Wireless security checklistMany people setting up WiFi home networks rush through the job to get their Internet connectivity working as fast as possible. This is quite risky as many security problems can result.

Today’s wireless networking products don’t always help the situation as configuring their security features can be time-consuming and non-intuitive. The tips below go over the steps you should take to improve the security of your home wireless network.

  • Change the default wireless  settings

You can read about changing default setting (username, password ans SSID) here :
http://www.security4wireless.com/always-change-your-wireless-default-settings/

  • Enable WPA / WEP encryption

All wireless equipment supports some form of encryption. Encryption technology scrambles messages sent over wireless networks so that they cannot be easily read by humans.

Many encryption technologies exist for Wifi. Of course you will want to pick the strongest encryption that works with your network. However, the way these technologies work, all Wifi devices on your network must share the the same encryption settings. Consequently you may need to find a “lowest common demoninator” setting.

  • Disable SSID broadcast

The wireless access point or router typically broadcasts the network name (Service Set IDentifier) at regular intervals. This element was designed for businesses and mobile hotspots where clients may roam in and out of range.

In the home network, this roaming characteristic is needless, and it increases the probability someone will try to login to your home network. Luckily, most wireless access points allow the SSID broadcast feature to be disabled by the network manager.

  • Enable physical MAC address filtering

Every part of wireless gear possesses a unique identifier called MAC address. Access points & routers keep track of the MAC addresses of all devices that connect to them. Lots of such products offer the owner an option to key in the MAC addresses of their home equipment that restricts the network to only permit connections from those devices.

Make this, but also know that the feature is not so powerful as it may seem. Hackers & their program programs can fake MAC addresses easily.

  • Turn off auto-connect

Connecting to an open wireless network such as a public wireless hotspot or your neighbor’s router exposes your computer to security risks. Although not normally enabled, most computers have a setting available allowing these connections to happen automatically without notifying you (the user). This setting should not be enabled except in temporary situations.

  • Make firewalls on computers and router

Most network routers contain built-in firewall capability, but the option also exists to disable them. Make sure that your router’s firewall is turned on. For extra protection, consider installing and running personal firewall software on each computer connected to the router.

  • Assign static IP to Wifi devices

Most home networks drop toward using dynamic IP addresses. DHCP technology is indeed easy to set up. However, this convenience also works to the benefit of network hackers who can easily obtain valid IP addresses from your network’s DHCP pool.

Disable DHCP on the router or access point, set a fixed IP address range instead, then configure each connected device to match. Use a private IP address range (like 10.0.0.x) to prevent computers from being directly reached from the Internet.

  • Turn off the wifi network when you don’t use it

Shutting down your network will most certainly prevent outside hackers from breaking in! While impractical to turn off and on the devices frequently, at least think about doing so during travel or extended periods offline.

Computer disk drives have been known to suffer from power cycle wear-and-tear, but this is a secondary concern for broadband modems and routers.

If you own a wireless router but are only using it wired connections, you may turn off Wifi on a broadband router without powering down the entire network.

  • Position the access point safely

Wireless signals normally reach to the exterior of a home. A small amount of signal leakage outdoors isn’t a problem, but the more this signal reaches, the easier it is for attackers to detect and exploit. Wifi signals frequently reach through neighboring homes.

When installing a Wifi home network, the position of router and access point determines its reach. Try to position these devices near the center of your home rather than near windows.

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