Wireless networks enable the connection of devices together via radio signals instead of using cables or wires. They bring flexibility, convenience, and as you may have guessed – increased risk.
Smartphones and mobile devices that are automatically wireless have their own set of risks and precautions, which you can learn about here.
Securing your home wireless network.
When using Wi-Fi, the absolute minimum security you should enable is wireless encryption and password protection (WPA2 where available, otherwise WPA) on all your devices including your wireless router. Here's why you should secure your home Wi-Fi network from strangers and trespassers:
- An unsecured network means anyone with a Wi-Fi device in your coverage area can access your personal Internet connection and your devices.
- You could be providing "free" Wi-Fi for all your neighbours. Many dishonest users also scout around looking for unsecured Wi-Fi to exploit.
- Trespassers can steal your bandwidth and usage capacity to download large files like movies or games, leaving you stuck with a big bill or restricted usage and download speeds.
- You could be liable for any criminal actions that were conducted using your unsecured network – even if you knew absolutely nothing about it!
- Your unsecured browsing history, passwords and log in info and email content can all be easily accessed.
- Your unsecured shared files can be accessed, copied or deleted.
- Your unsecured Wi-Fi enabled peripherals like printers or video game systems can all be easily accessed.
- Unsecured networks show up immediately as unlocked and vulnerable on wireless network scans on devices. They're easy prey.
- Even a secured WPA2 network can be compromised by a Key reinstallation attack, which can leave sensitive information vulnerable.
Now that you know why securing your Wi-Fi network is so important, here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- When setting the password for your home Wi-Fi network, always follow the guidelines for establishing strong passwords.
- Try to keep your coverage area limited to your house by placing your router as close to the middle of your space as possible, rather than placing near windows.
- • Make sure that every device on your network, including routers, computers, smartphones, and smart devices, have updated software and operating systems to keep your entire network protected.
- Not using wireless encryption? There are two things you can do. First, make sure you enable the SSL encryption in the settings of the sites you visit (like your email). Second, visit the secure HTTPS version of sites and not the unsecure, regular HTTP site by simply adding an ‘S' to the website's URL.
- There are optimal settings for your router to maximize the security that is available to your particular setup. You may have to refer to your router manual or contact your provider.
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