Do you use a Wireless network in your home? They are great in terms of flexibility, but you do need to protect your network against hackers. Lots of people assume their home router is not at any risk, but that is not correct.

Wireless networks use radio waves, which can pass through walls, so your network’s signal may reach beyond your home. You can see this when you turn on your Wi-Fi on your computer and you can see other wireless networks. If you can see other networks, then other people can see your network. Fortunately, protecting your network from threats is relatively easy and only takes a few steps. He is some rudimentary information to help you protect your data.

Securing your network is really important and only takes a few steps.

Securing your network is really important and only takes a few steps.

Hardware

Depending upon your needs, a mid-level or high-end router may cost you anything from $50 to $250. Home routers tend to be less expensive, but still offer essential features such as wireless encryption, built-in firewall and Ethernet ports for a wired connection.

When you set up your router, there will be a ‘wizard’ to assist you in the setup process; this will include information on setting up some basic security features. Once your setup is complete you can, if you wish, change your security settings quite easily. This can be done by entering the router’s IP (Internet Protocol) address into a web browser, followed by the default username and password (if you haven’t changed it).

Passwords

Once you are logged into your router, creating a unique password is key. A combination of numbers and letters is best, but ensure your password is unique and something you are not going to forget. Now you can change the SSID/Wireless Network Name, this is the next step to securing a router, as most routers have the firms’ name out of the box. This would typically indicate that a user has not setup any security features and the router is easier to access. The SSID will be found under the basic wireless controls on your router’s settings page. Now you can create a unique network name; this in itself will not make a router locked-down secure but it is a step in the right direction. You can even ‘mask’ your SSID so it will not be broadcasted.

Next up, you should enable network encryption to prevent other computers in the local area from using your Internet connection and protect data that is transmitted on the network. There are several encryption types for wireless settings, including Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2). The basic encryption of WEP is the least secure and to be honest, you shouldn’t use as it can be easily cracked. Out of WPA and WPA2, WPA2 the most secure is WPA2. Users can enable these encryptions by opening the wireless security settings on their router’s configuration page. You should choose a pass-phrase, which is easy for you to remember, but is difficult for others to guess. If anyone wants to access your network they will then have to enter this password.