in 5 minutes, even if you use a 128 or 256 bit key.
USE A STRONG PASSWORD
It’s important to use a password that is long, unique, and robust. The password should be at least 15 characters, have upper and lower case letters, numbers, and characters. Make the password something nobody else on earth would likely ever use.
Attackers use software than can guess thousands of passwords per second. They will usually feed it through a gigantic list of common passwords, or commit a “brute-force” attack, where they guess every combination of characters. In some cases the attacker can use multiple computers and servers to crack the password so that they can guess millions of passwords per second. Having a long and robust password will stop attackers in their tracks.
USE HTTPS WHENEVER POSSIBLE, AND AVOID PROTOCOLS THAT ARE UNENCRYPTED
When browsing the web, if sending or receiving something sensitive, make sure the site’s URL has https:// instead of http://. If you use an e-mail program like Outlook or Thunderbird, ensure that you have your e-mail account setup with encryption.
MAC ADDRESS FILTERING AND HAVING A HIDDEN SSID ISN’T SECURE
A lot of users will have an open network or use a WEP password and for protection they use mac address filtering or hide the network SSID. These methods will stop the casual user, but it’s very easy for an attacker to circumvent both methods. It’s best to use a very strong WPA/WPA2 password. Adding extra security measures won’t hurt, but shouldn’t be relied upon for high security.
The best way to configure your wireless network is by typing the local IP number of the router into your web browser. In Windows you can go to the command prompt and type: “ipconfig”, and write down the IP address located next to “Default Gateway”. You then open your web browser and type in the IP number into your browser, just as if it was a website. Consult your router manual for more information including the default password.
BEWARE OF ROGUE NETWORKS
It’s very easy for an attacker to setup a Wifi network with the same SSID (wireless name) as yours. They then use software to kick you off your network, and have you auto-connect to their Rogue network. Attackers can only do this if the network is open or if they have the wireless password. The best way to prevent being a victim of a Rouge network attack (Also called a Man in the Middle Attack), is to use a very strong WPA/WPA2 password.
For assistance you can try our FREE Tech Support Chat Room. I also recommend consulting the manual for your router and read it thoroughly. You can also try calling the technical support phone number of the manufacturer of your router. Most companies will assist you for free if the router isn’t over a year old.
If your router is also a modem that you are renting from your Internet service provider, then they should be able to assist you with router problems or questions.