Wireless Networking Security

1:  Create a unique SSID Identifier

When setting up a wireless network, make sure you consider Basic Wireless Networking Security Techniques.

All wireless routers have the ability for you to set a Service Set Identifier (SSID) that identifies them to network computers. Routers from the same manufacturer generally ship with the same SSID. You should set this to something unique so that you are sure you are connecting to your wireless router or access point.

Some individuals choose to name their SSID sometheing ominous such as “GetVirusHere”.  I assume they are attempting to discourage others from trying to connect to their wireless network. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this has any effect on the dedicated individual who will try to connect to your network with out your permission!

For a bit of additional security it is a good idea not to identify your network by your name house number etc.

Hot PC Tips - Router Security

Once all your hardware has been set up, you may want to consider turning off the broadcast of your SSID.  This ensures your router isn’t displayed in the list of available networks, and won’t be a target for potential hackers. While this is a good idea, it will make connecting to your network more difficult for you as you will manually type in the SSID each time you wish to connect a device to your network.

2: Choose An Encryption Method

Running an unsecured network will earn you brownie points from neighbors and hackers, but it can create lots of problems for you.

Rembember: If an unauthorized individual is able to connect to your network, you will be responsible for any and all activity they perform while connected to your network. This can be a real problem if the individual is doing anything illegal. Also remember that  if an unauthorized individual gains access to your network they will also have access to your shared files etc!

Wireless routers support a variety of encryption methods, such as WPA, WPA2 and WEP, but these will not be enabled by default.

WPA2 is the most secure method at the moment, but before deciding on an encryption method, make sure your network cards and adapters and any devices you intend to connect will support the encryption you have choosen.

Some older devices do not support WPA2 encryption. If that is a problem for you, set yours to WEP and use a strong password.

2:  Create a strong password

A strong password consists of at least eight characters, but preferably 12 or more. Your password should have a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (@, #, $, %, etc.). Passwords are typically case-sensitive. A strong password contains letters in both uppercase and lowercase.

Some like to use several words in sequence such as “yellowrobinduckfiveaces”.  If you use this method, make sure the words are not related, and not in sequence and use a minimum of 16 characters. To state the obvious, the password “ThreeFourFiveSix” is not a secure password.

Your password should not contain common words, names, your birthdate or common strings such as “1234” or “abcde” etc. You should not use common keyboard strings such as “qwert” or “yuiop” etc.

Some prefer use online password generators such as Random.Org. This is a great option for generating a secure password.

Secure your wireless network and you and only you will be able to connect.