Being connected to the internet on a wireless connection is one of the most convenient things to have – there aren’t any loose cables going amok the house and you can always check your e-mail or browse the web on your laptop in any place of the house or outside in the yard. It’s an extremely liberating feeling, however it comes with its disadvantages if one isn’t too careful.
As opposed to conventional wired connections, your wireless connection is prone to intrusion, as such people can tap into your connection and use your internet bandwidth for free. The whole phenomenon even has a curious name – “piggy bagging”.
Anther thing that might happen and hurt you the most is hacking. People can spoof your connection and hack into the computers connected to your wireless connection – doing so you expose yourself to people who might steal your contacts, bank accounts or simply stalk your activity.
Here’s how you can protect your privacy and wireless connection such that it will 100% proof.
1. Go to your rooter’s setting page
Most rooter are the same in setting structure and commands, but each manufacturer arranges them differently. It’s a good idea you go through this guide your rooter’s manual in front of you. Here are the support pages for every popular rooter manufacturer Linksys, Cisco, Netgear, Apple AirPort, SMC, D-Link, Buffalo, TP-LINK, 3Com, Belkin.
The first step you need to make is open your rooter’s setting page. Do so by simply typing “192.168.1.1” into your browser’s URL bar, after which login with your admin username and password.
2. Set a unique password for your rooter
Once you login be sure to change the default password of your rooter, since someone can tap into your connection and then login into your rooter and change settings to his own willing. If he knows the model of your rooter (he can take tries, according to the most popular rooter models), it will be very easy to “guess” your admin rooter password. As such, go to your Administration settings on your rooter and be sure to change the password to something only you know.
3. Assing an unique SSID for your rooter
Your rooter’s SSID or Wireless Network Name (the name of the connection that appears when your laptop is searching for a connection) is at a clean install set to “default” or “manufacturer-name”. You can change the SSID name under your rooter’s basic settings. Be sure not to change to something your name or your address name it “office” or “home”.
4. Network Encryption
This is the most important step you need to take such that your rooter can become secure, since in order to protect the computers that are connected to your wireless, as well as you network itself, it’s very important you encrypt the wireless signal.
The most common security encryption is WEP, but as such it’s the most vulnerable. WPA2 is the most secure connection, but since it’s a bit more technologically advanced, it’s not compatible with any kind of computer or mobile device designed prior to 2006.
Open your rooter’s security page and choose an encryption method based on your device – if you use relatively new hardware dating from 2-3 years back, choose WPA2, otherwise WPA – then set a passphrase. Be sure your passphrase isn’t known by anyone; a good idea would be to include numbers or special characters together with letters.
5. Filter MAC addresses
The most full proof wireless connection you can make is by filtering MAC addresses. If you didn’t know already, a MAC address is hard-coded into your networking equipment. It’s sorta like an IP address, only each wireless or network card has its own unique MAC address.
By setting your rooter only to connect with specific devices having the MAC addresses you set, you can ensure that absolutely no other PC or mobile other than those that you own can access your rooter.
If you’re using Windows, you can find out what your computer’s MAC adress simply by running command (START –>RUN type “CMD”) and then typing “ipconfig /all” in your CMD line. After you find your MAC addresses add them to your MAC filtering settings page and you’re pretty much set!
6. Upgrade your rooter’s firmware
You should check the manufacturer’s site occasionally to make sure that your router is running the latest firmware. Most rooters notify users in their settings dashboard (located at 192.168.1.1) if a new firmware version is available for upgrading.
7. Enjoy you’re fully secured wireless network
You have nothing to worry about now, your connection is ironclad secured and only an extremely seasoned hacker will be able to break it – how many N.A.S.A. hackers leave next door to you? Sleep sound!
Tibi is a web designer and internet marketing consultant. He writes about various Windows how to’s at ZME Tech, an emerging tech blog where you can also read about the latest gadgets, industry news and software downloads.