Secure Your Wireless Home Network: Routers and Access Points

We don't blame you is you're confused when it come to setting up security features on your wireless home network, especially since configuring security settings on today's WiFi networking products can be time-consuming and non-intuitive. That's why we're here to help. Since the router or access point is the heart of your network, you can start establishing security there. Here are some things you should do to ensure stronger security of your router or access point.


Change the Default Administrator Login Information

To set up routers and access points, most manufacturers provide you with web pages where you can enter your network address and account information. These pages have login screens that are password protected, so that only the rightful owner can access or change this information. However, the default logins provided are simple and well known to hackers. That's why you should change your login information (username and password) immediately after setup.


Change the Default SSID

All access points and routers use a name, called an SSID, to identify themselves and their networks. However, manufacturers tend to use the same default SSID on all their products. When hackers see a default SSID, they see it as a poorly configured network that will be easy to break into. They are therefore much more likely to attack networks that still have their default SSID. Change your SSID immediately when you are configuring your wireless security.


Disable SSID Broadcast

In a WiFi network, wireless access points or routers automatically broadcast their SSIDs (network names) over the air at regular intervals. This is designed for businesses and hotspots that have clients roaming in and out of range. However this is not necessary for a home network and it increases the chances that someone will try to login to your home network. So disable the SSID broadcast feature of your WiFi access point.


Enable MAC Address Filtering

Every piece of equipment you attach to your wireless network has a unique identifier called the physical address, or MAC address. Access points and routers keep track of the MAC addresses of all devices connected to them. They also let the administrator restrict the network to only allow connections from those MAC addresses that you specify. This means outsiders will have a harder time accessing to your network. Make sure you use this option to specify only those MAC addresses that are allowed to access the network.


Enable Firewalls

Most routers or access points have built-in firewall capability, but they also give you the option to disable firewalls. Make sure that your router's firewalls are enabled.


Use Safe Positioning

WiFi signals can reach outside of your home, which is ok in small amounts, but the further your signal leaks outside your home the easier it is for others to detect and exploit it. You can minimize the leakage of your signal through careful positioning of your router or access pint. Place these devices near the center of your home and away from windows.


Turn Off the Network When Not in Use

Shutting down the network will prevent others from breaking in for sure! While it may not be practical to turn your devices off and on frequently, do so when you plan to be offline for extended periods, such as when you are on vacation.


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You can protect your computer from viruses without expensive software. Instead, follow these simple tips:

Stay up-to-date on all system updates.

Don't download any email attachments you weren't expecting.

Avoid freeware and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

Use alternative web browsers and email software.