Before moving into securing your home wireless network, there is something I like to share with you. The story goes…
One early morning, around 6:30 a.m., the couple who were still having their tight sleep were shockingly awake when federal agents crashed through the front door of their residence. The husband got off the bed and rushed down stairs to find a group of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (ICE) pointing assault rifle in his face. He was immediately pinned and being in such situation where he was unaware of the ICE acronym printed on their chests, he was frightened and confused, asking over “Who are you?” All he ever heard was screamed slurs like “Pedophile” and “Pornographer”. In the end, the so-called suspect were taken in the interrogation room at one of the government facility and the ICE officers claimed that he downloaded thousands upon thousands of child pornography around 11.30 p.m. the previous night. He denied everything and the ICE officers finally believe his story after he surrendered all the electronic devices such as laptops, iPads and iPhones for their investigation. (Full story)
Tips to Secure Your Home Wireless Network
Tips #1: Create a strong router password
If you do not have a strong router password for your home wireless network, and someone accidentally crack it, then you are doomed. By being able to access your router settings, the attacker can do so many things that you can never imagine. Standard password should not be used and if you have problems creating a strong password, you can refer to this entry on how to create a strong password.
Tips #2: Change your SSID name
SSID name is something like your home wireless network name. When you attempt to connect to your own home wireless network, you will see some names and that is the SSID name. Kindly do not use names such as your street address, your family name, or you car registration number. Anything that can identify that this SSID is from your home should be avoided. You should have a SSID name where anonymous attacker will not be able to identify that the particular SSID name is from your home.
Tips #3: Enable network encryption
Every data transferred around your network should be encrypted. This can be configured at your router setting page. If you do not encrypt your network, there is a possibility that someone is attempting a Man in the Middle attack in your home wireless network. Use WPA (Wireless Protected Access) or WPA2 if possible. If your router does not have that security settings, you can at least use WEP (Wireless Encryption Protocol) although WEP key is rather easier to crack.
Tips #4: Filter MAC address
Every electronic device comes with a unique MAC address. Filtering MAC address can ensure that only the device that you know are allowed to connect into your home wireless network. However, it is also possible to spoof a MAC address and hence filtering MAC address is just another layer of protection but not total protection. You can see your MAC address by going to the command prompt and type “ipconfig /all”.
Tips #5: Reduce home wireless network signal
Unless you are staying in a mansion, you need a super powerful and long network signal. If you are not, do not be so generous by offering people around you a free wireless network connection from your home wireless. Although you can’t reduce accordingly to the size of your home, but at least do not over do the signal strength. Router nowadays comes with a powerful signal strength and if you are just staying in a studio apartment, you can probably reduce the strength by changing the mode for instance from 802.11g to 802.11b.
Secure Home Wireless – Final Say
You don’t want to end up like the couple mentioned above. It is highly recommended to follow the tips above if you really serious to secure your home wireless.