Protect your Wi-Fi network from hackers

An unprotected wireless network is incredibly easy to hack. It's essential that you protect your Wi-Fi LAN from hardcore hackers, not to mention nosy neighbours. Good wireless security isn't hard to implement, either, provided you know which steps to take.

In this quick six-step tutorial, we'll show you how to implement security measure to protect your Wi-Fi network. To demonstrate we'll be using Windows XP, a wireless router and related software.

Step One: Change the default password
Default passwords for popular routers and access points are easy to find online, so therefore, it is essential that you change the default password as soon as you install a WiFi device. To do so, launch your wireless hardware's setup software and enter a new password.

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Step Two: Change the default SSID
Change the default SSID, which is your network's name. Load your router's setup software, look for the SSID name and change it to one that doesn't describe your location or other personal info.

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Step Three: Disable SSID broadcast
By default, your Wi-Fi network broadcasts its name to all wireless users within range. With broadcast disabled, your network is invisible to your neighbours.

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Step Four: Activate encryption
Go to Start/Control Panel/Wireless Network Setup Wizard. If this is a new Wi-Fi LAN, check "Set up a new wireless network." Enter SSID and complete Network Setup Wizard.

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Step Five: Use MAC address filtering
Use MAC address filtering to create a list of devices that can access your network or PC. To determine what your MAC address is, select Start/Run and type cmd and then ipconfig/all on the command line. Hit Enter. The "Physical Address" is your MAC address.

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Step Six: Enter MAC address into network software
The MAC address you found in the previous step can be added to a select list of devices that can access your LAN. This is done in your router's setup software (if MAC address filtering is supported).

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epd2008 posted a comment   

WEP and WPA are both too weak to offer any real security. The only person who will be hiding their SSID is the attacker so even if you check your WiFi logs it'll only look like you've been the only person using it. You want security stick with the hard-line cable and turn off the WiFi.


wyvern posted a comment   

I agree with David. It is very easy to spoof MAC addresses and scan for Wireless signals. Force a re-handshake and, BINGO, you have the SSID in clear text. WPA and WPA2 with authentication is the only way to go at the moment as WPA can also be hacked now


David Johnston posted a comment   

This is a rather misleading tutorial. Most of the steps above will not secure your wireless network. Hiding the SSID, MAC address filtering, and encrytion using WEP are a waste of time.

There are only 2 very important steps to take to secure a wireless network.
(1) Enable WPA (or WPA2).
(2) Choose a STRONG password (a lengthy password of random characters - Google "strong password" for more information).
WPA can only be open via a "brute force" attack. The longer and more random the password, the greater the protection.

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