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Is your home Wi-Fi secure?

Wi-FiAnswer: Probably not. Most home networks are not secure to begin with. To add wireless A/B/G/N on top of that, you’re really asking for trouble. Fear not, for here are a few things you can do to lock down your environment, and keep out snooping eyes.Whether you have a wireless network or not, you should always take care of your security basics (antivirus, antimalware, firewall, etc.). For more on this see my previous post Security is Like an Onion. For wireless networks, here are four security changes that are pretty easy to enable:

  1. Change default router password – If you have a wireless router or access point, you may have decided not to change the administrator password from the default. The problem is that these default passwords are well documented, and can be discovered with a simple Google search.
  2. Disable Broadcast SSID – By default most wireless access points and wireless routers broadcast the name of your wireless network, or SSID. By disabling this feature, you can help prevent prying eyes by making your network nearly invisible.
  3. Enable WPA Encryption (or better) – Some encryption should always be enabled on any wireless network. Doing this can help ensure that any data that is intercepted, is not easily readable by an unauthorized computer. At a bare minimum use WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), but I generally suggest using WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2.
  4. Turn on MAC Filtering – Each computer’s wireless network adapter has a unique Media Access Control (MAC) address. By enabling MAC filtering you can determine which computers you will allow access to your network.

Making only one of these changes will not make your network very secure. There are also many additional security methods… too many to list here. If you follow these four suggestions, your home wireless network will be secure enough to deter just about any intruder. Again, don’t forget to secure any PC, laptop, or server on your network, also!

About the author

Robert Borges

About Robert...

I have been in the IT industry since 1993 focusing mainly in networking. Though I got an early start as an amateur computer enthusiast, and wrote my first database app at age 12, I started my professional career working in the MIS department of one of the largest liquor distributors in the northeast. I started out there as a systems operator on the company’s two mainframe systems. From there I moved into PC support, and help design and implement the company’s first client-server network… This was back in the days of Win NT 3.51. I also worked on my first migration to NT 4.0 back then.

From there I went on to work with Novell 3.x and 4.x along with Windows domains and active directory environments. Working my way up from technician, to specialist, to administrator, and eventually all the way up to Sr. Engineer. I spent many years working for consulting firms, 9 of which I owned and operated my own firm.
Over the years, I have worked with (at an expert level) various versions of: Windows client and server operating systems (including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2);various virtualization technologies (Hyper-V, Virtual Server, Virtual PC, VMware, etc…); MS-SQL server 6.5- 2008 R2; Exchange 4-2010, and much more.

I am now Director of Information Systems at Bay State Integrated Technology focusing on cloud computing and IT service, with expertise in: IT Infrastructure & Architecture, IT Security, and Cloud Computing platforms & technologies (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).

I am in a constant state of learning about new products, and new versions of products. Many of which we end up implementing in lab environments and sometimes for our clients. I have a pretty broad range of expertise and experience. It is my goal to share some of this experience on this blog to help enrich the IT community.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2012/04/it-security/is-your-home-wi-fi-secure/

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