Why you need to secure your wifi from un-authorized users, and why you shouldn’t let your neighbours use your connection.
It has been a while since my last post, I have been busy setting up a new hosting company (www.idolizedhosting.com – Shameless plug).
I have had a few customers latley talking about wifi passwords. I have heard a few statements that really could put them in jeopardy.
- I don’t need a password
- I’ll just use “password” as a password
- I share my internet with my neighbours
Each of these statements carries problems that can come back to haunt you
You need to secure your wifi to ensure your data is protected and private.
without a secure wifi anyone can login to your network and use your internet connection. This can cause issues, the very least there using your allotted bandwidth. Imagine your trusted neighbours logging in, and streaming Netflix every night. By the time your monthly bill comes in you realize its 3X your normal amount for bandwidth overages. Not too much you can do about this unless you can prove it wasn’t you, Remember even if you can prove it your ISP may still hold you liable for the charges because your terms of service more than likely have a statement saying you are responsible for all usage on your IP address.
Second point is similar with a weak password, if anyone guesses it they can do the same thing technically. Maybe this time they decide to download pirated movies from the internet, and get the authorities involved once your IP address is flagged for illegal activities. Sounds harsh, but the possibility is there.
Decide to secure it and then share it voluntarily with your neighbours?
Imagine this… Cops busting in with sub machine guns, shove them in your face, tackle you to the floor, wrench your arms behind your back, and handcuff you, for something your neighbour did… “Oops! Wrong house!” The SWAT team was looking for your neighbor, who actually was downloading something VERY VERY illegal… over YOUR network.
Don’t think it can happen to you?
“ALVA, Fla. – Deputies arrested Candice Miller only after they raided the wrong house. Investigators busted into the neighbors’ house suspecting they were sending child porn. Turns out Miller’s neighbors didn’t secure their wireless Internet connection.”
Ok so you have the best neighbours in the world, and they wouldn’t do anything like that. Another scenario is passerby’s accessing your network, this time they are not interested in your internet connection at all, they connect to the network, and browse your network for your shared folders. Oh look, you have a couple PC’s online and visible, whats this folder here, 2013 Tax Return inside your Documents folder you just shared so you can update your resume on your laptop. There goes your identity, stolen, and now there’s credit cards in your name you don’t know about.
So How Do You Secure your wifi internet connection?
- Put a passkey on the wireless connection. You do this on both the wi-fi access point, AND the computer, so they can talk to each other. Nobody else can connect to your wi-fi without the passkey.
- Do NOT use any of the default passwords or account names. ALWAYS change them. Default passwords are the first ones hacker will try to access your network.
- Use a “strong” passkey, a combination of upper and lower-case, with some numbers, and if permitted, some punctuation marks, at least 8 characters long.
- Keep the passkey safely HIDDEN. A passkey that anyone in your room can find is not secret at all.
- Change the passkey periodically, maybe once every few months.
- Change the passkey when something about your network changes. A friend is no longer friend, a computer was added or removed, and so on.
- Use separate logins and passwords for different accounts, else if you lose one password you lose them all.
- Turn OFF SSID broadcast, so Wi-Fi scanners can’t pick them up. They’ll see a network, but they need to know the SSID before they can even attempt to connect to it.
- Change the SSID every few months, along with passkey changes
- Use the more secure protocol. WPA/WPA2 is more secure than the older WEP.
- Turn on firewall on the router. It won’t stop a determined attack, but it should discourage most amateur hackers looking for free connections.
- Make sure all PC’s on the network also have firewalls. Windows have a built-in one, and you can download Comodo Firewall and other firewalls free. Even if they manage to get into your network, you don’t want them to compromise one of the PC’s on your network.
- Limit hours of access, if practical. No reason to have active Internet when you’re not home, is there?
- (ADVANCED) If possible, limit the transmitter power in the access point, so the signal does not cover the entire neighborhood, but just your house.
Secure That Network!
It takes no more than a few minutes to secure your wireless network, and you can save a LOT of trouble down the line.
Life is complicated already. Don’t borrow trouble.
Do you think your network is unsecured? Give us a call for an evaluation, and setup a secure network for your family.