Surveys have shown that 82% of wireless home broadband users believe that their wireless network is secure and protected. But, time and again, research has proved that to be wishful thinking.
For example, a recent study which tracked 40,000 networks in six UK cities found that just under half didn’t have a password and no, or only very basic, security encryption that can be hacked within seconds.
It’s not just a privacy concern either; allowing hijackers on your wi-fi could slow your connection significantly. So what can you do? Here are three simple things that take just five minutes and will leave your wireless broadband network much more secure.
1. Change WEP password to WPA:
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was the old standard method of encrypting wireless networks. The idea is that the router generates a random sequence of letters and numbers – either 10 or 26 characters long – and that becomes the network password.
Sounds secure and, for a while, it was but it turned out that breaking the technology was a walk in the park for hackers. Don’t believe me? Try Googling ‘hack WEP connection‘. Scary isn’t it?
That’s why WiFi Protected Access (WPA) and WPA2 are now the standard form of protection for newer wireless routers. As well as many in-built security improvements, WPA means that you can choose your own password for the network, making it potentially much more secure.
In short, if you have a choice, always choose WPA. If your router only allows WEP connections that’s better than nothing but it may be time to upgrade.
2. VID (that’s very important devices):
Most routers now allow users to set an ‘access list‘ of specific devices which can gain access to the wireless network. All routers do this slightly differently so I’m not going to go into too much detail but, in general, entering the router’s IP address into your browser and then look in the advanced settings to find a way to set a list of allowed devices.
Some routers also allow you to simply check a box saying that new devices are not allowed to join the network. That’s ideal if you only really have one or two devices using the wi-fi.
3. Change your SSID:
Your SSID is the name you see when you search for wireless networks in the local area. You can usually configure your router so that the network name isn’t broadcast at all but that’s not so convenient if you’re looking to connect devices yourself.
Another deterrent to hackers is simply to change the SSID network name from whatever the factory setting is. That shows that you’ve changed your wireless network setting and makes your network look more secure right from the off.
Guest Author: This is a guest article by Julia Cook who is a staff writer for Choose.net, a consumer site that helps users to compare broadband deals. The site also features guides on topics such as where to get the best mobile broadband for iPad.