Saturday, January 19, 2008
Wireless Security 101
In todays modern world wireless networks have now become commonplace. With wireless networking you can connect multiple computers together without the need for cables. Wireless networking also allows you to share resources such as printers, Internet and files. To set up your Wireless Local Area Network or (WLAN) for short you will need a Wireless Router. A Router is actually 3 network device in 1. It acts as a Wireless access point, which allows several wireless devices to connect to each other. A switch which essentially directs information over the LAN, and allows computers or printers to communicate with each other as well as share their resources. Finally most routers nowadays provide a firewall, which helps protect your network from outside intrusions by filtering incoming data. Protection and security of your wireless network is vital. Fortunately, it can be achieved by the average home user with a little bit of know how. Here are some simple steps that you can do to help protect your wireless home network form hackers and keep your personal data secure. As you follow the directions provided with your router you will come across a section, which provides you with the routers user name and password. It is usually marked as admin for the user name and password for, yes you guessed it password. Now this information is publicly known and leaving this information, as its default is the 1st mistake many home users make. Use something original for the user name and password and write it down on a separate piece of paper for your records. Next, Change the Default SSID. The SSID is a name, which basically identifies your network. Every computer in your network must have the same SSID name. Assign your SSID a name that is familiar to you and write it down for future reference. Now we come to your WLAN security options. This is where people usually make another mistake. I have seen countless WLAN that were using WEP, (wireless equivalent privacy) encryption which is a weak form of encryption. The FBI has recently reported that WEP can be hacked within 3minutes. WPA or the newer WPA 2 provide much stronger security. All wireless network equipments support some kind of encryption. Encryption allows your data to be encrypted before sending it out to the Internet. The computer, which receives the information, must know how to unscramble the data to read it. You must use the strongest encryption technology that your router and or Network card allows.If you are able to see the options for WPA 2 then that in most cases it is your best bet, however if your computer needs to support older legacy devices then WPA or even WEP might be your only option. I hope this guide has given you a basic understanding of the security that is needed to keep your WLAN safe from outside intrusions. Have a Tech question you want answers to? Computers at a Glance will answer your questions within 24 hours! Do you have a subject you want to see coverd in the next article? Click here and submit your topic today!