Wi-Fi technology has widely spread around the nooks and corners of the global. With the increase in the Wi-Fi (802.11 ac) users security concerns are arising all the time. Installing a WiFi networks either at home or at work place demands precautionary measures to keep the system safe and secure. You must have observed the accessibility of Wi-Fi hotspots around houses and in offices. Most of the users do not bother to close or protect their hotspots while letting the passersby make use of their hotspots for accessing internet. Most of the unauthorized users would not mean any harm to your system but you should know the hazards and the tips to secure your Wi-Fi. Before opening it to others
Your Hot Spot Must Abide by ISP Terms of Service : The sharing of bandwidth is often banned by the broadband service providers. The terms of service quote such prohibitions so make sure to read the manual of ISP before signing up.
Change the password of your Base Station
Most of the Wi-Fi routers have the default password that is same for all set ups such as ADMIN or 123. An easy to guess or common password would make your wireless router settings vulnerable to attacks from hackers. Before opening your Wi-Fi to others, change the default password. This is the most common mistake laymen do and completely ignore the importance of wifi security.
Your Computer as well as Your Network is Secure
You have to assign a password to your system that is not common but easy to remember for you. In case of home computer, having the password is vital because you would never like to know that people are using your Wi-Fi for an easy access to your personal data.
Pro Tip : In Macintosh OS X (10.2) go to Accounts or My Accounts to open System Preference in order to set your password. For Windows XP / Win 7 , go to Control Panel and assign password via User Accounts.
Securing your Wi-Fi for Outsiders
If you want to secure your home wifi network to outsiders then you should follow following tips to limit strangers’ access.
Avoid Broadcasting your SSID
No matter of which brand, all Wi-Fi base stations (Rounters) by default, broadcast their presence to all Wi-Fi modems within its range for SSID (Service Set Identifier). For hiding the SSID, reconfigure the router to abandon access to random passerby. However if an outsider identifies the name of your Wi-Fi network then he or she could gain access of your Wi-Fi but this simple precaution would keep away most of the traffic intruders.
Scramble the Password of Your Wireless Network
Encryption or scrambling of a wireless network password is a securer way to stay out of strangers. Any person who intends to use your Wi-Fi would be asked for the password and would not get access unless he or she provides the accurate encrypted password. WEP (Wireless Equivalent Privacy) in older base stations helps in scrambling password. A mediocre dis-interested hacker would not be able to access your Wi-Fi but a determined hacker could break into the privacy. The modern base stations have WPA (Wireless Protected Access), a new encryption protocol.
Each computer has a distinct MAC (machine access code) address. You should consider configuring your wireless router to give access only to your computer MAC addresses. The settings of router have sections in which you can type the MAC addresses that would have the access. Guessing a MAC address is next to impossible, hence your network would be secured.
Sending Information Over Wi-Fi
The most important thing about securing Wi-Fi is to remember that whether you have closed or open your Wi-Fi network. As long as you are transmitting or receiving data you are at a risk of losing your information. Accessing web pages or opening emails on a Wi-Fi connection is like sending information in the air that any hacker could easily grab. A common user might not be at the risk of data theft but the issue becomes serious in case you are sending sensitive information or making confidential requests over a Wi-Fi network.
Make sure that the Wi-Fi network is secure before sending any information especially before making credit card transaction. Most of the shopping web sites deploy SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology for encrypting transaction via a secure tunnel between the web site server and the user. For sorting out if the website has SSL is to read the URL. If the prefix is https:// (not http://) then the S shows the presence of SSL. The web browsers do have a solid key icon or a padlock icon for SSL. Most of the popular web based emails prompts Lon in by using secure SSL connection. If you have to use a Wi-Fi network for sending or receiving important email then log in to your email account with SSL.
The data transmission on a network could be insured if you use VPN (Virtual Private Network) – an advanced feature in networking that burrow between the client and the network server. Corporate offices do secure data transmissions via VPNs; ask your administrator to confirm whether your work place deploys such facility or not.
Wi-Fi has indeed simplified our lives but its broadness has caused potential threats to the users. It would not be wise to abandon such a beneficial technology for some security risks; it is better to take precautions beforehand so the facility could not be abused by anyone.