10 Tips for Wireless Home Network Security
During this time of year, we at ICS would like to make sure that anyone utilizing or giving the gift of technology does not suffer any consequences due to risks that may not seem apparent. We have compiled this list of precautions to aide you in your online experience and assist you in preventing any identity theft, or the risk of being hacked. If you have any questions or would like an ICS technician to assist you with setting up a wireless network, or any other technical task, please call us today at (847) 515-8000.
To improve the security of a Wi-Fi network, you should change the administrative password on your wireless access point or router immediately when installing the unit. The default passwords for popular models of wireless network gear are well-known to hackers and often posted on the Internet.
To use, a person sets a static key or "passphrase". Remember to keep this key secret and not too easy to figure out. Using your names or addresses is not recommended.
Common examples of pre-defined SSIDs are simple names like "wireless," "netgear," "linksys," or "default." An SSID can be changed at any time, as long as the change is also made on all wireless clients.
To improve the security of your home wireless network, change the SSID to a different name than the default. Here are some recommended do's and don’ts, based on best network security practices:
Don't use your name, address, birthdate, or other personal information as part of the SSID
Likewise, don't use any of your Windows or Internet Web site passwords
Don't tempt would-be intruders by using tantalizing network names like "SEXY-BOX" or "TOP-SECRET"
Do pick an SSID that contains both letters and numbers
Do choose a name as long or nearly as long as the maximum length allowed
Do consider changing your SSID every few months
Without MAC address filtering, any wireless client can join (authenticate
with) a Wi-Fi network if they know the network name (also called the SSID
) and perhaps a few other security parameters like encryption keys. When MAC address filtering is enabled, however, the access point or router performs an additional check on a different parameter. Obviously the more checks that are made, the greater the likelihood of preventing network break-ins.
You should disable this feature to improve the security of your WLAN. Once your wireless clients are manually configured with the right SSID, they no longer require these broadcast messages
Connecting to an open Wi-Fi
network such as a free wireless hotspot
exposes your computer to security risks. While Windows XP does not enable automatic non-preferred connections by default, some users enable it in an attempt to simplify connecting to their own home network. Users should instead configure these as Windows XP Preferred networks which allows automatic connection to the home equipment yet still prevents auto-connection to other networks.
Static IP address
assignment is an alternative to dynamic DHCP
on all Internet Protocol networks including home networks. Dynamic addressing is convenient. It also allows mobile computers to more easily move between different networks. Using static IP addresses on home networks gives somewhat better protection against network security problems than does DHCP address assignment.
One of the easiest, least expensive ways to guard a home network from attack is to set up a personal firewall. Even those who have home routers probably need the additional protection that a personal firewall offers.
If a given wireless client falls out of range of the base station signal, obviously that network connection will fail or "drop." Clients situated near the edge of the network range will likely experience intermittent dropped connections. But even when a wireless client stays within range consistently, its network performance can still be adversely affected by distance, obstructions, or interference.
Home network gear need not be powered on and connected to the Internet at all times. Several clear advantages apply if you turn off your equipment when not using it, although some disadvantages exist also. Consider these pros and cons:
Electricity cost savings
If you have any questions, please feel free to call (847) 515-8000, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get back to you in a timely manner.