Most people don’t really realize the risk of leaving their wireless network wide open. I think they understand that it means that anyone can use their internet connection, but I don’t think they understand the issues beyond that. Honestly, here’s what an open wireless network allows a hacker to do:
- One can sniff all of your information going out to the internet including credit card numbers, social security numbers, pictures, chats, everything.
- One can browse through your files, email, etc. Let’s hope you don’t have any risqué pictures on your computer of yourself, because if you do, one can have them, too
- One can take over your computer, your web cam, your mic. So, not only will one can see all of your communications, can also be able to listen to you and watch you when you’re not even ON the computer
- And worst of all, one can commit crimes online and have you take the heat for them because your internet connection is being used.
Are you taking wireless security seriously yet? Apply the following simple steps to mitigate your exposure.
- Create a strong router administrator password – If a wireless router does not have a strong password and someone able to crack the password from the outside, the network security can be compromised. By letting the unauthorized outsider to have the authority to access the router administration settings, one can do so many things up to even take control of the entire network. As a result, it is not safe to use a weak password especially the default administrator credentials.
- Turn of SSID – When connecting to any wireless network, the operating system will load the entire list of SSID names which are within the range of the person who connects. look into how to turn off SSID broadcasting. If hacker war driving and your SSID doesn’t pop up, hacker won’t be targeting it.
- Enable network encryption – Visit the website of the vendor of your wireless equipment and learn how to enable WPA level security. No, it’s not perfect, but if a hacker faced with a house that has a WEP secured wireless and one that’s using WPA, hacker will choose the WEP network every time. Every piece of data transferred around the network should be encrypted where it can be configured in the router settings. If the network is not encrypted, there is a possibility that someone will attempt a ‘Man in the Middle’ attack in the network. It is recommended to use Wireless Protect Access encryption or Wireless Protect Access II encryption.
- Filter MAC address – Every electronic device comes with a unique MAC address. Filtering MAC address can ensure that only the specific device that the owner of a wireless network recognized is allowed to connect into the network.
- Reduce wireless signal strength – There is no reason for wireless signal strength to be super strong unless the network is deployed in a mansion. Therefore it is advisable not to be so generous by offering free wireless network connection to all the people who do not live in your house. Routers today can come with very powerful signal strength and if the wireless network signal is just for a studio apartment size, you can reduce the strength by changing the mode from 802.11g to 802.11b.