How to secure your Wireless Network

Wireless Network Security

It’s time for a Wireless Network tune-up

Wireless network, or Wi-Fi networks, have become the new de facto standard, making it easy to use the Internet on your computer, mobile phones, tablets and other wireless devices anywhere in the house without the clutter of cables.

With traditional wired networks, it is extremely difficult for someone to steal your bandwidth, but the big problem with Wi-Fi signals is that others can access the Internet using your broadband connection even while they are in a neighboring building or sitting in a car that’s parked outside your home.

Pioneer Internet understand that Wi-Fi security is important to everyone because no one wants hackers in their network stealing data or stealing precious bandwidth that they pay good money for. Let’s look at some steps you can take to lock down your Wi-Fi network.

Turn on WPA2 Encryption on Your Wireless Router

Set up your Wi-Fi network many moons ago, and haven’t changed any settings since then? Chances are you’re using the outdated Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption which is easily hacked by the most novice hacker.

Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) is the current standard and is much more hacker-resistant. Depending on how old your Wi-Fi router is, you may need to upgrade its firmware to add WPA2 support. If the firmware upgrade wont add support for WPA2, then it might be time to invest in a new router.

Change your Wireless Network Name

The SSID (Wireless Network Name) of the router usually defaults to the brand name of the router (e.g., linksys). This setting is usually under the basic wireless settings in your router’s settings page. Don’t use your name, home address or other personal information in the SSID name.

Create a Really Long Wireless Network Password

In conjunction with creating a strong Wi-Fi network name, you should choose a strong password for your network. Consider setting your wireless network’s password to a length of 16 or more characters. It might be a pain to type in a super long password, but since most Wi-Fi enabled devices save this password, you’ll only have to put up with this once per device, which is a small price to pay for the added security it provides.

Enable and Test Your Wireless Router’s Firewall

Most Wi-Fi routers have a built-in firewall that should protect your internal network against outside attacks. You should consider enabling and configuring the built-in firewall (see your router manufacturer’s support site for details). For further protection, make sure to install a firewall software on your PC as well.

Update your Wireless Router’s Firmware

Just like with your operating system and other software, people find security holes in routers all the time to exploit. When the router manufacturers know about these exploits, they plug holes by issuing new software for the router, called firmware. Check router settings every month or so to see if you need an update, then run their upgrade.

Turn Off Remote Administration Feature

Prevent hackers from taking control of the admin features of your router by turning off the “admin via wireless” setting. Disabling this ensures that only connecting to the router via Ethernet cable will allow access to administrative functions. This helps prevent hackers from trying to turn off other security features such as wireless encryption and your firewall.

 

If you’re using these methods above, rest easy knowing you’re most likely doing your best to secure your home network. For our Pioneer Internet customers who have our ZyXEL routers, support documents on how to make these changes can be found here. For those who do not have a ZyXEL router, you can use Google to find the manuals for most routers online in case you lost the printed manual that came with your router purchase