ISPreview - Top 10 Wireless (Wi-Fi) Security Tips
Top 10 Wireless (Wi-Fi) Security Tips
By: Mark Jackson - July 21st, 2008 : Page 1 -of- 5
"Sadly this explosion of wireless networking exposes more personal networks to the threat of hacking attempts than ever before"

In a recent study conducted by YouGov for Linksys, a global manufacturer of networking hardware and division of Cisco, 59% of home broadband users were found to be running a wireless (Wi-Fi) network. Not that we needed any proof of its popularity, ISPs have been churning out free Wi-Fi equipped routers for years and almost every modern gadget that money can buy now seems to include it.

Sadly this explosion of wireless networking exposes more personal networks to the threat of hacking attempts than ever before. By sharing our information wirelessly we risk opening a dangerous backdoor into once private networks, hence it is important to make sure you’re doing everything possible to stay secure.

To help readers achieve this we’ve published a list of 10 simple security tips for wireless networks, which starts with the most obvious of all (note: example screenshots were all taken using a Linksys WAG300N router, your settings may differ):

1. Disable Wireless (Wi-Fi) and use a Wired Network.

People typically use a wireless network to avoid the clutter of wires, though some modern routers and computers still come with it ENABLED by default, regardless of whether you intend to use it or not. Suffice to say that wireless should only be used when and where you actually need it, while a wired network is often faster and more secure by nature of having an isolated physical presence.

Thankfully most routers will offer you a simple DISABLE option somewhere, usually in quite a prominent place. The following example was taken of a feature feature on our Linksys WAG300N wireless router.

Disable router wireless (Wi-Fi)
Fig.1a - Example of a routers disable wireless feature.

It is important to disable your client computers wireless too because both are equally open to abuse and laptop users may also benefit from lower power consumption. Most Windows based PC’s will offer a simple DISABLE option when you right click the network device and some laptops also include a physical switch:

Disable windows wireless (Wi-Fi)
Fig.1b - Example of a WindowsXP's client-side disable feature.

Note: those seeking wireless style flexibility but with fewer cables might like to try HomePlug / Powerline networking, which uses your buildings power cables to transmit a local area network that is accessible through existing power sockets.

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