Saturday, June 2, 2012

Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

Owning a Wi-Fi network sometimes brings headache when not secured. Since almost all of us feel great jumping onto someone else's unsecured Wi-Fi network, we need to think of same happening in ours too. If you don’t take steps to secure your wireless network, anyone within range of your router can easily connect to your network. And most importantly, hacker could intercept your Wi-Fi signal, install malicious software, such as a keystroke logger onto your computer, steal your
bandwidth and slow down your Internet, and could even use your Internet connection for illegal activity.

I have tried to list some steps in securing Wi-Fi network.

Step 1: Always use Wi-Fi devices certified by the WiFi Alliance

Step 2: Secure your router
Once you log into your router, the first thing to do is to change the default password to something more secure. If not, someone is sure to configure your router's setting sooner or later with ill-thoughts. Since this password is used very often, it's better to write it down. And in case you forget the password, the only way to access the router is to reset the router to factory default settings which will wipe away any configuration changes you've made.

Step 3: Change default SSID
Next is to change the Service Set Identifier (the network name or "SSID") which is often missed out by number of peoples. Pick a name that you can remember and try to avoid using name, home address or other personal information as SSID name as far as possible.

Step 4: Allow encryption
Keep the best knowledge about encryption. Always enable your router’s encryption, using the strongest form supported by your Network.  If possible, use WPA2 or WPA, since WEP is easy for a hacker to crack. WPA and WPA2 uses keys that change dynamically, making them nearly impossible to hack. I have enabled WPA2 in my router.

Step 5: Filter MAC addresses
All the Wi-Fi enabled devices have unique MAC(link) address. Unlike IP addresses, MAC address are unique to specific network adapters, so by turning on MAC filtering you can access network to authorized MAC addresses only. MAC address filtering can keep obnoxious and non-tech-savvy neighbors from easily freeloading on your wireless network
For enabling MAC address filtering, first make a list of all your hardware devices that you want to connect to your wireless network. You can find the MAC address for your computers by opening Command Prompt and typing in “ipconfig /all”, which will show your MAC address beside the name “Physical Address”. Then add them to the MAC address filtering in your router’s administrative settings. You can find the MAC addresses of Wireless mobile phones and other portable devices under their network settings, though this will vary for each device.
Although anyone can determine the MAC address of your device using a sniffing tool like Nmap and can change the MAC address of their own computer using another free tool like MAC shift, it does add another hurdle for potential intruders to jump

Step 6: Have security software installed in your PC
Always have  firewall, anti-spyware, antivirus, internet security software installed in your PC. The firewall built into your router prevents hackers on the Internet from getting access to your PC. However it does nothing to stop people in range of your Wi-Fi signal from getting onto your network.

Step 7: Disable remote login.
It isn't hard for a virus/worm to crack the password if the username is known. The good thing is that routers normally have this disabled by default. Be sure to confirm that it is disabled when you first set up your router and periodically thereafter. If you need to update your router setting remotely, only set up access for the time you are going to be connected.

Step 8: Disable wireless administrating 
By changing the setting that allows administrating the router through a wireless connection to 'off' it makes impossible to wireless hacking into the router.

Step 9: Upgrade your Router’s firmware
You should check the manufacturer’s site occasionally to make sure that your router is running the latest firmware. You can find the existing firmware version of your router using from the router’s dashboard at 192.168.*.

By taking these measures, your Wi-Fi Network will be a lot more secure and the intruders will have a hard time intercepting your Wi-Fi signal.Another option is that you open your router’s administration page (using the 192.168.* address) and look for the DHCP Clients Table. Here you will see a list of all computers and wireless devices that are connected to your home network. Also it's wise to turn off your router when not in use.

1 comment:

  1. Too bad we don't have any. Haha! I wish to have. I really want to. Can't browse on my mobile phone, eh. Haha!

    Anyways, such a helpful post!

    Good job, koOpa!