Wireless routers have become a mainstream product in the past few years, but are users taking the necessary steps to protect their wireless connection? The consequences of not having the correct safe guards in place can be dire. But those safe guards are generally very easy and are something that users of wireless routers should not overlook.
With the explosion in broadband penetration, use of the Internet has grown massively. It is relatively common for households to have more then one computer. It is also common for people to own laptops and want to access the internet from anywhere in their home. A wireless router allows households to connect to the internet from more then one computer at a time, and it allows people to access the internet without the need to be physically connected to a cable.
However, many consumers do not fully understand the need to protect this wireless connection. One of the main culprits is people who do not set a password on their wireless router. This means that anyone within range can access the internet or their computer from their wireless router. The following is just some of the consequences of this:
- ID theft
- Copying bank details as the user types them (key stroke logging)
- Viewing illegal sites
- Stealing bandwidth
- Changing or deleting files
It is usually very straightforward to set up the correct security settings on a wireless router. Consumers are advised to allow follow the manufacturers instructions, as they may vary. Security settings for the wireless router can typically be accessed via included software, or a specific URL that you can visit.
The first thing that all consumers should do is to set a different username and password to the default. This should be something personal that others will not be able to guess.
Most wireless routers have built in encryption. This should always be turned on. If the wireless router and devices are built to the wireless B standard, then the encryption should be set to WEP. If the router and devices are the newer wireless G standard, then the encryption should be set to a more powerful WPA. Setting the encryption will prevent anyone else from accessing the wireless router without the encryption key. This is a very powerful security measure and is almost impossible for an intruder to get around.
Some wireless routers come with MAC address filtering. This means that only computers and devices that are specified can access the wireless router. Turning on MAC filtering offers another layer of protection.
Failing to protect a wireless router from hackers and intruders can lead to very serious consequences. But putting the correct security measures in place is very straightforward. Always follow the manufacturers instructions. Ensure a personal username and password is set. Turn on encryption and add the encryption key to each computer and device. Set MAC filtering if available.