Online Safety: Do you have a secure wireless router?

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Do you know how secure your home wireless router is? Leaving your wireless network open and unsecure can make it accessible to anyone close to your router’s signal. The problem is that aside from you, your family and friends; there might also be others connected to your wireless network without you knowing it. Much like using unsecure public wireless connections in airports, coffee shops or hotels, an unsecure wireless network at home can leave you vulnerable to online identity theft. Also, hackers can easily gain access to the sensitive information on your computer as well as on other devices connected to your network. Whatever information you send over the Internet via your Wi-Fi can be intercepted without proper security settings.

Another thing, people can use your unsecure wireless routers to download illegal documents on the Internet or perform illegal online activities and since they’re using your IP Address, all their activities are listed as yours. Since you don’t know about who’s connected to your network, the information will be traced back to you.

As part of maintaining Internet safety and keeping sensitive information private, it’s important to check your wireless network’s settings and make it secure.

Keep your wireless router safe

One important internet safety tip is to keep your home Wi-Fi safe through the step by step process. Each of the wayslisted here increases your level of safety and this helps ensure that you’re getting the highest level of security. Here are some ways to secure your wireless router:

Set-up a wireless password

All routers come with default login and password

combination. It’s important to change these default settings, especially setting-up a new password. By doing this, you’re limiting the number of users only to the ones who know the passwords, and this is the very first step to securing your wireless network.

Enable your wireless’ encryption

It’s really necessary to use encryption on your wireless router. Aside from the fact that it keeps intruders at bay, it also blocks snoops from “taking a peek” at your network traffic.  Keep in mind that encryption scrambles all the information you send to a website, so that it can’t easily be cracked, decoded or intercepted by a third party intruder.

There are two types of encryption for wireless routers: WEP and WPA2. WEP is the most common encryption type used on almost all wireless routers. WEP can help keep off neighbors and passersby, but since there are lots of free tools available online that can easily crack WEP code, hackers can still hijack your network to gain access to your sensitive information. WPA2, on the other hand, is used on new wireless routers and is more secure than the WEP. This means that older wireless router versions may not use WPA2 unless you upgrade your router or buy a new one.

Securing Wi-Fi through MAC address filtering

The Media Access Control address, commonly known as MAC address, is a unique ID assigned to laptops and other devices. In short, anything that can be connected to your network or on the Internet has a MAC address. After you change the password, enabled encryption and restart your wireless router, you can connect your laptop again to your network to see its MAC address.

You can then filter the MAC addresses of whatever devices you have to your router to increase your level of security and limit the number of devices that can connect to your router only the MAC addresses that you’ve allowed. One drawback of this, though, is that if you have frequent guests coming around and using your wireless network, you might as well add their MAC addresses or temporarily disable your MAC filtering.