Wi-Fi or wireless connections are being used to a greater extent today. The WLAN or wireless local area networks are used in offices just as much as cabled networks are. However increasingly popular they are, they also present security risks. Wireless networks send signals through the air, and not through secure cables.
This allows infiltration into your network by outsiders with malicious intent to join your network. A practice known as wardriving, wherein an individual or a group can hack into your system and steal personal information from you such as passwords, social security information and the like, is feared by many big industries running their businesses with wireless networks. They can also use your account to send spam or malicious software which can be traced back to you.
So, what can you do to protect your wireless connection?
Change passwords from your router or access point of your network. Most of these routers come with pre-set passwords, which most of the hackers can figure out. Make sure that you change it with a strong password and only a few people from your office who need to know would know.
Turn off your SSID (Service Set Identifier). Do not broadcast it. Just as mentioned above, they come with default SSIDs, already assigned by the manufacturer. If it’s turned off, it won’t give a signal to any device making its presence known.
Change your SSID from your router. This is easy for hackers to identify so even if your SSID is turned off, they may still be able to access your network. Make sure that you use special characters and make it long when renaming it so it will be harder to identify.
Use encryption softwares. What does encryption do? It scrambles your data or messages in your network. Most of the routers already come with encryption so you’ll just have to turn it on. If you don’t have one, then make sure you purchase one. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) are used with WPA being the stronger one.
Restrict access. Make a list of specific computers that can gain access to your network by enabling MAC (Media Access Control) Address filtering. This is like having a guest list, allowing only those registered on the list to get in.
Install a firewall and anti-virus software. Also make sure that you have both updated regularly. In case your network was accessed by a hacker, the firewall can add another layer of protection and your anti-virus software can do damage control for you for the harm that the hacker was able to inflict on your system.
Turn off your wireless network when not in use. If you’re not using it, it’s best to just turn it off as this would minimize the time that you may have your system vulnerable to hackers.
Position your router in a strategic place. Your wireless network has a certain range so you have to decrease the signal outside of your intended area of coverage. You place it at the center of your office, away from the windows.
When using a wireless network, make use of certain precautions mentioned above to protect your system.