How to: Protect your wireless connection

Protect your wireless connectionWireless connections are generally regarded as being less secure and more easily hacked than wired ones. However, I love sitting on the couch with my laptop and being able to browse the web without any wires around me. So why should I give up on a wifi connection then? The trick to securing your wireless connection is following a series of basic tips to keep it as safe as possible, and using specific software tools to secure it if necessary. If you bear that in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy a perfectly secure, fully protected wireless connection.

The first and most obvious tip is to avoid using the network’s default name, also known as SSID. This name is usually the same as your router brand, and there’s nothing so attractive for hackers as a network named LinkSys, 3Com or D-Link.

Also, disable the SSID broadcasting option in your router’s configuration menu. This option makes the name of your network visible for anyone doing a wifi network scan, whereas if you disable it your network won’t show up, or it will appear as “unnamed network”. In any case, you’ll need to enter the network’s identifier in order to access it.

Another important tip in the protection of your wireless connection is setting up a password. Turn on WEP encryption on your router’s configuration menu and set up a proper pass phrase that can’t be easily broken. You may want to follow our advice on how to create secure passwords.

If possible, use the MAC address filter on your router. MAC addresses are unique ID numbers that identify every single piece of networking hardware. Most routers allow you to specify a list of allowed MAC addresses, leaving all the others outside. This means that only specified computers (those whose MAC addresses you have entered) will be able to access the network.

Finally, in case you want to add an extra layer of security to your wireless network, you can use software tools that have been specifically developed to protect wifi connections and prevent unauthorized users from accessing them. A couple of these tools are iPig Wifi Security Software and myWIFIzone . If you still need more security, there’s one option left: paint your home with this special wifi-shielding paint recently developed by Japanese researchers. But remember: at the end of the day, if someone really wants to hack your wifi connection, chances are they will.

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