Looking to secure your unsecure Wireless Network?
It is easy to jump onto someone’s unsecured Wi-Fi network. But if you are the owner of an unsecured network, you should know the fact that the world is not made up entirely of honest souls.
It is quite easy for some dishonest people to see exactly what you are doing on your network. Sound Horrible?
Let’s learn How to Secure your Wi-Fi Network through some easy steps.
Step 1) Login to your wireless router
If you’ve never logged into your wireless router, look up the make and model of the router, and find the default IP Address, username, and password, then login.
For example, if your wireless router has a default IP Address of 192.168.1.1, default username of admin, and default password of blank. Login by doing the following:
Open Internet Explorer and type in the address http://192.168.1.1
When prompted, the username would be admin, and the password would be blank.
If the router’s password is still set to the default password, it is important to change this password to someone else so that your network will be safe.
Step 2) Enable MAC Filtering
This is probably the easiest way to keep intruders off of your wireless network, although the least secure.
You can enable a White-list of MAC Addresses and then only the MAC Addresses that you specifically put into this list will be able to use your Wireless. You’ll have to remember this if a friend comes over and tries to use your wireless network
Steps to enable Mac Filtering:-
To enable MAC address filtering, first make a list of all your hardware devices that you want to connect to your wireless network.
Find their MAC addresses, and then add them to the MAC address filtering in your router’s administrative settings.
You can find the MAC address for your computers by opening Command Prompt and typing in “ipconfig /all”, which will show your MAC address beside the name “Physical Address”.
You can find the MAC addresses of Wireless mobile phones and other portable devices under their network settings, though this will vary for each device.
Step 3) Change your Network’s SSID name
The SSID (or Wireless Network Name) of your Wireless Router is usually pre-defined as “default” or is set as the brand name of the router (e.g., linksys). Although this will not make your network inherently more secure, changing the SSID name of your network is a good idea as it will make it more obvious for others to know which network they are connecting to.
This setting is usually under the basic wireless settings in your router’s settings page. Once this is set, you will always be sure that you are connecting to the correct Wireless network even if there are multiple wireless networks in your area.
Don’t use your name, home address or other personal information in the SSID name.
Step 4) Enable Encryption of your network
It’s important to use encryption on your wireless network. Not only does it keep intruders off of the network, it also keeps eavesdroppers from listening in on your network traffic.
Many routers today will offer two or three different security schemes: WEP, WPA, and WPA2. We recommend WPA or WPA2 security since it is more secure than WEP. However, for compatibility with some older devices, such as gaming consoles, TiVo, and other network devices, WEP may be the only security option possible to use.
– This is still the most common type of encryption enabled on most wireless routers. Please note that this can be broken by serious hackers in about 2 minutes, but will keep out most neighbors and passerby’s.
– This is becoming the most common type of encryption and is enabled on most new wireless routers. WPA2 is much more secure than WEP and has not been compromised yet, but is not available on some older types of Wireless Devices.
Steps to Enable Encryption of your network
To enable encryption on your Wireless network, open the wireless security settings on your router’s configuration page.
This will usually let you select which security method you wish to choose; if you have older devices, choose WEP, otherwise go with WPA2.
Enter a passphrase to access the network; make sure to set this to something that would be difficult for others to guess, and consider using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters in the passphrase.
Step 5:- Reduce the Range of the Wireless Signal/ Disable SSID Broadcasting
To help make finding your wireless network easier, wireless routers broadcast your SSID, which means anyone looking for a wireless router could see your SSID.
To help make it more difficult for someone to find your network when browsing for a wireless network, you can disable the SSID broadcast feature.
However, when disabling the SSID broadcast, it will require that you manually enter your router’s unique SSID when wanting to connect any new device to your network.
Note:- It will not protect your network from any serious hackers. It can also make setting up your own devices on your wireless network more difficult. So, it’s good to know how this works, but always use encryption and don’t rely on just disabling SSID broadcasts to keep your network secure
Step 6:- Upgrade your Router’s firmware
You should check the manufacturer’s site occasionally to make sure that your router is running the latest firmware. You can find the existing firmware version of your router using from the router’s dashboard at 192.168.*.
Step 7:- Install Who’s On My Wi-Fi
Download and Install Who Is On My Wifi Software onto a desktop computer that is always on at your home or office.
Who’s On My Wifi acts as a detection engine by scanning your network every few minutes to see if anyone has gotten onto your network.
People could get in by breaking WEP encryption, faking through a MAC Filter, somehow breaking WPA2, or by good old fashioned hard line
plugging into your router directly instead of connecting through the wireless.
Monitoring for intruders is the final step in securing a Wireless Network
Steps to Install Who’s On my Wi-Fi
If you are worried that an outsider may be connecting to the Internet using your Wireless network, try AirSnare – it’s a free utility that will look for unexpected MAC addresses on your Wireless network as well as to DHCP requests.
Another option is that you open your router’s administration page (using the 192.168.* address) and look for the DHCP Clients Table (it’s under Status > Local Network on Linksys routers). Here you will see a list of all computers and wireless devices that are connected to your home network
Additional Wi-Fi Safety Tips
Turn off your Wi-Fi network when it will not be in use for extended periods of time
Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software on the computers that access your wireless network
Don’t assume that public wireless networks are secure
Basically, A wireless network uses radio waves, just like cell phones, televisions and radios do. In fact, communication across a wireless network is a lot like two-way radio communication. Here’s what happens:
A computer’s wireless adapter translates data into a radio signal and transmits it using an antenna.
A wireless router receives the signal and decodes it. The router sends the information to the Internet using a physical, wired Ethernet connection.
The process also works in reverse, with the router receiving information from the Internet, translating it into a radio signal and sending it to the computer’s wireless adapter.
There are various benefits of Wi-Fi(Wireless networks) over Wired Networks:-
1) Increased Mobility
Increased mobility is by far the biggest attraction that wireless networking holds for most businesses. Being able to sit at any terminal, anywhere in the building and access the server is a great advantage.
When laptops were developed, because of the new mobility convenience factor that they brought within them, this gave added impetus to the advantages of being able to work anywhere within range of the wireless network signal. It means that not only can employees now access information from the server, wherever they are in the premises, but it also enables colleagues to collaborate and share information in meetings held anywhere; either in a corner of the office, a bespoke meeting room, or even the staff canteen. It enables total mobility.
2) Enabling BYOD
The increased mobility factor both enables and facilitates the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, which more and more businesses are now taking advantage of. Laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones that belong to individual employees are now being brought into the workplace and are being given access rights to the wireless network. As well, as making it more convenient for employees to carry out their tasks, BYOD also represents a potential cost saving, as businesses no longer have to fund the hardware cost of the devices themselves.
Another important by-product of the increased mobility factor is that it promotes increased productivity, allowing employees to collaborate where and when they need to. It brings freedom of operation and speeds up the working process. But there is another factor too, and that is that employees take their device’s home with them, and can work, (as many do), in their own time when it’s convenient to do so.
Public Wi-Fi – Hotspots
Wireless networking has also gone into the public domain, with Wi-Fi hotspots being available in many high street coffee shops, hotels, railway stations, airports, universities, hospitals, etc. It enables people to get onto the Internet when they’re away from the office, or away from home. People can pick up their emails, both social and business, and if their place of work allows, can also connect into the business network remotely.
One of the inherent problems with a wireless network is coping with expansion. Having to add additional cabling, and reroute existing cables, can be a disruptive and costly process. Whilst every company should plan ahead when installing a wireless network, it is almost impossible to forecast future requirements accurately unless sound planning is carried out.
There’s no such problem with a wireless network. Being able to add new users is no more difficult than having to issue a new password, and update the server accordingly. It’s fast, and it’s relatively convenient. It also means that offices can be relocated within the building with consummate ease, furniture can be readily moved around, and, of course, employees can sit wherever they need to.
Not only is it so much more convenient to add new users to a wireless network, but it seldom involves any additional expenditure.
Having a wireless network also means that a business can provide secure network access to visiting colleagues from other sites within the organisation. It enables them to access the data they need and pick up and respond to their emails.
It also grants Internet access to visiting customers and suppliers. It’s now something that most business people who have reason to travel, have come to expect. It’s also how most public Wi-Fi hotspots grant Internet access to their guests.
Another one of the benefits of having a wireless network is that it can be used to make telephone calls using voice over Internet protocol. VoIP calls are often free, depending on the country and the devices you are calling, and are considerably cheaper than using conventional technology to make international calls.
Wi-Fi is Cost Effective
Using wireless technology rather than having a hard wired network can be much more cost-effective. The larger the network, both in terms of area and users, the more expensive a hard wired network will be to install. It’s not just the amount of cabling, but the actual cost of the labour to install the raceways, and chase the cabling all through the premises; through walls, up and down different floors etc.
Once a wireless network is in place, and even if it costs a little more initially to install, maintenance costs are lower, and there are normally no additional costs involved in scaling up, unless the signal needs to be boosted.
Health and Safety
Because there are no wires involved with a wireless connection, the potential risk of tripping over any trailing cables that wired connectivity requires, can be avoided altogether.
This is all about How To Secure Your Wi-Fi Network, hope these above steps will be helpful for you. In case of any confusion or assistance in any step you can contact PPCCHAMP! We will love to hear from you.