The How’s and Why’s for Securing Your Wireless Network
Wireless networks (Wi-Fi) are more flexible than hard-wired ones, but they can also be more vulnerable to hackers or malicious software (such as worms). Because wireless networks use radio waves that can pass through walls, your network's signal could go beyond the boundaries of your home. If you don't try to secure your network, others nearby might be able to access information stored on your network’s computers or use your Internet connection to get onto the Web.
Your Wi-Fi network is controlled by a “wireless access point,” which is a physical device available at your local electronics store or it may be built into your Internet router. The access point is what wirelessly connects your devices to the Internet.
Here are the recommend steps for securing your wireless access point:
- Change the default administrator login and password to something only you know. Default administrator logins and passwords are well known for most Wi-Fi access points. In fact, default accounts can often be found listed on the Internet.
- Set up a security key on your wireless network to protect it from unauthorized access by neighbors or nearby strangers. Fortunately, these dangers are easily prevented by simply enabling strong security on your wireless access point. One of your best options is to use the security mechanism referred to as WPA2, short for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, which only allows authorized users access to the wireless network. WPA2 for personal use protects unauthorized access to your wireless network by utilizing a set-up password.
- For more information and instructions on securing your wireless
network, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s
Bureau of Consumer Protection website at
ftc.gov/bcp and do the following:
- Click CONSUMER INFORMATION for the top menu
- Find the Consumer Categories menu box on the left
- Select COMPUTERS & THE INTERNET, then PRIVACY & SECURITY from the dropdown menu
- Scroll down and find the “Facts for Consumers” category
- Click on SECURING YOUR WIRELESS NETWORK [PDF]. You have the option of viewing as a web page or downloading the PDF.