8 Tips to Keep Your Home Wireless Network Secure From Hackers: a guest post from Wichly Cazeau

We all know to well the important information we keep on our PC, laptop, smartphone or tablets. Credit card numbers, online transactions statements, home address and phone numbers. The list can be endless!

It has never been more important these days to make sure our wireless networks are secure. We've come up with some tips to help you keep your network and your information safe from hackers online.

First thing is, know how your wireless network works. Many home PC networks have a router with a wireless component.

Here's what you should consider with wireless security to ensure a safe internet connection.

If you use a broadband internet connection, you should have access to a wireless network. All Internet service providers (ISPs) nowadays include routers with wireless capabilities for all users.

Keep in mind, having more wireless availability does raise security concerns. For example, when we say the term wireless, we are referring to the Access Point of the Internet.

With a DSL modem or cable to a Wi-Fi router, you'll have signal over the air up to one hundred feet. Many computers within reach will also be able to pick signals over the air to use the Internet.

If anyone near you home or office has a Wi-Fi device in hand such as a mobile or a system, they can access your network. They'll be able to have access to important information from your PC within a blank of an eye. Any hacker online will enter your network.

Here’s what you'll need to know to keep your Wi-Fi Internet access secure.

Know The Network Basics:

Many ISP routers will allow you to create a home network or office network by just connecting devices. With a wireless receiver card you can connect your PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. But, keep in mind that you can still use a wired connection via Ethernet cables if you choose.

The distance a wireless signal can take to detect will depend on the router's signal strength. The many devices that's using it in your home or office will also play a big role on the signal.

Now, standard routers can provide a signal strong enough for anyone in your home or office to use. But, if the signal is weak say on the first floor or in the basement, you will need a wireless amplifier. A signal booster can also be another option to take care of this problem.

The Data Transfer Speeds:

The connection speed will also depend on your router. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), have developed the 802.11. This is the original, which support a data transfer rate of up to 2 megabits per second (Mbps). (But, is no longer being use). The 802.11b, uses 2.4 gigahertz radio frequency and can go up to 11 Mbps. It's comparable to the basic ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line). Now, the 802.11g offers a speed of up to 54 Mbps. The 802.11n has a rates of 100 Mbps. And the 802.11a/c can reach up to 1.3 gigabytes per second. Although, these speeds are maximums they are not guaranteed by any means. It will come down to the number of network users, the distance from the source and the many devices.

The Network Access:

Wireless signals spread in all directions. So, it is possible for someone living nearby to detect your home or office wireless network. It's important your network have a password, to avoid anyone having access to it.

Here's a trick you can use to find out who's using your network. First, turn off all your wireless devices in your home or office. Next, do a quick check of your routers instruction manual for the Web Address. Find your router login and password, then enter them in the Web Address. Even though, all models will differ, look for a “security” or “connection settings” tab. That will show you how many users are connect to your network. If all your devices are off and you see a connection, then someone else is using your wireless.

Here's how to improve your security:

To improve your wireless security, follow these tips and create a strong password.

  • At least eight to ten characters
  • Letters (include capitals)
  • Numbers
  • Special symbols
  • Never share your password
  • Change your password every 30-60 days
  • Avoid online banking and big online purchases
  • Run routine antivirus and malware-detection software

What is Encryption and how it works:

Encryption send information through the Internet in codes, making it difficult for people to get. So, with encryption, you can protect your home network or office network from hackers. All wireless router offers connection encryption.

They are two types of encryption:

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WAP 2)

By all means, all wireless networks have different levels of data encryption. That's why it's important you look for WPA 2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2). There's the old routers that use WEP (Wire Equivalent Privacy) standard protection. But, this is a poor decision since its fundamentally broken. That means hackers can break-in to a WEP-protected network using any hacking suite. This would be an unwise choice if you was to use it. That's why it's important you go with WPA 2 since it offers more protection. It is the strongest encryption that can secure your network from an experienced hacker.

For small businesses, it may be suitable to use WPA with a pre-shared key. All employees will use the same password to connect but the network security will depend on them. It also means that they shouldn't share the password with any outsiders. The password should change every time an employee leaves the company.

Many Wi-Fi routers offer a feature call Wireless Protect Setup (WPS). This feature provide an easy way to connect devices to a WPA protected wireless network. This can be exploit by intruders and hackers to retrieve WPA password. So, it's important you disable the WPS in the router's settings.

With larger companies it does make more sense to use WPA in enterprise mode. This allows each user to have their own username and password to connect to the Wi-Fi network. It also makes it much easier to manage when employees are leaving, as you can just delete old accounts. To use use WPA in enterprise mode, you'll have to run a server like RADUIS.

Keep in mind that many encryption features in Wi-Fi routers are turn off. It is important you turn your encryption features on. Just follow the steps in your manual after you buy your router.

Be Cautious:

Contact a PC professional if you need help or are not comfortable with setting up you wireless router. These tips do not guarantee complete protection from hackers, but they do increase it. The last thing you want to happen is, a hacker gaining access to your wireless network.

If this was to happen, the hacker or intruder can steal data and even read passwords and usernames. I'm sure you wouldn't want anyone having access your accounts.

Using these tips can protect your data as well anyone else who uses your wireless network.

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Wichly Cazeau is the founder of Tydynics. Tydynics, a site that sells wireless security cameras. He enjoy reading and teaching Entrepreneurship and Motivation.