Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Responsible WiFi

It's come to my attention that there are a lot of people who don't understand the responsibility that comes with owning a WiFi connection.  I know, it's all shiny and new when you attach that wired Internet service to a wireless router and now you can surf the web from your front porch.  However, if you don't secure it then so can everyone else.

Here are just a few reasons why you need to secure your WiFi:

1.  Everyone who uses it is essentially you

That's right.  You are ultimately responsible for every person you allow to use your WiFi connection.  All activity that occurs on your WiFi will trace back to you.  Illegal music downloads, child pornography, missile launch codes...all YOU.  Trust me when I say you don't want to be responsible for what so random Joe downloads using your wide open WiFi connection.

2.  It's easy to steal from you

Someone with full access to your computer network can walk right in and just take whatever is flying around on it.  A script kiddie with your run of the mill packet sniffer (I'm not explaining all that) can pick up your email password, your Facebook password, your Apple ID, and even your bank transactions.

3.  If you're a business it could end up costing you

There's nothing wrong with business wanting to provide free WiFi.  Unless of course that free, open WiFi is a full fledged member of the business' internal network.  If you do any sort of file sharing you're putting your company secrets at risk and comprising the security of every computer on your network.

If you plugged in a router right out the the box or your simply reset one then chances are you're WiFi is unsecured and open to all.  If I've made my case, here's what you need to do to secure your WiFi.

  • Put a passkey on the wireless connection.  Modern routers make it easy to turn this option on.  Once a passkey has been set no one can connect to your wireless network without it.
  • Change the login username and password for your router.  It's simple to located and log in to the router once it's been located on your network.  Finding the default username and password for the router is a Google search away.
  • Make sure your passkey is strong (using combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers should accomplish this) and don't hand that passkey out to just anyone.  You should be in control of who you let access your wireless connection.
  • If your router is equipped with a firewall make sure you turn it on.
There are a lot more things you can do to keep your wireless network secure, but these few steps are the basics.

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